Managing money as a university student

Are you good at handling money? Do you know when to spend and when to just…. you know…. not spend? Since becoming a university I’ve had to learn how to handle my money more. I have a part-time job since I was about 16, so I started to pay my own phone contract, buy my own bits and pieces and save since then. But it didn’t compare to the financial independence that I experienced in uni. Obviously everyone is in a different position, some have their lifestyle paid for by their parents, some work extra jobs and run businesses to earn a bit of extra money, and some are just naturally better off because they have stacks of savings from the years leading up to uni. However, most uni students are on some form of budget. Here I’m going to give you a few tips of how you can make your money stretch throughout uni – take it or leave it.

LIVE WITHIN YOUR MEANS – You know what this means, right? Maybe at home you were accustomed to a certain lifestyle that you just can’t afford anymore on a student budget. There is absolutely nothing wrong with having less expensive things. Maybe the things that made you feel fancy or boujee in the past have to be replaced until you are no longer on the same kind of budget. I know this can be hard for some people, but easier and more convenient for others and either is okay. Change is okay.

PRIORITIES – My priorities go like so: rent, essential shopping, direct debits, everything else. Yours may be the same, or different. What you don’t want to do is blow a ton of cash on a great night out, a new pair of Air Forces or a fancy meal and then have absolutely nothing left for milk and bread the next day. That’s not to say don’t do and have these nice things, but just make sure money for the essential things is put to the side. Maybe this doesn’t bother you, maybe you don’t mind living of 30p for a week but if it does, I suggest you make some form of priority list.

STUDENT DISCOUNTS – You’ve heard of Student Beans, UNIDAYS, TOTUM right? – Use them like your life depends on it. Thank me later.

LEARN TO SAY NO – You might have F.O.M.O or maybe you have J.O.M.O. One thing that I have found to be important in university is to be okay with saying no thank you. Believe it or not, you don’t have to go to everything people invite you to, especially if you really don’t want to go. Personally for me, I have no issue with staying cosy in my room watching a film or staying up chatting with flatmates instead of going out and spending money that I don’t have. I do love to go out and socialise, do new fun things and meet new people, don’t get me wrong, but I’m also okay with not doing that all the time. If you have the funds and the want to do it, go ahead, but if you really don’t fancy something one day, no real friends will think bad of you for hanging back. Just make sure you’re prepared for some of the negative reactions you may get for saying no.

SAVE – This one might be tough for those who are on a realllyyyy tight budget. But even if it’s £5 a week, even if it’s £2.50 a week, it all adds up eventually.

BUDGET! BUDGET! BUDGET! – Whether you get one of those fancy finance books, an app or a scrap piece of paper, lay out your budget as often as your student loan, money from parents or wages come in. I tend to budget out my rent, direct debits for the month, and other essential expenses as soon as my money comes in. An d then I can see what I’m working with.

PART-TIME JOB – You may not want to have a part-time job, especially if you have a packed schedule from a demanding degree such as medicine, vet-med or engineering. However, for those with less demanding, more independent learning degrees a part-time job is a great way to earn a bit of extra cash. Try not to take on too many hours though and remember your studies come first.

Hope this helps!

Love Always,

Shadz xo

Stop putting them on trial!

In the last few weeks or so I’ve seen so many posts on Instagram and Twitter that say something along the lines of:

“If you haven’t bothered to check up me during this pandemic, I don’t class you as a friend”.

Or something of a similar flavour. Have seen them too? Gratefully all of these posts have been met with backlash which explains that at this time, EVERYONE is struggling and it is quite selfish to cast friends aside only because they haven’t put you above whatever they have going on. Times are tough, and it’s probably a nicer gesture for you to go out of your way to see if someone is okay rather than expecting it from them.

These posts has led me into thinking deeper about what true and honest friendship is. I’ve realised a lot of this generation are constantly putting people on trial. Their friends, their significant others and even their families. Always checking people’s behaviour to make sure that it always works out to be in their favour. I’m not saying to let people treat you like rubbish and walk all over you, of course not. But I feel like we should really examine ourselves, our patience and our tolerance with the people we love and who love us before criticising them for not treating you in a way that benefits you or for not acting the way you want them to act. Should we show more love and attention to the people we care about? Absolutely! Should we be putting our friends on trial and threaten to end the friendship if they don’t check up on us as much? No way! Pride and self-absorption is a killer to relationships, so aim to give more than you wish to receive.

Check up on a loved one that you haven’t heard from for a while today, believe me, you’ll feel better for it.

Stay safe!

Love Always,

Shadz xo

What am I planning to do next?

