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Finding the Right Balance: How Much Should a University Student Spend per Week?


Being a university student is an exciting and transformative phase of life, marked by newfound independence and a wide range of experiences. However, with this freedom comes the responsibility of managing finances effectively. One of the most common questions students face is, “How much should I spend per week?” While there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer, this blog post aims to provide guidance on striking the right balance between spending and saving during your university years.

  1. Create a Budget: The cornerstone of effective financial management is creating a budget. Start by identifying your sources of income, such as part-time jobs, scholarships, or parental support. Next, list your essential expenses, including rent, utilities, groceries, transportation, and academic materials. Allocate a portion of your income to cover these necessities, ensuring you prioritize them above all else.
  2. Track Your Spending: Maintaining a record of your expenditures is crucial. Use a notebook, spreadsheet, or budgeting app to track every purchase. This practice helps you identify where your money is going and spot any unnecessary or impulsive spending patterns. Regularly reviewing your spending habits can empower you to make informed adjustments and avoid overspending.
  3. Flexible Spending: After accounting for essential expenses, allocate a portion of your budget for discretionary spending. This category encompasses entertainment, dining out, hobbies, and social activities. While it’s important to enjoy your university experience, exercise caution to avoid overspending on non-essentials.
  4. Meal Planning and Cooking at Home: Eating out frequently can quickly drain your finances. Consider meal planning and cooking at home as cost-effective alternatives. Not only does this save money, but it also promotes healthier eating habits. Get creative with recipes and cooking with friends to make the experience enjoyable.
  5. Student Discounts and Deals: Make the most of your student status by taking advantage of discounts and deals available to you. Many businesses offer reduced prices for students on items such as transportation, clothing, software, and entertainment. Always carry your student ID and research available discounts in your area.
  6. Avoid Credit Card Debt: Credit cards can be a convenient financial tool but can also lead to debt if misused. If you decide to use a credit card, make sure to pay off the balance in full each month to avoid accruing high-interest charges. Responsible credit card use can help you build a positive credit history, which will be beneficial in the long run.
  7. Save for Emergencies and Future Goals: Even as a student, it’s important to start building a savings cushion. Set aside a portion of your income for emergencies or unexpected expenses. Additionally, consider creating a separate savings fund for future goals, such as traveling, further education, or post-graduation plans.
  8. Seek Financial Advice: If you find yourself struggling with managing your finances, don’t hesitate to seek guidance from financial advisors, mentors, or university resources. They can provide personalized advice and help you navigate complex financial decisions.

What is the biggest expense for a university?

The average London uni student spends around £475 per week on living costs, including rent, food, travel, and other expenses. This is significantly higher than the national average of £340 per week.

Here is a breakdown of the average weekly spending for London uni students:

  • Rent: £200-£300
  • Food: £50-£70
  • Travel: £25-£50
  • Other expenses: £50-£100

Of course, these are just averages and your actual spending may vary depending on your lifestyle and spending habits. If you’re on a tight budget, there are a few things you can do to reduce your weekly spending:

  • Cook at home instead of eating out. This is one of the easiest ways to save money.
  • Take advantage of free activities in London. There are many things to do in London for free, such as visiting museums, parks, and libraries.
  • Get a part-time job. This will help you earn extra money to cover your expenses.

It’s also important to budget your money carefully and track your spending. This will help you stay on track and avoid overspending.

Here are some additional tips for budgeting as a London uni student:

  • Create a budget and stick to it. This is essential for staying on top of your finances.
  • Track your spending. This will help you see where your money is going and make adjustments to your budget as needed.
  • Set financial goals. This will give you something to work towards and help you stay motivated.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you’re struggling to manage your finances, there are many resources available to help you, such as your university’s financial aid office or a financial advisor.

What is the biggest expense for a university?

The biggest expense for a university is typically instructional costs, which include faculty salaries and benefits, as well as the cost of providing instructional materials and services. This category typically accounts for around 30% of a university’s total expenses.

Other major expenses for universities include:

  • Research costs: These costs include the salaries and benefits of research faculty, as well as the cost of conducting research, such as laboratory equipment and supplies. This category typically accounts for around 20% of a university’s total expenses.
  • Student services: These costs include the cost of providing student services, such as financial aid, counseling, and health services. This category typically accounts for around 15% of a university’s total expenses.
  • Administration: These costs include the cost of running the university’s administration, such as the president’s office, the provost’s office, and the financial aid office. This category typically accounts for around 10% of a university’s total expenses.
  • Facilities: These costs include the cost of maintaining and operating the university’s facilities, such as buildings, libraries, and athletic fields. This category typically accounts for around 10% of a university’s total expenses.

Of course, the specific expenses of a university will vary depending on the size and type of institution. For example, a research university with a large graduate student population will have higher research costs than a smaller liberal arts college.

It’s also important to note that the cost of attending university has been rising steadily in recent years. This is due to a number of factors, including increasing faculty salaries, rising healthcare costs, and the need to invest in new technologies. As a result, many students are graduating with significant debt.


While there’s no definitive answer to the question of how much a university student should spend per week, the key lies in striking a balance between responsible financial management and enjoying your university experience. By creating a budget, tracking your spending, and making informed choices, you can set a solid foundation for a financially secure future. Remember, every financial decision you make today contributes to your financial well-being tomorrow.


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