Budgeting! Before university, it’s the one word we hear a thousand times from our parents! Commuting, textbooks, food, the list is endless. Among many other things, these need to be considered into our budgets. Some students are really lucky they can rely on the bank of mum and dad for either a weekly allowance or a relief loan for when times are tough.
This blog post will be the first of two that hopes to show you how you don’t need to budget, you just need to be sensible! It will contain my top tips and latest knowledge of the best deals out there to benefit students and make the most of university on a small amount of money. Everything I’m about to say, I either currently do or have done at some point in the past 3-4 years.
My major concern before starting university was if I was to run out of money. I am very independent and will not ask my parents for money even if it is the last resort. Instead, make sure you’ve done research into the accounts the banks have to offer to ensure you have the best Student Account possible. Many include a 0% overdraft and I use this as my security net and only ever use it on essential purchases. However… chocolate and wine are sometimes essential I’m sure you’ll understand.
My first tip is every time you are about to buy something, ask yourself “do I really need this?”. It makes you think about your purchases more instead of impulsive buying. The majority of the time I answer myself by saying “no I could live without it I suppose” and it’s true in most cases. I know this sounds awful, but I promise once you get yourself into this frame of thinking, you find yourself no longer buying food that will go to waste and you’ll have more money to spare!
- Hit the supermarkets between 5-7pm when food gets reduced to pennies. A pork chop for 20p – freeze it! Investigate what time foods get reduced at your local supermarket and go then!
- If a pasta sauce serves four, don’t make one serving and leave it in the fridge to never be used again. Make four servings and freeze the other three for times when you’re feeling lazy (or hungover).
- Make your own pack lunches. If you’re too lazy, get an LE card.* Your parents are able to top them up with your weekly allowance and doesn’t let you spend any more than what you have on the card. There are deals on just for those with an LE card such as meal deals for £3.50, 10% off soup and a hot drink plus cake for £2.50.
- Got an event coming up and need something new to wear? Prep a week or so in advance. Check NUS student discounts, online sales and Unidays for further discounts such as 10% off ASOS. Gone are the times of shopping in Topshop unless there is a sale… Sorry!
- Responsible for choosing a theme for a night out? Why not a Thrift Shop bar crawl? Everyone gets a maximum amount they are allowed to spend in a charity shop, prizes for the craziest outfits and all for a good cause too!
- Got your eye on an expensive something? Wait for Highcross Student Takeover. It tends to happen mid-October and there are exclusive discounts just for us students.
I’ll be back tomorrow with many more so stay tuned!
*Now called a ‘U pay Chilli’ card! http://www2.le.ac.uk/offices/catering/upaychilli
Read part two.