Going to university is one of those big life decisions, and it comes with an expensive price tag, so it’s no wonder then that you’ll find students who are understandably penniless. Throughout your uni years, you’ll receive talks about careers, how to perfect your CV, how to get a graduate level job… or just how to get a job right now. Some of you might get one, some might not. In any case, money is tight and here are some things that I think ‘poor’ students might relate to:

Watching everyone but you drinking coffee during lectures

Coffee. It smells good, it tastes good and it is a drink that people consume on a daily basis. An early morning lecture might not be so bad if you can get your caffeine fix and stay alert enough to scribble down some useful notes. But have you seen the price of coffee?!

I would love to be one of those students who could buy a coffee everyday, but unfortunately, this is just a rare treat. £2 might not sound like much, but I’m in uni three days a week, so let’s say I bought just one a day, that’s £6. If I bought two a day (one for the lecture, one for the hours in between my lecture and seminar) then that’s £12. If I was going to spend £12 a week on something, then I’d be buying a book brand new instead!

But, if your coffee of choice is a mocha, then pop into a Wetherspoons. That’s the cheapest I’ve found them anyway! In second place comes McDonald’s, and third place Greggs.

‘Do you want to go to the cinema?’ feels like another huge decision

I think cinema prices are way too expensive. But at the same time, there are so many films I want to watch. If you’re a film student, you have a valid excuse to spend your money, and it is worth buying a membership card, but for the rest of us (or me at least!) it is either go to the cinema and spend nothing for a month, or save my money and treat myself to something else later.

I recently found out that to see a film in IMAX costs around £10.77 (booking online). I live with my mum, and that same amount could feed us both for a few days!

Your friend has to buy breakfast for you

‘I’ll have to see what funds I’ve got,’ you say, when your friend suggests going for breakfast. Then by some divine intervention (or just because you have a great friend) they offer to pay, and you are extremely grateful, but wish you could afford to pay for yourself.

You have great self-control and are an expert at saying ‘no’

Treats? No.

Brand new full-price book? No.

A meal out at a restaurant? No.

Trip to the cinema? No.

Vanilla latte? No.

About once a month you might just say yes to one of these things, and if it’s a good month: two of the things!

The poor become rich(ish)

Adopting the life of a saver rather than a spender will come in handy later. Maybe you only have a couple of hundred in the bank, or maybe a few thousand. Maybe you can afford the cinema, the coffee, the meals out. But maybe being a savvy student is about knowing when to treat yourself and when to tighten your belt. Find a happy medium and stick to it, and you might find that the pounds will take care of themselves.

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