How to Survive at University; Budgeting
One of the biggest fears that I had before coming to University was the money side of things. Although I had some practice in budgeting, I was aware at University this would be a greater challenge. Budgeting itself is fairly simple, if you can aim to spend only what you money you have coming in each week/month then this will put you in good stead. However, the nature of spending at University means this might not always be entirely possible, especially with rent and bills which come in big chunks. Despite this, what you can do is try and plan ahead and keep in check with your finances where possible. Below are some basic tips and pointers in how to do this.
- Have more money by making more money!
At University there are many part time job opportunities. Here at the University of Leicester, the students Union provide lots of jobs to students that pay well, but also work well to accommodate students other commitments such as studying. Have a look at this link for more information http://leicesterunion.com/work
Night-life; the busy night-life that is seen at Universities brings with it numerous job opportunities. If working at bars or pubs is your thing, it is well worth checking out these local businesses to see what is on offer. Night-life also provides opportunities for paid promotion and ticket selling for specific events.
Working during the holidays; it is well worth trying to earn some money during the University breaks back home. Before coming to University try and see if it is possible to come back during these periods for some shifts from your current employer. Likewise, a few weeks before coming home try and find some seasonal work in catering, waiting and hospitality that are always desperate for extra staff around Christmas and the Summer holidays.
- Saving money.
There are many ways to save money whilst living at University, which can be done without big sacrifices!
Food and cooking; From personal experience, food is the area where most money can be saved whilst also accounting for the highest expenditure week in week out. If food is something you are not fussy about, then is section is pretty easy for you. Most supermarkets have their own cheap ‘value’ range which will be exactly what it says on the tin! But for me, shopping around for deals in store is the easiest way to cut back on shopping. Only buying certain things if they are on offer, or stocking up on others when they are is the sort of thing which shouldn’t be too hard for most people. Fruit and vegetables can also prove to be the cheaper option, as well as the healthier one! Cooking together can also prove to be cheaper in the long run, which as long as your fellow house mates share your tastes, can be another good idea.
Freebies, deals and vouchers; This is tragically something I actually really enjoy. In recent years, I have grown a reputation amongst house mates for taking advantage of almost any deal that I can, following free toothpaste arriving through the post last year! Jokes aside, it is a really good way of saving money. Facebook pages such as 10ways, a couple of times a day share these deals which vary from freebies, to vouchers and to special codes to get discounts. I have easily saved £200 through money off train fares, free alcohol, free vouchers for shops and codes enabling me to get discounts online from clothes to music to pizza!
Banking; Upon opening a student account with a bank, you are likely to experience an interest free overdraft for the only time in your life! While this is not a justification for spending an extra £1000 just because you can, it enables you to use this money carefully over your time at University. Before opening an account, it is worth shopping around to see the opening gifts. Some banks give you a free 3year student railcard (worth £70) which enables you to 1/3 off all train fares. Some banks give away free music downloads, while some do not have any gifts at all!
Oh, one last thing! Always ask for a student discount!
I hope these tips have helped, thanks for reading!