Bike rack on Frenchay Campus

Money-saving tips for students

We realise UWE Bristol students want to enjoy their student experience without breaking the bank balance. That's why we've put together a list of helpful tips to make your money go further.

Starting at UWE Bristol

  • It is important to make sure that you claim everything you are entitled to. If you are unsure about your funding contact a Money Adviser
  • If you are paid your funding termly you should pay for your student accommodation termly, if possible.
  • Sort out your budget before you receive your first instalment of funding. The first term is the most expensive, and it is easy to spend too much in the excitement of the first few weeks.
  • Claim for help with health costs as you start university and get an exemption certificate for a year.


  • Make a shopping list and stick to it – don't forget to check online for the latest supermarket offers.
  • Never shop when you’re hungry. Research suggests you'll buy more than you need.
  • Shop on a Sunday afternoon, or after 19:00 when there may be bargains on perishables like bread and vegetables.
  • We all like special offers, but think before you buy – it may seem like a bargain, but will you use it?
  • Drop one brand level in the supermarket and see if you can tell the difference.
  • Look at price per 100g to compare different prices and save yourself some pennies.
  • Buy unpacked fruit and vegetables. They're better for your bank balance and the environment.
  • Buy in bulk with others to save costs – essentials like pasta often work out cheaper.
  • If you're a novice in the kitchen, why not invest in a cookbook? You'll often find good books in charity shops.
  • Learning to cook will make you popular with your housemates and save you a fortune over the year – you could even hold your very own ’Come Dine with Me'.
  • Make a sandwich instead of buying a ready-made one and you could save a pound or more a day – that's £260 a year.
  • Use old bread bags and other food packaging for sandwiches.
  • Save take-away containers to use for leftovers and freezing extra portions.
  • Find out which vegetables are in season and grow your own – you only need a windowsill or a few garden pots.
  • Buying a take-out coffee everyday for a week could cost as much as £40 a month. In one year you could save £480 – now that's what we call making your money go further.
  • If you are thinking of going out for a meal check the offers and discounts on Wriggle or Vouchercloud.


  • Join your local library for CD and DVD rental.
  • Set a reminder on your phone for the day library books are due back and return or renew them to avoid costly fines.
  • Walking and cycling saves money and keeps you fit. Why not invest in a second-hand bike and save money on buses, taxis and petrol?
  • Challenge yourself to spend-free days.
  • Check newspapers and magazines for vouchers and discounts.
  • Keep a written record of your spending.
  • Once you arrive at university, join your local Freecycle or Freegle group. This is a mailing list where local people offer up items they no longer want, for free as long as you agree to collect them.
  • Buy used textbooks and make use of the library.


  • Make sure your washing machine is full every load so you save on energy bills.
  • Invest in energy-saving light bulbs.
  • It’s often more cost effective to keep the heating on constant, but at a lower temperature.
  • Take dated photos to accompany an inventory when you move in to a new property.
  • When you are looking for a broadband, energy or mobile phone provider use one of the price comparison websites such as MoneySaving Expert or Uswitch.


  • Invest in an NUS card and don't be afraid to ask for discounts. On average, students save £500 with the help of an NUS card.
  • Use reward cards such as a Boots Advantage card or a Nectar card for those 'invisible' savings.
  • Try own-brand products, such as Boots' paracetamol, rather than costly brand names.

Travel tips

  • Look for local deals on buses and trains – you might be able to purchase a termly pass. You can save money by buying tickets online using the mTickets phone app from First Bus. If you travel a lot by train or coach it might be worth buying a 16–25 Railcard (it's also open to mature students) or a Young Person's Coach Card to save on your travel costs.
  • When buying train tickets, buy as far in advance as possible. Always check the cost of two single tickets compared to a return.
  • You can borrow a bicycle for the academic year. The cost of rental is just £50 and includes a bike, full maintenance for the year, lights and a secure lock.

Banking and finances

  • Are you claiming all the benefits you are eligible for? Contact our Money Advisers to check if you can claim.
  • Choose your bank account wisely. Beware of the gimmicks and freebies banks will use to entice students to take out an account with them. Find out more about choosing a bank account.
  • Check your bank statements regularly through online banking. This will help to track your spending and prevent you going over your limit.
  • Try and stick to an agreed amount of cash to take out at the start of the week, and limit how often you use your card.
  • If you have an outstanding balance on a credit card, regularly check the financial market to keep up to date with the best deals on balance transfers.
  • If you withdraw £10 every weekday in term time, you will be withdrawing over £1,500 a year. Visualise how that money could be better used to celebrate your achievements instead!

Other helpful information

The Money matters guide will help you understand your financial contract with UWE Bristol and our processes.

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