Managing your money as a student

Updated on 19 October 2023

Find out about banking, borrowing and budgeting and make sure you're managing your finances effectively.

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When you start university, we would encourage you to set out a budget to work out rough costs for your spending on things such as:

  • rent
  • food
  • utilities (gas, electricity, internet, and phone)
  • travel
  • socialising
  • clothing
  • toiletries
  • household goods
  • costs related to your course (lab coat, books, laptop, digital software)

You will also need to work out how much you have coming in each month from:

  • funding
  • loans
  • any employment

If you receive your student loan monthly and you have quarterly bills, you should cost this out per month and keep the money aside.

If you receive your loan in three instalments, it may be easier for you to deduct expenditure like rent, utility bills and books from your loan when you get it and survive on the rest.

Find out what living costs are likely to be in Dundee

Read the latest issue of the Money Matters magazine


Make sure you know your budget and make a list before you go shopping. Doing a single large shop with your flatmates can save money compared to lots of small trips.

Create a meal plan to help plan your shopping list. You can download a template on this page.

Don't go shopping when you are hungry, you'll be more tempted to buy treats that are not on your list.

Be wavy of supermarket tricks to make you spend more money, such as 3 for 2 deals. If you don't need the extra items don't buy them.

Try supermarket own brands instead of branded goods, they can sometimes be better and cost much less.

Check the reduced sections for discounted items. Sometimes they won't all be going out of date that day.

Download the Too Good To Go app to find discounted food from local restaurants and shops and help reduce food waste.


A lot of food wasted in the UK is actually perfectly usable. If you know how to tell if food is still fresh, and how to use left over items, you can save a lot of money from your food bill.


You may have heard of "fast fashion". This is not just fast in terms of changing styles, but as it is made more quickly and cheaply than other clothes will often not last as long and cost you more over time. This is also bad for the environment.

Why not challenge yourself to not buy any new clothes for a week, or a month, or even three months?

When you do need to get new clothes, there are many ways to avoid wasting money but still look good.

Consider spending a little more on your clothes you wear often. From t-shirts to socks, a higher quality item will often last for many years, compared to a cheap item that may only be worn a few times.

Renting clothes has always been an option for weddings and big events, but companies are now offering this for more normal items.

Second hand clothes are available from many locations. There are many charity shops along Dundee's Perth Road, and along Brook Street in Broughty Ferry where you can find bargains. Keep an eye on events listings to see if there are "by the kilo" events happening nearby.

Apps such as Depop and Vinted not only let you buy clothes, but offer a way to make money from your unwanted items rather than simply recycling them.

Repair, replace, and warranties

Many items that seem broken may actually be easy to repair. Before you throw something out its worth checking if it can be mended, or is still in warrantee from the retailer or manufacturer.

Repairs and maintenance

Many household appliances will work better, and save money, if you look after them properly. If you know how to drain your washing machine's filter, and keep your vacuum cleaner in good working order you may not need to replace them and they will work better saving you time.

If you think there is actually a fault with your item, there are many repair shops in Dundee for phones, and other electronic devices who may be able to replace that broken screen rather than you replacing the whole phone.

If you are confident opening things up yourself, you can check out iFixit for instructions on repairing many types of device, just make sure you read the instructions first as some items are easier than others. Some may also need special tools but this may still be cheaper than a new device.

Warranties and consumer rights

Check if your item has a warranty or guarantee as you may be able to get it repaired or replaced for free using this.

Even without a warranty, the Consumer Rights Act 2015 (which replaced the Sale Of Goods Act 1979) means items sold in the UK must be fit for purpose, as described, and of satisfactory quality. This means for some items you may be able to argue for a repair or replacement up to five years (in Scotland) after purchase (so make sure you keep receipts safe).

Consumer Rights Act 2015 - Which? magazine

Where to find information about managing your finances

The Scottish government has created a student information portal for you to find out all about their funding. It also provides advice and guidance, including budgeting. 

Another useful source of information is Blackbullion which offers more general student advice and guidance on matters such as budgeting, borrowing, credit cards, and banking.

Advice with legal agreements

Many companies can offer a great deal on telephone, internet, and television packages. You will be signing a legal agreement if you accept these offers, so please ensure you take advice from an expert – the Citizens Advice Bureau is a good place to go as it is free and confidential. 

You can contact the Citizens Advice Bureau in Dundee by phone or email.



Student Funding

+44 (0)1382 384801

Guide category Student support