Budgeting is a big part of university that no one really wants to talk about.
As you may know, you get a student maintenance loan, the loan is to help you live as a student. The amount you get is based on your household income, the more income the less money you receive. This money needs to be spent on:
- House maintenance (toilet roll, toothpaste, bleach)
- Course costs (books, printing and trips)
Let alone the extras such as travel (to and from home), gifts (Christmas and family birthdays) and other things that we buy on a day to day basis. So, there is a lot you need buy with not a lot of money. Personally after I pay my rent I don’t have much of my loan left. With a low budget you have to be very careful with your money, don’t go wasting it on things you don’t really need. Granted it’s nice to have new things and some new clothes every now and then but find good deals and don’t do it too often.
You should work out how much you have left after the rent goes out, divide it by the amount of weeks of the semester, this is a rough budget for the week. However every week is different thats just the life.
Food: Buy in bulk with housemates when you can. Cook for each other and don’t let food go out of date or to waste. Pasta is cheap to buy and you can do a lot with it so buy a big bag. Don’t eat too many takeaways they are very expensive compared to making the food yourself. If you made a curry it would probably cost about £2 buying it will cost at least £10 so you could have had nearly a weeks worth of dinner for the same price.
House maintenance: Toilet roll is surprisingly expensive, buy this in bulk with your house mates as it makes it cheaper per roll. Other things like shower gel and toothpaste are things we don’t think about but are something you need to consider budgeting for.
Course costs: This varies from course to course but I have to print and make a lot of things so can spend up-to £100 on one project dependant if I need a specialised print or materials.
I would have struggled a lot if i relied on my loan to survive so got a job, well a few actually. There are lots of part time jobs available at universities, get a job! It helps with your money situation, gives you good experience and you can meet some great people at work. (see my previous blog ‘Getting a Job at University‘)