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: Reading, Writing and Watching Netflix

How have you been spending your lockdown? It’s become the new norm for me, I sometimes even forget I’m in lockdown until I get the daily news bullentine on the BBC News app. I’ve had a lot of astonishingly productive days so far where I’ve met personal targets and deadlines. And I wouldnt’ say I’ve completely gone mad (maybe a little) but I’ve honestly had days where I haven’t even wanted to get out of bed or do anything remotely productive. One of things that I was certain about when creating this blog is that I was going to be completely and utterly honest with my readers.

As you probably already know, I am far form perfect. I don’t have my whole entire life sorted. I don’t have all the answers to what I want to do in the future. I just don’t have it all together. Seeing as all the priorities that I have at the moment are inside jobs i.e. this blog, video making, attending online lectures and writing essay, lockdown hasn’t actually restricted my life as much as it has other people. But I’m not getting as much done as I thought I would.

I would say I’m a very driven and ambitious person – on one side. I have things that I want to do, improve in and complete. The other side of me is sluggish, demotivated and often too nervous to push the boat out just that little bit further. I’ve started making videos on my Instagram, but as soon as I post them I start worrying who will see them and what they will think. Will they think I’m boring, too serious? Or maybe over excitable and not sophisticated enough. Not so long ago this would have stopped me completely from posting anything! Including things on my PRIVATE snapchat story. Anxiety about what other people might think has been my biggest struggle throughout my whole life. It starts off as a little tickly feeling in my mind and suddenly it overcomes me like a big dark cloud. I’ve worked on it over the years especially in the weeks leading up into university and I am still working on it.

What I’m trying to get at is I’m not exactly where I want to be in most aspects of my life – in my creative passion, in my confidence, in my fitness, in my relationships, in my finances or in my mental wellbeing – but I am certainly not where I used to be. Reaching the end goal or target doesn’t matter as much as the progress or the journey. At the start of quarentine I had started none of my full-term essays written, I was slacking on instagram and blog posts and I hadn’t even made a video yet. Now, I have consistently been writing blogs, I’ve produced two mediocre videos and worked on all of my full-term essays, with one completely finished. It’s not a lot for 7 or 8 weeks of lockdown, but it’s something. I’m learning to trust that God is the one who hold the plans for my future. All I can do is rest in His strength and follow where He leads me to go. This has brought me great peace in all of the uncertainty. He promises His children rest. Even when anxiety is closing in on me, even when I want to reach something that seems untangible, even when I feel I’ve failed, I have learnt to rest in His presence. And it’s okay to stop, to scrunch up your schedule and press reset for tomorrow. It’s okay to switch off and binge watch Netflix series for hours and it’s okay to not quite reach your standards of perfection. What is meant for you is already yours.

Love Always,

Shadz xo