Managing your spending at university can seem like a daunting prospect. Especially, if you have spent most of your life being financially dependent on your parents/carers. I’ll be sharing some useful tips that have really helped me save money whilst at university, and prevented me from going into further debt.
Simple ways to save money
- Budget budget budget! Budgeting will become your best friend at university. Give yourself a weekly allowance for food, alcohol, transportation, clothes… etc. Try your best to avoid spending more than what you planned. This will hopefully prevent wild nights out ending up with you spending £50 on drinks at the club, or any late-night splurges on the online sales.
- Make yourself packed lunches on busy days. If you have a hectic day of lectures, maybe spare 5 minutes the night before to make yourself a sandwich. This means that you won’t have to buy food when you are out.
- Cooking!!! You don’t realise how much money you can save just by cooking meals from the basic ingredients rather than getting a takeaway or even a ready meal. Learning simple and easy meals before you come to university can be an easy way to cut down on your spending.
- Be strict with your spending habits. It might seem hard initially, but try and evaluate your purchases. Do you really need to buy that jumper, or is it going to be worn once and then sit in your wardrobe?
- Try not to use retail therapy as a coping mechanism. It might seem tempting to splurge on Asos shoes, or buy a new wardrobe when you are feeling stressed. Your bank account wont thank you in the long term. Try to find other ways to help manage stress and your negative emotions. Maybe watch a film or take a walk in the fresh air. Remember that the university has so much support, both pastorally and academically. If you are ever in need of help, advice or just a friendly chat – you can always talk to your academic supervisor or make an appointment for a chat at the Student Hub.
Doing your food shop
Most students may not be used to shopping for food on their own. It can be quite stressful if you’re not sure what sort of things you need each week. But once you’ve established some basic meals and the staples that you tend to have regularly, supermarket shopping gets so much easier.
My tips for food shopping:
- Do one big shop once a week
Taking the time to do one big shop every week is so beneficial. It saves you time as you don’t have to keep going back and forth to the shops whenever you run out of something. You also avoid the tendency of picking up things that look may appealing, but you don’t actually need.
- Write a shopping list before you go
This has honestly helped me so much. For someone who finds the whole supermarket shopping experience stressful, this has made my life so much easier. It means that I am in and out of the shop in a flash. You are also less likely to forget something and have to come back later in the week.
- Use Lidl and Aldi
They are both easy to get to from campus and will save you so much money! Try and avoid doing any big shops at the Nisa on campus, as it tends to be quite as expensive. It is really worth taking the small bus trip to the cheaper supermarkets. You’ll then have more money to spend on the things you enjoy.
- Plan your meals in advance
Planning out your meals for the week can be super helpful. Especially for the times where you may be in a rush, or you have lectures until late. It also means you won’t be stuck having beans on toast for 4 nights straight!
Just remember – when coming to university, no one is going to be perfect at managing their finances. It’s all about doing what you can to save money and keep within your spending limits. Adult life is full of hurdles, so don’t be too hard on yourself if things don’t go to plan. Sometimes you make mistakes, spend too much or buy stupid things. But it’s all about adapting and learning better ways to ensure that you never end up with nothing in your bank account!