Hey guys, bit of a quick one today. I’ve been thinking a lot about how I can expand my platform to reach and reflect more people. Not only this but I do a lot more than writing and it’s quite difficult to cover everything I do simply through my writing.

Expect to see:

IGTV videos on my Instagram (I’ll publish them on here too)

Recipes (I love to cook)

And….. Music covers of my favourite songs – this one might take a bit longer. I’m currently re-learning the guitar and would love to show you all what I’ve been up too.

Hope you’re all doing okay.

Love Always,

Shadz xo

A New Found Fitness?!?!

During university, I put on a load of weight. Beforehand I wasn’t necessarily a gym fanatic but I certainly did a lot more than I did once I begun my new chapter at uni. It got to the point that I hate looking at the group pictures I took on my 19th birthday. My diet changed, obviously cooking for myself and only myself I naturally ate more and without having anyone to stop me I ordered a lot more takeaways.

This affected me a lot because I have always been an active person. I danced for many years both at school and at an academy. From the age of 8 until about 14, I participated in both football and athletics competing at a borough level on school teams. I took GCSE PE in year 9 and completed it in year 10 so that was two years of intense gym and various training in various sports. Even after that was over I continued dancing until year 13. I was always quite healthy and I never really had body confidence issues regarding my weight.

After seeing the pictures on my birthday I was absolutely horrified but still didn’t feel motivated enough to anything about it. I wasn’t incredibly or overtly massive but because of how fit and active I was used to being, it was hard to look at myself and not be happy with what I saw. I spent weeks being upset about it, comparing myself to all the beautiful people around me and even shutting off opportunities of talking to people and going to social events at university because it begun to affect me mentally. One day, before I came home I decided it was time to change and I started working out in my room a couple times a week.

Coming home from university has been a blessing in disguise. I’ve established a workout routine using videos from YouTube and go on runs (only once a day maximum and maintaining social distancing) on some days. Check out Rebecca Louise’s fitness videos btw! I’m eating healthier, drinking lots of water and I’m beginning to feel stronger and a lot happier mentally.

Some people want to gain weight, and some want to lose it. Some people are bigger than me and are happy and some are smaller than me and are happy. What’s important is that you’re healthy and that you are confident in your body and how you look and more importantly how you feel. It’s a journey for me. I love working out now. I love the sensation in my muscles the next day. I love seeing the progress! You’re all beautiful the way you are but sometimes a few lifestyle changes can have you feeling that little bit more amazing!

Love Always,

Shadz xo

When the start stops

In the midst of a pandemic I’m going to write. The last two weeks have been hectic. My first year of university finishing prematurely, coming back home two weeks before easter, online studying and to top it all off, being on lockdown for at least three weeks.

I’m not going to tell you the logistics of the virus or the main points of Boris Johnson’s new orders to the public because I’m sure you’ve heard all of this. I’m not even going to tell you to stop stock piling! But what I am going to tell you is what you can do in this time of a worldwide crisis.

We’re indoors. For a long time. There’s so much you can’t do, but there’s so much you can do. For writers like me, we have no excuse not to write – I’ve been putting off blogging for two weeks because of deadlines and the changes to life because of the virus. But I can’t let these circumstances become excuses for not fulfilling what I want to fulfill. Use this time to read more, make a life plan, learn something, watch something inspiring. Although this isn’t an ideal situation and EVERYONE’S lives have been flipped upside-down – some worse than others, we can really make something positive out of it. It’s so tempting to binge watch series on Netflix all day (personal dig) but I definitely don’t want to look back after we’re all free again having done absolutely nothing.

Let’s do something great with a not so great situation.

Love Always,

Shadz xo

Sometimes it’s too much….

I think sometimes the subjects that are the hardest to talk about are the most important.

Obviously I took a week off writing this week. I got really ill, with a stomach bug and was bound to the bed until Thursday. Getting up to my laptop to write a blog was just not an option. So I didn’t.

I have battled with stress, overthinking and anxiety for as long as I can remember. It’s not something that I let define me but it takes up a lot of my day.

The thought of not writing made me anxious. The thought of not writing when incredibly sick made me anxious. That’s not normal. It may have prolonged my recovery period because I couldn’t rest properly. I felt like I was failing and that I would never be successful. I missed a whole week of lectures. 101 bad thoughts ran through my mind. And I couldn’t stop them.

So I faced my biggest fear. And stopped. Completely. Stopped worrying about missing lectures, stopped worrying about blogging and about all the other things going on. I’ve just put it all out of my mind. This is an ongoing battle and I’m only a growing human.

Love Always,

Shadz xo

Change of Plan

I’m so glad that I enjoy writing on the spot. Today took an unexpected turn. I planned a blog to write on “Redefining Feminism”, I scheduled it to be written, finalised and publish by 10pm tonight and as you’ve probably noticed – it hasn’t happened.

