Students, the creatures that hibernate until 5pm, consume Pot Noodles and spend copious amounts of money on the cheapest alcohol. You’ll be glad to hear that this is a part-time reality.
Here’s some helpful tricks and tips to help you live a little more comfortably within your means.
Split Your Money Equally
Work out your weekly budget and separate it into equal parts. For example, you could halve it so you have half to spend on food shopping and half to spend on whatever you want to do (hobbies, eating out, visiting friends, travelling to placements, etc). Stick to this and you’ll never be hungry or bored.
Make Grocery Lists
At first glance this seems tedious. Why would you want to make lists of food when you can just memorise what you need? Bad idea. Going shopping without a list means you’re more likely to buy things that aren’t necessary and that means wasting money you could spend on something else. Also, if you initially make a ‘menu’ of the meals you want to make throughout the week before making a shopping list, you’ll know exactly what you need
and save even more money. This was a life saving trick for my first year.
Food For Thought
This is a big one. You’ll be surprised to know that after all these years, vegetables and fruit are actually pretty cheap. You can do one of two things; buy fresh vegetables in bulk and freeze the stuff you won’t use on that day, or buy frozen vegetables and use as you need them. The most advisable thing to do is to buy more veggies than meat. Buy two lots of meat and plan your other meals around them. Other days you could eat pasta (pretty cheap when bought in bulk), fish, etc. A little goes a long way in this case.
Tip Top Tupperware
Now you’ve bought the food and you realise you’ve made too much – don’t worry, save it for the next day. Tupperware is super cheap; you can buy it for as cheap as £1 which is nothing in the long run. Your mum probably has loads in the cupboard at home too so don’t hesitate to ask.
Saving For A Rainy Day
You will, at some point, run out of food and money. To avoid this situation buy some dry food. Pasta, rice, sauces in jars, beans and bread can go a long way when money becomes tight. Now, you will have to become a stereotypical student for a day or two but it’s better than being hungry. Even if you think you’ll be okay, plan ahead and plan for the worst. Beans on toast days may be on the horizon if you blow your budget.
Walk This Way
Try to walk every chance you get. Not only is it good physically and mentally but your wallet will thank you. If you need to use public transport then you can save money by buying a weekly/monthly/term-time pass in advance. It may seem like you’re wasting money at first but it does actually save you a fair amount. Buying a Railcard will also save you 1/3 on train journeys.
Sleep On Your Purchases
If you think you need something (i.e clothes, makeup, Xbox games) then sleep on it. Don’t make any rash decisions. Do you really NEED that new top? The answer is most likely ‘no’ so save your money and don’t splurge.
You may be used to leaving the lights on when you’re at home but the reality changes when you’re a student. Now you pay your own bills you should be a little more careful when using energy. Turn lights off when you leave the room, buy a lamp, turn off electricals when you’re not using them and turn the thermostat down (jumpers will become your new best friend).
The truth is, being a student isn’t a luxury lifestyle, you may face some hard financial times. But, with these budgeting tricks and tips, the likelihood of that happening is decreased. Being a student should be enjoyable so give yourself one less thing to worry about and spend savvy!