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Managing money at uni tips from the University of Nottingham

Friday 17 August 2018, Money

by University of Nottingham

Managing money at uni tips from the University of Nottingham

Relevant to
University of Nottingham
Students: people who are notoriously bad with money, spending it all on nights out and takeaways, with no regard for the essentials like rent, bills, and ACTUAL food.

I’m a third year music student at the University of Nottingham, and I must admit that even I have fallen into believing this stereotype. Whilst I have friends that seem to struggle a little with budgeting, I also know many students that are smashing it. Here are my top five tips on how to manage your money well at uni (and still have room for that legendary Chinese takeaway down the road).

1. Work out the essentials
Sit down with a pen and paper, and write down everything you MUST pay each month. Things like rent, bills, phone contracts, subscriptions – all the things that will be coming out of your bank account each month that could easily go unnoticed if you’re not aware of them. So, work out how much money you have coming in each month (from maintenance loans, grants, etc.), subtract all the essentials that come out your bank each month (like the ones just mentioned), and you’re left with how much money you really have to spend on the fun things.

2. Create savings accounts
I find it helpful to categorise my money. I’ve got several e-savings accounts labelled different things, one of the most helpful being ‘Rent/Bills’. Maybe you could set up one yourself (make sure it’s one that you can take money in and out of instantly!) – think of it as a digital piggy bank to put your rent money in. That way, you know you’ve got the next couple of months covered (which will help you sleep better at night).

3. Overdrafts
A lot of my friends have overdrafts, but I don’t. It’s worth thinking about whether it will work for you. If your maintenance loan is quite low and your parents can’t help you out that much, an overdraft could be helpful for those months where you’re a little tight for money. However, I know a few people who have gone literally thousands of pounds into their overdraft.  So, if you’re someone who would prefer to live a bit skint but know that you won’t have to pay anything back, perhaps stay away from those overdrafts.

4. Cash in jars
This one is a bit random, but I’ve got a glass jar in my room where I put the odd tenner in here and there, when I can afford it. I often forget it’s there, and then a few months later when my pockets are feeling a little empty I find myself with some extra cash I’d put aside – brilliant! Having physical cash in your room can come in helpful too, so it’s worth thinking about.

5. Strict about success
This may sound a little lame to start with, but hear me out. If you’re stricter than you need to be, you could end up with more spending money than you thought possible AND maybe even leave uni with some decent money behind you. For example, if you think you spend about £25 on food a week, why not try to get it down to £20? Or if you go on a night out, have a couple of drinks less than you would usually. You can still have a really good time on a budget – at the end of the day, it’s about being with friends more than what you’re actually doing. Be stricter than you think, and you’ll see success.

Ali, 3rd year music at the University of Nottingham