Living on a Budget

Ever since I took the decision to become a student, I have been bombarded with well-meaning people telling me about the perils of being poor, because of taking such a route.

Since entering University, I have had to learn very quickly how to manage my money, to make it through each week without the prospect of having nothing to eat or drink hanging over me.

I will admit that I didn’t really devote too much time towards organizing my own finances before entering university, feeling it would all just fall into place as the term began. However, I soon learned the hard way when my first couple of weeks were spent on the bread line!

It’s a feeling I would rather not repeat and has only served to make me stronger when it comes to managing my money today. These are just a few pointers I have learned along the way:

Devise a budget and use it: Okay, it’s not the most glamourous aspects to being a Uni student, but if you want to remain a happy student, with food on the table, a roof over your head and a course to continue attending, then you need a budget of some sort!

It doesn’t have to be extensive or complicated. Actually, you can now use an app if you would prefer your budget to hand on your phone. However, it needs to allow you to have some way of accessing all the incomings and outgoings for every month.

Make sure to put as much information as you can into the budget, so you can get as clear a picture as possible about the month ahead and tackle possible shortfalls ahead of time.

Make food high on your list of priorities: Many people assume that students live off pasta and tins of beans. However, that doesn’t have to be the case for any student if they ensure food is adequality dealt with in their budget.

You may find, as I did, that most staple foods can be bought in the various value and cut-price ranges in supermarkets. It is all just a case of shopping to your budget and using your head when it comes to walking around the aisles.

Buying in bulk can be a good idea, alongside cooking as a small group whereby you each contribute a product to the meal, thus drastically reducing your meal costs.

In addition to this, learning to cook properly before you head off to Uni can stand you in great stead!

Don’t forget essential bills that need paying: It is so tempting to head out on a shopping spree when that student loan hits your account. But, it won’t feel so great when you can’t make it through to the end of the month because you splurged all the cash within days of it entering your bank.

It is essential, if you rent while at Uni to get your rent and other urgent bills paid first. Why run the risk of being booted from your property all because you felt that you had to have the latest pair of jeans or trainers?

Use your budget and make sure those essential items are all paid for first.

Buy books second hand: Finally, if you don’t have to, never buy a brand-new book for Uni, primarily as some of the set texts can run to almost a weeks’ worth of rent! If you have a hefty reading list, this is even more important.

There are so many places to buy reduced books both in a physical store and online, that there is no need to purchase new, considering they will more than likely need to be written in.

Alternatively, ask the Uni for second-hand book recommendations or for details of students selling their texts on.