My day just went differently, and although I could be writing something engaging and meaningful about how there have been multiple waves of feminism which have all been a refinement on the last, I am instead writing about why that hasn’t happened. I planned to be home by a certain time tonight, I had a list of things to do and suddenly me and my housemates for next year get a call from the landlord of the most ideal student property for our second year. Of course we rushed at the opportunity, put an offer for the house and sorted out our finances surrounded it. That was the first thing.

Secondly and lastly actually, I realised I had something to prepare for one of my seminars tomorrow morning. I realised halfway through that I’ve missed the point completely and had to start all over again! I can be so clumsy sometimes but I’m also incredibly particular when it comes to being thorough and correct in my work.

This blog means a lot to me, and although few at the moment, I love my readers too. I can’t promise to always be on time or to have things completely together despite my constant and endless creations of list. This blog is my life, my real life, the good and the not so good. I will always update you on my Instagram but I will be always posting something on the days I’ve planned! I can’t promise to always have it together, plans sometimes change.

Love Always,

Shadz xo

1 Day of Love?

February 14th. The best days for some, the worst for others. Some hate it… too much, some love it… again, too much. For the whole of my teenage years I hovered somewhere in between. Regardless of whether I was talking to a guy during that time or not I never really saw it as a big deal but I definitely wasn’t the grinch of romance.

I love romance, I love romantic novels, romantic movies and hearing about other people’s romantic dates but Valentine’s day was never a reality for me. I feel like love should be displayed every single day to family and friends as well as towards significant others’. Aside from the historical significance, I never understood, and still don’t understand why one day of the whole entire year is centred around romance. At the same time, the idea of a day dedicated to flowers, teddy bears, chocolates and restaurant dates really does entice me.

For the first time in my life I had a “real” Valentine’s day experience with someone really special to me. It was the most amazing day, something I had never had before and I will never forget it. However, the day itself was merely an expression and an enhancement on what we already were building between us. It didn’t necessarily change how I felt about him – not that it was meant to. He was amazing before and he is amazing now. I feel like what you have with another person, be it a friend, family member or a romantic interest overrides everything that is external e.g. fancy dates and gifts.

It may be so much different for you, your outlook on the day may be so much different to mine. What I took from it is that the concept and the whole season of Valentine’s day is lovely – at face value. What I also learnt is it has nothing do with what you do, what you receive and where you go but has EVERYTHING to do with who you do it with and how you feel.

Love Always,

Shadz xo

Unmotivated?

Yeah me too. I’ve been sitting in bed for the past two hours following my lectures this morning. Granted, I was tired, and had some shows I wanted to catch up on also but in all honesty I feel extremely unmotivated.

It gets like that sometimes. Sometimes, like this morning, I wake up and want to just go back to sleep. If it wasn’t for my 10am lectures I may have. As soon as I got back to my accommodation, I collapsed into bed and haven’t left since. I could be reading, researching, exercising, changing the world. But no. I’m writing this very blog from between my insanely cosy bed sheets.

I’m sure you all experience days like this sometimes. It’s okay to not feel 110% motivated all the time. I know some people do (or pretend that they do), and they are inspirations, but my reality is that some days I don’t want to face the day to day happenings of life, people or productivity.

So long as the unmotivated and withdrawn mindset doesn’t become a habit, doesn’t override your dreams and aspirations or distract you from the things you need to do, it’s okay to sit and do nothing sometimes, healthy even.

I will get up, just give me 10 more minutes…

Love Always,

Shadz xo

Slow Starts, Things Change

At the start of last year I set myself a number of goals. Looking back in hindsight, although some of them were reachable and I did achieve some of them, a lot of them I’m yet to achieve. The truth is last year didn’t go quite how I expected. It wasn’t awful, but I believe I built myself up to believe that I would accomplish much more than I did. I went through a long period of time that I wasn’t even writing at all, not even journalling. By the grace of God I made it into university and have started my new adventure there. However, I was determined to do so much more and reflecting on my goals for 2019 I was disappointed on how little of them I achieved. I couldn’t bear to log back into this blog, I went through some extreme writers block, I even deleted my writers Instagram page. Although I am absolutely heathly physically, in a mental and emotional sense I felt unable to pursue what I needed to pursue. This year my main goal is to write more. Or better yet, write. It’s difficult to open up and be so raw and honest about how displeased I am with my progress this year but I’ve decided it’s time to stop dwelling in regret and self-doubt and just get on with it. I’m excited for what lies ahead and approach this year with faith and confidence.

Love Always,

Shadz xo