student budget 2024

Student budget: how much can a student live on?

Student life is not all plain sailing, and not all parents are able to support their children financially during their studies. Managing a student budget is a major challenge for many young people. Housing, food, tuition fees, day-to-day costs: pocket money is not enough to cover these vital expenses. This guide aims to help you manage your resources more effectively and avoid financial difficulties.


How to manage its student budget?


Managing a monthly budget as a student is not always easy. With a few good tips, you can keep your finances under control so that you don't end up short or overdrawn at the end of the month. Here are a few tips for optimising your student budget: 


  • Draw up a realistic budget: consider your monthly income, including grants and the salary from a potential part-time job, to draw up a realistic budget.
  • Keep track of your spending: write down every expense or use your bank's mobile app to track and identify the main items of expenditure.
  • Prioritise essential expenses: focus on priority needs such as housing, school fees and energy bills.
  • Allocate a budget for leisure and social activities: if you can, set a budget for leisure, personal enjoyment and social activities in advance and stick to it.
  • Save as much as you can: there are lots of ways to cut costs, such as buying second-hand items or clothes, taking advantage of student discounts or using cashback schemes offered by banks. 

What expenses should I take into account when calculating my student budget?


Student accommodation


Accommodation is the biggest item on a student budget, accounting for 53% of total student costs. The cost per city varies by as much as double: €300 to €500 for a studio flat in medium-sized cities such as Lille, Nantes or Marseille, compared with €700 for Paris. To this cost must be added agency fees, utilities, home insurance and furniture if the accommodation is unfurnished. Accommodation in university halls of residence and CROUS centres is more affordable (€150 to €400 per month). However, they are reserved for students with grants. 


Studapart can help you find accommodation at the best price in the city where you are studying.


Good to know: CAF housing subsidies (APL) provide between €100 and €150 a month. However, APLs cannot be combined with family benefits


School fees


Another major item of expenditure in a student budget is tuition fees. The amount depends on the school. At public schools such as business or engineering grandes écoles, a year's tuition can cost several thousand euros, compared with 170 euros for a bachelor's degree. At university, you also have to add the CVEC (contribution to student and campus life), which will cost 100 euros in 2023. Purchasing teaching materials also costs money, on average 256.15 euros.




Most public transport companies offer reduced fares for students and young people under 26, with discounts ranging from 24% to 80% depending on the city. These low fares cover daily journeys to the place of study, as well as regular trips to the family home. Students spend around €100 a month on transport in Paris, compared with an average of €20 in other cities.


Good to know: At regional, departmental and municipal level, local authorities are working to make it easier for students to get around, with special cards for under-26s and even free transport. It's a great way to ease your monthly student budget


Daily life


Food, telephone and Internet contracts, miscellaneous expenses, clothes and hygiene products: a student budget has to take into account these various daily expenses, which amount to around 550 euros a month. However, this monthly budget does not cover leisure activities such as cinema, books and events. 


You should be aware that there are food banks such as Restos du Coeur and Banques Alimentaires that offer help to students. You should also contact your educational establishment, as some have specific funds to support students in need. The CROUS can also provide one-off assistance in the form of an allowance.


What is a student's monthly budget?


The table below summarises the main expenses that need to be taken into account to establish a realistic student budget in line with the cost of living in 2023: 


Type of expense

Average cost

Public transport and return to the family home

Approximately €100 per month

Rent and service charges + home insurance + estate agency fees

Between €800 and €1,000

University registration fees + CVEC + teaching materials

Approximately €500

Health insurance

Approximately €25 per month

Daily expanses

Approximately 500 €


Student budget: what you need to remember


Drawing up and sticking to a student budget is not always easy. Fortunately, there are a number of student associations in France and social organisations to help students with limited resources. And if you manage your budget well, you might even manage to put some money aside!


How much a student needs?

The average student spends between €600 and over €1,000 a month on food, which works out at between €8,000 and €12,000 a year.


What is the average food budget per person per month?

The average food budget per month is €272 for a single person. This is still a high figure for a student budget or for a young person starting out in working life.


What are the two main items of expenditure for a student?

The student budget of a young French or foreign student studying in France is mainly spent on accommodation and food.

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