Being at university is an exciting time but it can also be a bit daunting when it comes to the practical side of things, especially if this is your first experience of living away from home. Even if you are a more mature student, or returning to your studies and combining it with working, it can still be tough financially.
With the cost of living rising rapidly each year, it is important to manage your finances effectively. This will reduce your stress levels and allow you to focus fully on your studies, and enjoy your time as a student.
Below you will find lots of useful tips, information, and links to help you make the most of your money. Please remember that we are not responsible for the content of external websites.
If you are receiving a student loan, this will be paid into your bank account in 3 instalments. With most people using their card or a payment app to just 'tap and go' it is easy to lose track of how much you are spending, and it's important to remember that money needs to last you for the whole term. If you are funding your studies by working it will be the same scenario, with your wages needing to last you the whole week or month, depending on how frequently you are paid.
Setting yourself a budget is something you should think about before term even begins. Note how much income you will have, and when, then create a list of your expected outgoings. Remember to be realistic and honest, and don't forget to include things like drinking and eating out, hobbies, and subscriptions. You may also want to include one-off costs like holidays, birthdays/Christmas, or course supplies, and save for them on a monthly basis. Also make sure to keep some money to one side for unexpected costs like car repairs or emergency travel.
The MoneySavingExpert website provides more in-depth guidance on how to set up a student budget planner.
Save the Student have a whole host of tips and lots of useful guidance on budgeting and banking.
The BBC website has a page dedicated to budget recipes and advice, including ideas perfect for students.
Starting to think about Christmas? Which? have advice on how to save money on food, gifts, and travel this year.
Unfortunately, there may be times when you find yourself struggling financially through no fault of your own and there is additional support available to help you in those circumstances.
If you have no or inadequate IT equipment or internet connectivity, to help you study, you may be eligibile to apply to the Digital Support fund. This can provide equipment on a loan basis, which must be returned at the end of the academic year.
If you are struggling to afford food and other essentials, we've pulled together details of local Foodbanks for each of our academic partner campuses and learning centres. There is also an app, Too Good To Go, which encourages people to rescue delicious, unsold food from local businesses to save it going to waste. You can buy and collect this food for a great, significantly reduced price.
Throughout the academic year there are many internal and external scholarships, bursaries, and awards which you may be eligible for. Check our webpage for more details; you can filter your search by level of study, subject area, and campus, or you can click on an A-Z list.
If you are finding it difficult to meet the day-to-day cost of living, you may be eligible for our Discretionary Fund. You must have applied for your full entitlement of funding from SAAS and - due to the residency conditions they impose - this fund is NOT available to International students.
If you're concerned about managing your finances over the summer period, Student Information Scotland have a specific section on Summer Support which includes information on benefits entitlement and housing costs if you are care experienced.
Useful Links and Resources
Useful Links and Resources
Cost of Living Crisis - Scottish Government website providing guidance on how to manage your finances. Includes details of benefits eligibility, for those living in Scotland
British Gas Energy Trust - provides grants to people living in England, Scotland, or Wales who are struggling with gas or electricity debt. You don't have to be a British Gas customer to apply
Save the Student - the number one student money website in the UK. Contains factual advice as well as details of the latest deals, and provides free impartial advice to help students make their money go further
Help for Households - UK Government website providing guidance on the support available to help with the cost of living, and energy saving tips
Money Lover - an app which allows you to track your finances and manage your overall spending. Notifies you of recurring transactions before they leave your bank account
UCAS Budget Calculator - if you don't have a smartphone, or prefer not to use an app, UCAS have an online budget calculator which provides average costs for the university where you are enrolled
Citizens Advice Scotland - provides free, independent, confidential advice on a wide range of financial matters. They also have a Money Map section which provides sources of online support to ease the costs of daily living
Worrying About Money? - a Highland Council app for Apple and android devices, intended to help navigate to sources of help to alleviate the cost of living crisis
Supermarket Shopping Tips - provides useful guidance to help you slash your weekly food bill
Student Discounts and Deals - MoneySavingExpert provide a regularly updated list of student discounts, deals, and promotions
Student Bank Accounts - getting the right bank account is important, and many banks offer incentives and deals. Here you will find details of the top accounts
Compare Mobile Phone Deals - the MoneySavingExpert tool compares 50+ retailers and finds the best deal for you
Energy Action Scotland - national charity aiming to develop and promote effective solutions to cold, damp, expensive to heat homes
Student Recipes - details of easy, healthy recipes which won't break the bank!
Love Food Hate Waste - food tips and food saving recipes, to help reduce waste and your shopping bill
High Life Highland - being active is an important part of staying healthy. UHI have a partnership for discounted membership of this local scheme, for our students
Student Checklist - 50+ money saving tips on how to stretch your student loan
MyPeriod - download the app which allows you to find free period products near you, in Scotland
Money Support Scotland - provides help and support to anyone who is worried about money
Cost of Living Crisis and Mental Health - tips on how to maintain your wellbeing if you're struggling financially
Money Helper - takes you through a beginner's guide to managing your money
If you require help or have any questions regarding what specific support is available locally, you can speak to the local Funding Team at the college where you are enrolled by clicking on the relevant link, or visiting the dedicated webpage;
|Local team contact details||Dedicated webpages|
|Cost of Living Support|
UHI Central (incl. Centre for History and Optometry)
Below are recent articles which provide information and guidance on all aspects of money management and finance.
- Cost of Living Crisis - 20 Ways to Cope
- Student Finance Guide 2023/24
- Pocket and Planet Friendly Energy-Saving Tips
- Finance Tips for Students - Budget Well and Improve Your Credit Score
- Tuition Fees and Student Finance in Scotland Explained
- 10 Ways to Save On Energy Bills
- How to Spend Less at The Supermarket
- 21 Student Life Hacks
- Portable Electric Heaters - Find the Best Option
- Save Money on Your Food Shop
- Money Saving Tips for Students
- 11 Tips to Save on Your Streaming Subscriptions
- How to Make Money
- Save Energy at Home (Energy Saving Trust)
- Save Money on Broadband and TV Bills
- Budget Meal Plans for 4 - Budget Meal Plans for 1
- Money Saving Tips
- How to Deal with Debt
- How to Successfully Live Within Your Means
- Cut Your Laundry Costs
- How to Save Energy on a Budget
- Active, Sustainable Travel