Life&Style writer Weronika Bialek gives freshers and returning students her best tips on how to budget for a successful year
For many, your first year at University is also your first time living on your own and managing your own finances. Sometimes it can feel overwhelming to have so many bills going out of your account whilst you’re also having to pay for groceries and drinks at the pub. Here are some tips from a third-year student as to how to ease financial stress:
Set aside money for rent and bills:
Starting with the obvious but putting your rent money into a separate account will greatly help you understand how much money you have left over to spend on whatever you like.
Start by calculating how much your rent and bills will cost for the year, and how much you will have to pay before your next student finance instalment comes in. Then put that money into a different account. By doing this you will not only be more aware of your financial situation, but it will also make it less likely that you will accidentally spend your rent money.
You can even open a student bank account to use specifically for keeping rent money safe, and they usually also come with extras as well as an overdraft in case things don’t go to plan.
Stock up on easy meals:
When setting aside money for food, remember to add some long lasting, easy meals to your shopping list.
Having to make three different meals every single day can become tiresome quickly, especially when you come home late in the evening after hours of classes and socialising with friends. Despite your greatest efforts to make a healthy dinner every day, you will probably end up ordering a takeaway a few times a week.
To avoid spending the extra money, keep easy meals in your freezer. Chips, chicken nuggets or a pepperoni pizza are a great dinner choice for when you do not have the energy to cook. They can even cost under £1, rather than the £15 you would spend on Dominoes.
Bring a reusable cup everywhere you go:
Something that you will probably not account for when you will be working out your budget, but you will most likely spend money on, is coffee.
On your walk to class, you will pass at least 4 coffee shops on campus. It is very tempting to quickly pop in and buy yourself an oat caramel latte before your 9am class, or an espresso during your lunch break. However, doing this regularly will end up draining your bank account.
Thankfully, the university has many areas with kettles and microwaves, just bring some tea bags or instant coffee sachets with you.
However, even if you do decide to treat yourself to a hot drink from the café, make sure to use your reusable cup as university cafés will charge you extra for using a disposable cup.
Second-hand items are your friends:
Before spending hundreds of pounds on all the house appliances that you need for your new student accommodation, consider having a browse through Facebook marketplace or having a walk around charity shops. Often, people will sell their old crockery, lamps and kettles for very cheap. Some will even be looking to give them away for free when they are moving out.
This is also important to remember when you are looking for costumes for sports nights and Halloween parties. Always check charity shops and reselling apps, such as Vinted or Depop before ordering something last minute off Amazon. This may require a bit of planning ahead, but it will save you a lot of money in the long run. You can even consider selling your used costumes after your event to earn some of that money back.
Not only will this save you money, but it will also be much less wasteful and help the environment!
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