7 Tips for Managing a Student Budget: Beginner’s Guide
When you start university Fresher’s is one of the most exciting times of your uni life, packed with entertainment events and activities. Whether it’s you first, second or third Fresher’s week, the temptation to spend is everywhere and very irresistible! And all would be well and good if you didn’t need to worry about your precious pennies. However, as practice shows, most of you will be on a tight budget during your academic year, which can be a bit of a challenge, especially if you haven’t actually had the need to manage money before. But fear not, as we have devised a few handy tips to guide you in the process:
1. Work out a budget
Sound incredibly boring doesn’t it? But it really is oh-so-easy to blow your whole year’s allowance in your first month at the Uni..How about making it fun instead of traditional EXCEL spreadsheet approach? There are a few good apps available to help you with that: try MoneyDashboard , Goodbudget or Spending Tracker. You can use them to keep track of your incomings and outgoings across all your accounts. Some of them are even able to predict your future expenditure and/or create charts and graphs if it is easier for you to digest the info that way.
2. Eat smarter
The importance of planning your meals ahead could not be overstated! Trust us — it is too easy to fall into an expensive habit of picking up lunch, coffee or an evening take away with friends when you are at Uni. It is amazing how quickly it all adds up! Preparing your own food is a great way to save money, and there’s no need to cut back on the ingredients you love, especially if you are also supermarket-savvy! Try to shop at least once or twice a week, make a shopping list and STICK TO IT! Don’t be tempted by offers on goods you don’t need. Also, staying away from household brands and opting in for a supermarket own range can mean a hefty saving on filling the fridge without compromising on quality.
3. Sell what you don’t use
This includes books, clothes, and appliances etc. which sit around your room and gather dust. They could be quite valuable to someone, so why not head to Amazon, eBay, ASOS market place or even Facebook groups if you think they might add a few pounds to your ever thinning valet :)
4. Choose your bank wisely
Banks are actively targeting students more than any other population group, which means that they actively compete with each other to offer the most attractive package.
Many banks have special offers to students such as student bank accounts with long-term interest free overdrafts and additional incentives and various freebies. So do shop around before committing to one, it will be worth it!
5. Make the most of your student discounts, baby
Look after the pennies — and the pounds will look after themselves :) As a student you can get almost anything at a discounted rate! That includes:
· Council tax — full-time students in further and higher education are usually exempt from paying council tax, so make sure you’re not paying unnecessarily
· NUS extra card — one off payment of £12 will save you loads on a variety of items across a wide range of fields, including Fashion retail, Food and Drink, Travel, Mobile etc .
6. Apply for a scholarships or bursary
Check out our dedicated page and see whether you are eligible to apply for any additional financial help from the University itself. You never know, you might be entitled to a student grant that you didn’t know about…Every little helps ;)
7. Consider a part-time job
Depending on the course you are studying and your time management skills, you might find that you have few spare hours a day or evenings per week. Why not use this time to earn some extra cash? You also get an added benefit of work experience and developing transferable skills which will help you in future job hunt after the Graduation. You might want to register with our on-site recruitment agency for students and graduates — Unitemps. They can offer anything from one-hour shifts to full time work for several months either on-site (like at our library, canteen, Student Centre, events and marketing team etc.) or with an external employer if you prefer.