Money matters: budgeting tips to help you in 2024

Juggling your finances at medical school can be daunting, so we’ve asked the Royal Medical Benevolent Fund for money-saving tips and advice.

Textbook and tuition fees aside, money matters can be a burden. Arming yourself with advice on budgeting and where to get support can help ease concerns, so you can focus on studying, enjoying university life and exploring your career options.

Bursaries and grants offer valuable financial support, but small, everyday savings or changes to your budget can make a huge difference to how far your money will stretch. If you have a specific question, use the RMBF's free advisor service.

How to save and budget

The best way to gain control of your finances and spending is to budget.

Start by adding up all of your income, so any money from loans, grants, benefits or jobs. Then add up all your outgoings (don't cheat). You can then assess the difference and work out if you've not got enough money or how much is left over. You can use the RMBF's online budget planner to help.

If you realise you're spending more than you have, it's time to act. Here are a few useful ways to help stretch your money further.

  • If you have an NHS Bursary, you may be able to claim for travel and/or accommodation costs incurred as part of a clinical placement. Check with your medical school for eligibility and how to apply.
  • Check if your medical school offers a bulk subscription rate to online medical study resources.
  • Source second hand textbooks from the students in the year above you, check out local charity shops, or club together with your fellow course mates to share the costs.
  • Shops often have student discounts available, so try using your student card at the till. Sign up to student discount sites for further savings on big brands.
  • Spending a few pounds here and there adds up - try taking your own food and drinks to university and clinical placements.
  • Batch cook - set time aside on a Sunday to prepare lunches and/or dinners for the week ahead so you can avoid having to buy expensive canteen food.
  • Check when your mobile contract expires and consider switching to a cheaper SIM-only deal if you can.
  • When going out, make sure you budget your night. Try not to overspend by buying other people drinks outside your budget and make sure you have enough for a taxi home.

Where else can I go for money advice?

If you do find your debts are starting to pile up, don't panic - you have options, and there is support available. Contact your university welfare team as they should have advisors to help negotiate with the people you owe money to. Your university may also have hardship funds for students struggling to get by.

If you're a medical student in your final two years, and you're facing financial hardship due to a change in circumstances caused by illness, injury, disability or bereavement, you may be eligible for financial support from the RMBF.

Money Saving Expert, Money Helper and Citizens Advice are also useful resources, with many guides around making your money go further, discounts and offers, and comparisons between suppliers (such as the cheapest broadband offers).

Being a medical student can be demanding, but it's an enjoyable and exciting journey. Remember to take time out for yourself - it is possible to balance having a good time with maintaining control over your finances.

This page was correct at publication on 25/01/2024. Any guidance is intended as general guidance for members only. If you are a member and need specific advice relating to your own circumstances, please contact one of our advisers.

Claire Andersen

by Claire Andersen

Claire Andersen is head of fundraising and communications at the Royal Medical Benevolent Fund (RMBF), a UK charity for doctors, medical students and their families. It provides financial support, money advice and information when it is most needed due to injury, ill health, disability or bereavement.