Get advice for managing your finances and find out who to ask if you’re in hardship.

Recognising money problems

Becoming a student can be a challenge, especially if you’re leaving home and becoming independent for the first time.

Part of this involves being responsible for managing your money. This kind of responsibility changes as you go through your course and graduate to find employment.

For many people (not just students), money or debt issues can increase stress and anxiety.

Money worries develop when you are:

  • not able to make an informed financial decision
  • unable to keep track of spending
  • not paying important bills, prioritising badly and not opening important letters.

Money worries can stop you concentrating on your course – the main reason for being at university – meaning you miss lectures, seminars, work placements or shifts in a part-time job.

Some people find it difficult to admit they are struggling and worry about being stigmatised. Or they blame something else and miss the warning signs of a problem.

There is a clear link between financial wellbeing and your emotional wellbeing.

If you’re struggling with money, you might feel:

  • depressed
  • out of control and stuck in a situation
  • anxious about debt
  • isolated
  • afraid to ask for help.

Not managing your money could have an impact on you while at university and beyond. For example, if you don’t pay your bills you could end up in debt, which can affect your future spending.

Managing your money

Your money needs to cover your essential living costs (a home, heat, water and food) but money can also provide you with choices for the future.

Understanding your basic financial commitments and your goals can help you keep your finances on track.

Managing money comes down to your ability (skills and knowledge), your mind set (attitudes and motivations) and access to products and information.

These all affect how you manage your money day to day, how you plan for the future and how you deal with financial difficulties.

If you are struggling with your money, for whatever reason, there are practical steps you can take to take control of your situation and help yourself.

Understanding where you are can help you work out where you need to be:

  • work out what money you have coming in and when this is going to be paid to you – is there a way to increase your income?
  • work out where your money is going – are there costs you could reduce?
  • work out if you owe any money – to who and what for and when does it need to be repaid?
  • create a workable budget to move forward.

You can do this yourself or with one of our advisers.

Free budget calculator

Use the free Budget Planner from Money Helper to help manage your money, including how much is coming in and where it’s being spent.

Tips for saving money

  • Cook more food for dinner the night before and bring it in to Uni as a packed lunch the next day.
  • Buy supermarket value brands – quite often you are only paying extra for the nicer packaging. And never go shopping when you're hungry.
  • Fill a water bottle from a cooler or fountain. Buying a bottle of water every day during term-time costs £127.
  • Buy a second-hand bike and then travel for free.
  • Book a budgeting one-to-one with the Student Centre to sort out finances before they become a mess.

£2 hot meals on campus for students

The University has extended the subsidised £2 hot meals scheme. You can find the £2 meals at Eat Central in Bramber House. Each weekday between 12 noon and 2pm, a vegetarian or vegan option is offered at this price, giving you the opportunity to grab a healthy and tasty hot meal while on campus. To help you save money and minimise food waste, you can also download the Too Good to Go app.

You can also read our student budgeting tips for advice on how to save money on everything from travel to software.

You might want to look at your living costs and see if there are any areas where you are over-spending.

Also consider looking for a part-time job if you need more money.

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Getting help

If you’re struggling with money, you can talk to us. You can get advice and guidance about budgeting and managing your money.

If you need advice, you can contact us through My Sussex.

Support from the Students’ Union

You can get support from the Students’ Union on a range of issues. It is independant from the University.

Help with the cost of living

The Students’ Union is playing an important role in supporting students with cost of living initiatives.

These initiatives include:

  • providing free sexual health and period products on Wednesdays
  • supporting student co-ops such as the food waste cafe, Roots and the Radical library
  • offering a free, impartial student advice service.

It also keeps costs low in Students' Union venues and outlets, and provides free and subsidised tickets, events, and sports/societies memberships to make these more affordable and accessible.

Find out more on the Students' Union website.

You can also access a wide range of offers and discounts through the National Union of Students (NUS) approved TOTUM card, which also acts as proof of your student status for concessionary rates at many attractions and experiences.

Gambling help

If you’re concerned that gambling might be having a negative impact on your life, check:

  • BeGambleAware – provides information to help people make informed decisions about gambling, understand responsible gambling and recognise problem gambling
  • GamCare – offers advice and practical help for people affected by gambling-related harm
  • Breakeven – specially-trained gambling counsellors who deliver a service in the Sussex county area.