Now that you’re in uni, independent, and free to do as you like, it’s essential you learn how to budget. Don’t fall into the trap of going into your overdraft because you’ve spent all your money on frivolous things!
Whether you overspent in Freshers and need to financially recover (we’ve all been there!), or are looking to make your money go further, here are Marian’s top tips.
2. Prioritise your spending! Rent and living costs have to come first. Try this order: rent, food, toiletries, transportation, other.
2. Create a budget, and put your money in vaults, pots or different envelopes, so you don’t overspend in one area and can keep track. Revolut and Monzo are free banking apps that offer these features. You could also have two bank accounts and transfer the necessary money needed for a night out into one account so that it’s near impossible to overspend.
3. Have a savings account/vault/pot. When creating a budget, do not divide all your money into categories for spending, save 20% of your money if possible.
4. Include every little thing in your budget. If it will be your mate’s birthday soon and you know you’re going to get her a present or go on a night out, allocate money towards it, this reduces unexpected or unplanned spending that eats into money for other things.
Aldi vodka over Smirnoff!
5. Do a weekly or biweekly check-in on your spending to see if you are living within your means. If you’re not – reel it back in!
6. Aldi and Lidl are your best friends, you get better value for your money. Don’t make the mistake of buying ‘designer’ groceries! Buy store brand when you can instead of brand names – Aldi vodka over Smirnoff!
7. Public transport should be your main means of getting around, Ubers will eat up all your money! Try to walk and use public transport.
Get a railcard if you’re a frequent train user
8. There are free hopper buses at the University of Nottingham that can make your trips to the uni and back to your accommodation easier and cheaper.
9. There are great student deals for transport. Get a railcard if you’re a frequent train user, especially as trains can be pricy! Also make sure you look into student discounts for daily or seasonal bus passes.
10. Know the bus and tram routes and networks. Tip: There is a tram stop right above the Nottingham train station!
11. Opt for the largest option when shopping for things like washing powder – they are better value for money and will save you money in the longterm.
Sign up for Unidays and Student Beans
12. Don’t get sucked into free deals, it’s all nice and dandy to get a free 30-day trial but when an unplanned £5.99 exits your account, that’s not so great! Stop your free trials early or don’t sign up for many that you don’t really need.
13. Sign up for Unidays and Student Beans to get money off at shops and restaurants. This means that when you do indulge, you’ll save some money in the process! Likewise, just ask the restaurant or shop if they have a student discount – don’t be shy about saving money.
14. Get year-round delivery. If you regularly shop on a website, getting year-round delivery will save you costs in the long run.
15. Don’t buy fresh foods in bulk, they go off quickly and you’re probably not going to be able to eat that much within the safe to eat date. You’ll just end up wasting food and your money.
16. Coaches are cheaper than trains, it may take a bit longer to get to your destination, but if you have the time, they will save you a lot of money!
17. Buying second hand is easier on your pocket and the environment. Buy thrifted clothing and textbooks – just make sure to check that the edition you’re purchasing is still relevant to your course!
Do simple things like taking your own bags when shopping
18. Hand wash small things and air dry in your room. Laundry costs can be extortionate! You can also get a drying rack to save costs on drying your clothes.
19. There is food at home! Eating out compared to cooking is very expensive, please stay away from ordering food on a regular basis. If you can’t live without your Dominos, you can budget for a takeaway, but try to limit yourself to once a month.
20. Live sustainably, this will save the environment and money. Do simple things like taking your own bags when shopping – not just for groceries, but clothes too. Taking your own insulated flask can reduce the price of your coffee or hot drink too, and it keeps it warmer for longer.
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