Your university years are arguably the most financially reckless of your life. Financially surviving the cost of living while going out and socialising on an almost daily basis can be extremely tough.
Despite your busy study schedule we recommend that you set some time aside to controlling your finances. Here are 3 top tips to ensure that you financially survive university:
1. Create a budget
The content of your budget is likely to look vastly different to that of someone who is in full time employment however the framework should be the same. In the first section list all sources of income including maintenance loans and grants, scholarships, bursaries and any employment you may have. In the second section list all of your outgoings, splitting them into two subsections; essential and non-essential. Essential outgoings include accommodation costs, food, mobile phone bills, travel, broadband and insurance costs. Non-essential outgoings will include days out, nights out, gifts, clothing and any other leisure costs you may have on a monthly basis.
2. Limit spending on nights out
We’re not going to tell you to avoid night outs – you’re at university after all! There are however a number of ways to limit your spending when you’re out, here are some rules to stick by:
- Always pre-drink – supermarket alcohol is considerably cheaper than nightclub alcohol; create some cocktails, set up some drinking games and let the good times roll!
- Only take a small amount of cash – after pre drinking the chances are you won’t need a whole lot more alcohol, however if you’ve got money in your wallet the temptation to buy drinks is still there
- Leave cards at home – Having a card available while under the influence is not a good idea! It can quickly turn into a shuttle run from club to cash machine resulting in dramatic overspending.
We’re not saying this will elude the sore head in the morning; however you will avoid that guilty feeling of finding nightclub receipts in your back pockets!
3. Control food consumption
Aside from accommodation costs, food is likely to be one of your largest expenses. Many fall into the mistake of buying their weekly shop and then consuming it within three days, leaving them with toast for breakfast, dinner and tea for the remainder of the week. The key is to formulate a loose meal plan and not fall into the mistake of eating everything in sight.
Shopping online should eradicate the temptation of impulse buys and unnecessary purchases, additionally; it may make it easier to identify any offers that you could take advantage of.
By alleviating the financial stress that university brings, you should be able to enjoy the experience a whole lot more. We are not saying you should stick 100% to your budget and never treat yourself, simply avoid overspending on a regular basis. Limiting your spending now will help you in the future when you’re looking to repay your student debt.