How To Survive Financially At University



How To Survive Financially At University

If possible try to save some funds before you go to university, find a holiday job and try to accumulate some savings.

Shop around for a student bank account with good incentives but also the one that will meet your longer term financial needs. Freebies can range from interest free overdrafts to gift cards and free railcards. However look at the small print and the overall best deal. Don’t be too easily seduced, they want your business.

Resist spending your three monthly student loan instalment in the first week or you could quickly spiral into long-term debt. It’s a good idea to divide payments into weekly amounts and try to stick to this. It sounds boring but it is a great idea to devise a budget plan and keep a record of incomings and outgoings and to try to live accordingly.

Prioritise rent and then food. Learn to shop wisely and visit budget supermarkets, their products can be excellent and you can make quite a saving. Search for cheap, healthy recipes, there are hundreds online with visual step by step instructions if you’re not the best cook. Don’t be frightened to experiment, it’s fun. Try not to buy too much fresh food at once to prevent waste and if you have access to a freezer, cook bigger portions and freeze leftovers or eat for lunch the next day. Meat is generally more expensive so more veggie based dishes can be healthy and cheaper and make packed lunches when possible  instead of buying food on the campus. Discuss with flatmates what you can share, for example, condiments, toilet rolls , washing up liquid etc, maybe agree to have a kitty for certain things. Another good idea in shared accommodation is to take turns to cook for the rest of the group maybe once a week. It’s usually cheaper to cook in bulk and hopefully ensures you have a decent and free meal the weeks it is not your turn.

Textbooks can be so expensive. Try to save by buying secondhand, try eBay or Amazon’s ‘used’ option. Try placing messages on Uni sites or social media asking if anyone is selling the particular books you want. Use your university and local libraries, if you think ahead you can reserve books in advance as you need them. Also sell your old textbooks if they are not needed to try to free up some funds, some bookshops even have buy back schemes if textbooks are in good condition.

Make use of your student cards, you can get both an NUS extra card and a UniDays Account. Many places offer healthy student discounts, these can include shopping, eating out, nights out at the cinema. Also look out for free/cheap deals for students. eg. free entry to clubs etc

Even with the best intentions university life is expensive. If your finances are not balancing, a part-time job may be a good idea. Apart from earning money, a job will provide you with transferable skills such as time management, team work, customer service and so on which will look great on future CV’s. Most universities have ‘job shops’ you can register with and local shops, bars and restaurants may be looking out for staff. If you don’t want a year round job, look around early for Xmas jobs, a few weeks of full time work can boost the budget for your return in the new year.

If you do find yourself in financial difficulties, seek help. Most universities will have advisers who can help and give advice about further support.


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