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!