Student life – living on a tight budget

| 09/08/2013 | 83 Comments

If you have been used to the luxuries provided by the bank of mum and dad then student life can be a real shocker! Here we will provide tips on how to manage your money and make those pounds stretch that little bit further.
Many students worry about their financial situation, but these worries can be solved by planning and budgeting.

Managing your money
Before you even think about spending a penny you need to have a good idea of your income and outgoings. First things first, write down all of your monthly sources of income. This may include your student loan, part time job, money from your parents and possible a bursary or grant if you are lucky! Next you need to move onto your expenditure. You must take into consideration all of your fixed regular outgoings such as rent, phone bill, travel expenses and your TV license. Subtract this from your income and divide it by the number of weeks per term to work out what you have left.tight student budget

 The amount you have left over is your budget for other purchases. Remember that you will need to factor in the cost of food. The more savvy students will make note of what they are spending their money on and keep their receipts so that they can check to see if they are overspending on certain items.


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Grocery shopping and cooking tips
Food is a necessity, but eating out at restaurants is not, so stick to cooking at home if you want to save yourself money. It is a good idea to visit the supermarket just before closing time in order to purchase fresh food at discount prices. The supermarkets do not want their fresh fruit and vegetables or deli food going to waste, so they will usually offer it to customers at ridiculously low prices. If however you prefer to do your grocery shopping online, use price comparison websites and discount codes to ensure you save as much money as possible.
Although it may be tempting to purchase ready meals that you can bung into the microwave for two minutes, cooking your meals from scratch will work out much cheaper. You can also make larger portions so that you have meals for other days. Simply divide the food up into containers and store them in your fridge or freezer. Taking a pack lunch to university will also help to cut down on your food bill.

Students are creatures of the night, often spending far too much money on alcohol and late night takeaways. Instead of buying individual glasses of wine, club together with your friends to buy a bottle. It works out much cheaper! You may also want to consider drinking at your student flat, rather than when you are out as many bars are overpriced.
If you are looking for things to do, that do not involve alcohol, then check your local newspaper for free events in your area.

Shopping for clothing and luxury items
From time to time you will want to treat yourself to some new clothes, but there are still a few savvy things you can do to make sure you save yourself money. For example you may want to try buying clothes second-hand from websites like eBay or charity shops in your local area.
If you cannot buy anything that is not Topshop, or another shop on your high street, then be sure to ask for student discount. Many shops have student discount schemes but do not always advertise them! There are usually a number of coupons and discount codes floating around online for you to take advantage of too.
Alternatively you may want to consider applying to work at one of your favourite fashion stores. High street stores often provide their staff with fantastic discounts.

Don’t leave yourself short of money – plan ahead so that you have enough to cover all of your outgoings.

Image credits: Phillip Taylor PT & Images_of_MoneyConclusion
Although you may find it difficult to adjust to your student budget to begin with, if you are savvy with your income, you will soon get used to your new way of living. Remember if you do find yourself in financial difficulty, there are advisors at your University who will be able to help you straighten things out, not to mention your parents at home.

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