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

Quarantine Talks: Let’s be honest: Being home and the reality of living away.

It’s probably obvious that because of the pandemic I have had to leave university early and come back home. But do I like being here? Or would I rather be there?

The short answer to my title is yes. I am a total homebird. Now don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love university, I love the independence and the responsibility of being able to choose what to do and when to do it. I’m an adult so it’s not to say that I don’t get a lot of freedom at home, because obviously I do, but it’s different at university. I can only speak for myself but when I’m at home, I wouldn’t get up at 3am and go for a walk with my friends – not because I’m not allowed, but it would be weird, for me. At uni, me and my flatmates did that plenty of times, not alone of course, that’s too far for me. But certainly with my friends I would, and it wouldn’t be weird. At university, I choose to eat what I want, when I want, regardless of what anyone in my flat is doing. I choose when I shower and how long for (en-suite benefits), I choose when I want to shop and what I want to shop for, I get to buy what I want to buy. In essence, I do what I want, when I want without it affecting anybody. And that’s exactly why I prefer being at home.

I love the hustle and bustle of family life, I love cooking for my family, I love sitting around the table, laughing and making jokes. I eventually love the sound of someone running to the bathroom even when I’d planned to go in, I love hearing my mum scream “DEL DEL WHERE ARE YOU!” even if it’s just to ask what chores I’ve done today. I love the silly and sometimes annoying altercations with my little siblings. I love hearing my big brother blasting out his music out full volume from his bedroom. I love hearing the deafening sound of my dad sneezing and snoring on the couch ever so often. Now most of these things may seem strange to love, but what I didn’t understand when I left to university is that I wouldn’t have these things anymore. You just don’t have it. The things that maybe you would have seen as being inconvienient at the time, end up being the things you miss. And I miss them when I’m away.

So yes, I do miss being at home when I’m at uni perhaps more so than I miss uni when I’m at home. And I’m glad I’m home for the time being.

Uni students – do you prefer home or uni?

Love Always,

Shadz xo

The Greatest Day in History

“Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.”
Matthew 28:5‭-‬6

Happy Easter you lovely people!!! Resurrection Sunday is the most important day in the Christian calendar. This is the day that we celebrate the resurrection of our saviour Jesus Christ. I am eternally grateful for what Jesus did for me on the cross – he defeated sin and rose up up from the grave so that I can live in freedom. Tens of thousands of Christians across the UK and millions of Christians around the world use this day to remember what Jesus has done for them, not only in their personal lives but for the whole entire world!

I will never be ashamed of the gospel and I will never be ashamed to declare my faith both here, on my blog, and in my daily life. My blog, of course is not merely faith based posts, I post a bit of everything, from education to relationships to lifestyle but my faith is very central in my life and I would believe I would be hiding a huge, crucial part of myself if I did not share it.

Whatever you’re doing today or however you’re choosing to celebrate this bank holiday weekend I hope you are all keeping safe and staying happy – even in quarantine!

Love Always,

Shadz xo

What do you want?

In a world that tells us what to be, what to like and what to do, how often do you you consider and actually do what you want to do? Not what social media tells you do, not what culture tells you to, not what your family and friends tells you to do.

For me, not very often. I feel like I make a lot of the choices I make curtesy of someone or something else. Maybe you don’t have that problem and maybe you do. I’ve been struggling with this a lot for the last couple of weeks and it’s got me into quite a negative state. Sometimes I just want to wake up in the morning and embrace what I want to embrace simply because I want to embrace it. And it’s not that I physically can’t. Because I can. But I don’t.

I am in the process of transforming into an independent and confident young woman and I believe that overcoming this fear of standing out is all a part of the process. And I will get there.

Love Always,

Shadz xo