Budgeting at university
As a student, money can be a big worry. Whether it’s the price of fees, accommodation, or a jagerbomb in Smack, money (or sometimes lack of) is something that we all think about. Before coming to Warwick I’d always been quite good at budgeting, but nothing can really prepare you for coming to university. Your parents are no longer there to get the weekly food shop or pay the odd expense. However, because you’re thrown in the deep end, you do learn pretty quickly how to manage your finances. Here are some of the ways that have helped me over the last few years.
Make multiple, smaller budgets
I have found that having multiple smaller budgets rather than one big one helps manage your finances, and make it much easier to track your spending. While I find that it’s important not to obsess, I try to make sure that I spend roughly the same amount each day. If I’ve spent more than I intended on one day, I simply make sure the next I spend slightly less the next so everything evens out across the week.
Have a separate allowance for your social life – that’s important too!
Set aside money for social activities, so you don’t feel guilty about spending money on nights out, and still always have enough left for the food shop! I set aside a chunk of money each week for nights out and drinks etc. By making sure you have money set aside for cocktails and brunches means you can manage your money while still having a good time. Obviously prioritise money for vital things, such as rent and food, but having a social life at uni is also important, so you should still set aside funds to allow you to have one.
Make use of the academic resources available to you
University is expensive enough without having to fork out for expensive textbooks. From my experience though, Warwick has plenty of different resources that mean you might never have to pay for a book If you don’t want to. The library is stocked with plenty of academic resources, from books to online access to journals. If an academic suggests some reading, I’ve often found that scanned pages and links to useful articles are placed on Moodle. Sometimes textbooks are also provided for free, as was the case in my first year with the core textbooks. Basically, by making use of the resources on campus you can save yourself a bit of money.
Along with my tabula timetable, I have a calendar on my laptop with other events such as birthdays, society balls and socials that are planned a few weeks in advance, so extra costs like birthday presents and tickets don’t creep up on me. I plan my food shop in advance with a meal plan so I can scout out any deals and avoid food wastage, and make packed lunches as often as I can. I like lists, so often make them to log spending and plan out weekly budgets, but there are also apps you can use to keep track of this.
Job opportunities on campus
Sometimes when you’re struggling to make ends meet, a flexible part-time job can help, without interfering with your studies. I’ve found that there are so many opportunities for work on campus, from working in SU outlets, as a departmental ambassadors, part of Warwick Welcome Service and even through being a student blogger! If money is one of your concerns for coming to university, then I’d recommend scouting out some of the jobs on campus, as well as any of financial support that the university offer in more extreme cases. There’s plenty of work in Leam and Coventry etc. but I’ve found that jobs on campus are much more accommodating to your university life.