Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Life: How To Manage Your Money at University

Money! You don't realise how much things really cost until you start paying for everything yourself. You may feel like you're turning in to your parents. You now understand why they would say no when you pick up the most expensive item. You are now saying no to yourself thinking budget not luxury. You may need that 50p later on.

When you first get your loan you are hit with a lump sum of money you have probably never had before. Hence why some students go a little bit crazy in the first few weeks then struggle in the last week. This can all be avoided if you learn to manage your money and maximise it. You don't have to struggle with your money. 

In order to manage your money a basic tip is learning how to budget. In order to budget you need to know your weekly allowance. What I do is divide my monthly allowance by the amount of weeks I need to use it. For example, if you're paid the minimum loan £1200 for a 12 week period you have £100 pound a week to live on. It seems simple right. However, how you spend your weekly allowance will have an effect. You now have that money to live however, you may also need to factor in what money you have going out. This may be your phone bill, subscriptions or even train tickets to visit home. 
Organization is the key to budgeting.

My second tip is the clearance sections in supermarkets. There is usually a deal to be had in those sections. You may even find things you wouldn't even believe. They usually get good before closing with most things needed to be eaten that day but it is dinner sorted for that night. However, I would not recommend this for long term shopping. It is much better to plan your meals ahead therefore you save money. If you have to go to shop all the time you are likely to spend money buying items you may not necessarily need. With my housemates we all share the cooking with one person cooking each week night. This has saved us all money rather than cooking separately. We also bulk buy essentials or take it in turn. Also, don't think you have to buy branded everything. I am a bit of a brand snob I do need branded ketchup and coke, but shopping in Lidl is great. 

Alcohol will definitely affect your budget if you are drinking and going out regularly. Pre drinking becomes your best friend. You are already spending before thinking about drinks whilst you are out. You are likely to need taxi money, entrance money and possibly money for a takeaway.You can save money on a takeaway by making quick food when you get back. 

If you are struggling with the money you have getting a part job may be an option. Depending on where your university is depends on the jobs available to you. The best option may just be coffee shops and restaurants but you can also try chain stores. If you had a job back home transferring may be an option if you can reach the store easily. 

Student discount is now your best friend. Always try and ask if you are unsure whether a store takes student cards. Most places do but always keep a look out for student deals. I would recommend an NUS card but you can also use My Unidays, 

Are you finding it hard to manage your money at uni?