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The Best Ways For Students To Stay Financially Afloat At University


Staying financially afloat whilst at university isn’t easy; you’ll need to budget effectively, spend carefully and manage your time wisely to be successful at both.

From earning money in between lessons to increasing your financial literacy, there’s multiple angles to master when it comes to managing your money.

Here, we take a look at the best ways to afford living expenses whilst at college or university.

If you are looking for a new role this term to help you stay financially afloat, Prograd's algorithm matches you with hundreds of opportunities near you. Simply fill in our 10-second form and get started today!

1. Work part-time

Whilst student loans can help cover the costs of your tuition and living expenses, you’ll probably need to pick up a part-time job to help pay for everything you need to live comfortably. Hospitality and retail roles such as bartending, waitressing and shop assistance are perfect for students, as the shift patterns and hours can fit in well around your lectures.

If you’d rather work from home, look for remote freelancer roles that offer flexible hours. Or, for those who are both creative and business minded, you could look to start your own business selling crafts or other novelty items.

2. Be smart with credit

When you’re first able to receive offers for credit cards, the temptation to overspend can be very real. Learning how to safely use credit and build a good credit score will pay off in the future, as it’ll make it much easier for you to get a mortgage and other important financial agreements.

Short term, try not to spend more than you can afford to pay back. Interest rates on credit cards can be very expensive, and if you only pay back the minimum each month, you may only be paying off the interest rather than the debt.

If you get into trouble with debt and end up needing to default your accounts or take out other debt management schemes, it can impact your financial borrowing abilities for many years to come.

3. Learn to budget

Last but not least, learn to accurately budget for all of your monthly expenses. Keep track of your income and be frugal with your spending, by avoiding impulse purchases. Meal planning is a great way to help cut the costs of your meals – by planning ahead you can save time and money, as well as reducing food waste.

Rather than spending on the latest trends, look for sustainable options such as thrift shopping, upcycling and recycling items to help your money stretch further.

Be sure to set some funds aside for emergencies, as well as a small pot for when you want to have a takeaway or go out for a meal or fun activity.

4. Reflect regularly

Try not to become too stressed or obsessive about managing your finances throughout college, as it’s normal to have ups and downs.

Reflect regularly on your spending habits to see where you can make positive changes, and plan ahead for festive periods or social events where your leisurely activities are likely to be a little more expensive.

For more college budgeting tips check out this guide on"

5. Harness the Power of Student Discounts

Your student ID is like a magic wand for discounts – use it everywhere you can. From tech gadgets to movie tickets and even software subscriptions, there are deals galore just waiting to be snapped up.

Many places don't advertise their student discounts, so don't be shy about asking.

6. Invest in Your Financial Education

Understanding money management now sets you up for a brighter financial future. There are tons of free resources online that can teach you everything from investing basics to how to save on utilities. Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to your finances.

7. Go Green and Save Green

Adopting a more sustainable lifestyle isn't just good for the planet – it can be great for your wallet too. Cycling or walking instead of driving saves on transport costs, and switching off appliances can reduce your energy bills.

Plus, buying second-hand or opting for eco-friendly products often costs less in the long run.

8. Socialising on a Shoestring

Who says you need to spend a fortune to have fun? There are heaps of ways to socialise without breaking the bank. Host a potluck dinner, explore free local events, or start a movie night tradition with your mates. It's all about creating memories, not expenses.

9. Embrace the Side Hustle Spirit

In the digital age, the side hustle has become the student's best friend for padding out the bank account from the comfort of your dorm room.

The beauty of a side hustle is its flexibility – it can fit around your studies and potentially turn into a passion project that pays. Plus, it's a fantastic way to build your CV and gain valuable experience in your field of interest.

10. Get Savvy with Subscriptions and Sharing

In a world where everything from music to workout classes comes with a subscription fee, it's easy for monthly expenses to creep up unnoticed. Take a hard look at your subscriptions and ask yourself which ones you truly use and enjoy. Consider swapping individual subscriptions for family plans you can share with friends or housemates.

By sharing costs and seeking out alternatives, you can enjoy the same perks for a fraction of the price, keeping your entertainment budget lean but just as enjoyable.


Remember, university is a time for learning, growing, and yes, managing your money smartly. With these tips in your arsenal, you're well on your way to financial savvy without skimping on the fun.

So, go forth and conquer your uni days with confidence and a bit of financial finesse! And if you're on the hunt for that perfect part-time gig to pad your wallet, don't forget to check out Prograd's quick form to match you with oodles of opportunities. Here's to making your money work as hard as you do!

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