Budgeting at uni

Friday 18 September 2020, First year


Budgeting at uni

By Hannah, a 19 year old student from South Wales. 

We all know that loans, grants, and bursaries are amazing as soon as they arrive in your bank account, but this money will need to last you longer than a week or two!

I don’t know about you, but when I know that I have a large amount of money in my account, I think that I’m wealthy and tend to spend a good amount of it on unnecessary items. Last year, when I was a student, I tried budgeting and here are some things to consider.
  1. NUS Extra is your best friend. My student discount card saved me so much money during the year. You’ll be eligible for discounts in plenty of high street or online shops
  2. Share the kitchen essentials with your housemates, such as milk, bread, and condiments.
  3. Remember, you’re a student! You cannot really afford to buy things that you maybe could have before you moved to university. When you go shopping and really like something, just ask yourself ‘Do I really need this?’ because you most likely won’t.
  4. As annoying as loyalty cards are, they can get you a free coffee or meal. So don’t throw them away!
  5.  Some supermarkets will offer vouchers for new online customers. If this opportunity arises then I would take it because you’ll be able to get money off your weekly shop.
  6. Purchasing a Young Persons Railcard will save you up to a third on train fares. These savings will add up in the long run when travelling back and forth from home. 
  7.  Opening a student bank account was the best decision I made before going to university. Student bank accounts are typically current accounts offering an interest free overdraft facility. If you do open a student account, just be warned not to exceed the overdraft limit because high charges will apply. Some bank accounts offer an incentive to open a student account with them, so do your research!
  8. I’m probably going to sound like your mum, but typically, healthy food is cheaper than junk food. You can create endless meals with fresh fruit and vegetables. When you purchase junk food, such as ready meals and processed food, the number of meals you can make is limited.
  9. I made the mistake in my first year to buy every book on the reading list brand new. I failed to realise that second-hand books were just as good and they’re a fraction of the cost.
  10. Purchasing food on campus may seem like a good idea at the time, but taking food from home will save you so much money in the long run. Think about how much you’d save if you hadn’t bought a £2 sandwich every day for three or four years straight.
  11. This is easier said than done, but saving money before you get to university can be useful. I managed to save a little money before I went and was grateful to have it as a back-up for emergencies.

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