Despite the seemingly large maintenance loans awarded to us students by the government, paying for everything from rent to rubbish sacks, and electricity to event tickets takes its toll. Depending on your household income, university students are given a maintenance loan which comes in three installments throughout the year. Whilst this certainly makes life a bit easier, it is by no means an endless endowment. Combined with the newly released July 2015 budget announcing the cut of student maintenance grants for those with lower incomes, costs are making university life more difficult for students to comfortably sustain.
So how can we cope over a four-month summer holiday with next to no loan to see us through?
It may not seem much, but I’ve developed a few little strategies to help me cope financially throughout the summer. They may be the sorts of things you want to try out, or perhaps you have budgeting tips of your own- please feel free to comment!
Ebay, Gumtree, any site where you can trade your old clothes/ games/ CD’s for a price is your best friend. I’ve recently sold some summer skirts and shirts which rewarded me with a few pounds. Every little helps, right?
2. WORK EVENTS
Temporary or one-off jobs are some of the best ways to earn money without a commitment if, like me, you have holidays booked. I work a few shifts at the University of Leicester itself for various things, but it’s worth looking at music festivals for work with more than just a monetary reward.
3. CHEAP AND CHEERFUL
So, my friends ask me if I want to go out for coffee; tempted by the alluring prospect of a Starbucks mocha, I courageously suggest an alternative day involving a picnic with flasks of hot chocolate and ham sandwiches. Trust me, cheap days out with friends make the most of the weather whilst making memories, AND keeping your change.
4. BARGAIN HUNTING
As my friend shows me her new £30 ASOS bikini that sure, looks great on her, I can’t help feeling smug that I picked up mine for a fraction of the price from quickly wading through the sea of sales. I also always search for the ‘reduced’ label in supermarkets; I’d say that paying only £0.30 for an egg and tomato sandwich was worth it! Just remember to only buy things that you would have considered anyway- purchasing something solely because it’s on offer does not necessarily make it a bargain.
Although they don’t sound like a lot, and they’re perhaps quite obvious tips, I’m coping more comfortably this summer than I would be without making the extra effort. Finances can be frightening, but university still remains feasible!