Budgeting, budgeting, budgeting…
I’m sure you hear that budgeting as a student is a nightmare – but I can’t sugar coat it, it is actually a nightmare. Budgeting is actually the most difficult part of my university experience so far. During the first term, my budget sometimes fell so low without me even noticing, and I’d have to be super careful with my spending for the rest of the month or else I’d be in trouble.
Now in Term 2, I’m relatively better (not completely, but there’s an improvement) and I’ve learnt from some of my past mistakes. Here are some tips that may help you out:
- Budget Calculator/App – one thing I started doing this month is using an app where I put in my allowance for that month and go on to record all the spending I do. The app I use, DollarBird (free and available on both the Apple and Play store), is user-friendly and easy to use. It has a simple interface that just calculates everything for you and shows how much you’ve spent each day on a monthly calendar view, and you can even choose what type of cost it is (i.e. food, clothes, eating out). It’s made me a lot more conscious of my spending and I can look back easily on where my money has gone to and be able to make changes and decide what I’ll do for the rest of the month from there.
- Set yourself an allowance every month – I tried to do this last term, it didn’t really work. I always told myself I would not spend over a certain amount in a month, and I somehow always did. I’ve been trying this term to stick to it more though, being very strict with myself. Be very careful of this and try and force yourself not to spend over a certain amount. Try and set out how much you’ll spend on food for that month for example, and how much money you will put aside for going out, clothes and coffees between lectures.
- Eat out less and pack food instead – I’m the type of person who enjoys eating out with friends a lot because I find it such a lovely social setting to be in, but I do realise I did it too much in first term. I also used to buy sandwiches or my lunch at Library Cafe or Rootes Grocery store throughout the day and found that doing that does add up a lot! I’ve started to pack my own food instead, and try suggest to friends we buy meals from Tesco or cook instead and that’s cut back on my spending a lot.
- – while Rootes Grocery Store is very convenient to a lot of different accommodation blocks as it is in central campus, it is actually very expensive compared to the other supermarkets. You can save up a lot of money by going to Tesco or even Aldi which is just a bit farther than Tesco. I don’t have this problem as much since I live in Claycroft, which is right next to Tesco. But even if you do live in central campus, make a monthly shop to Tesco. Some of my friends take their suitcases for example and that’s not such a bad idea! If you think you will look weird, many people do it so don’t worry. Also, consider applying for a Tesco Clubcard so you can collect points everytime you shop there, which can later add up and save you a lot of money as well. Another thing when it comes to food shopping, do try and keep an eye on the offers. Tesco is great in this as they always put offers on different foods such as discounts or 3 bags of something for a reduced price (it’s really bad when Ben and Jerry’s goes on offer to be honest as that’s my favourite ice cream and I can’t resist the temptation when it goes from £5 to half the price).
- – there are job opportunities on campus as well as in Leamington Spa and Coventry. I personally didn’t want to look for a job off-campus as I didn’t want to have to keep paying for bus tickets, but if that’s not something that bugs you, that could be a great choice. I will definitely be getting a job in Leamington next year when I live there. Or there are various jobs on campus as well – some of my friends work in the Dirty Duck for example, or becoming a student blogger and/or caller. Any source of income would help massively while you’re here.
- – another reason to get involved with societies! Many societies will have free food involved in their events (ESPECIALLY during freshers). While it’s not usually the healthiest option as it’s almost always free pizza, maybe cake would be involved as well, it won’t hurt every and now again. Plus, it’s just another reason to immerse yourself more and meet new people with the added bonus of free food.
University might be the first time that some of you have to take responsibility for all your spending so please, be as wise as you can. It’s not hard once you take control of it, but once it slips, it can become a major problem and you do not want this added stress on top of general university stress as well.
As always, comment down below if you have any questions!
– Rana x