Following from my moving out post, another huge influence on your student experience is how you manage to balance your finances.
I personally think I’ve always been good at budgeting (contrary to my mum’s opinion on my shopping habits). Here are some tips to be able to afford the necessities, and the extras.
Plan- this goes for everything- rent, bills, food shops, holidays, events, gym membership etc.
Food shop- Try and refrain from picking up as-you-go from an express shop. I do a weekly shop and sometimes go to 2 or 3 places for different fresh and frozen food. I tend to cook lunches which saves me paying a fiver for something on the campus that I don’t really like or find nutritious. I also think with student discounts, eating out is very reasonable. Some places do 20-40% off throughout the week with UNiDAYS!
Private lets rent will be monthly and can come out at any point of the month, which may not go in your favour in terms of when payday falls. I would have as many as 4 bank accounts: a general current account, a current account only for flat bills (when in a shared flat it’s good to have a nominated person for this so you’re not accidentally dipping into other people’s money). Additionally, have a savings account which will do for the more weekly events that can be dipped into. Finally, an ISA savings account which is for the bigger things like holidays which should not be touched if possible. Even if you do need to go into this, you do not feel as guilty as it’s there for emergencies. Some places (halls) accept your full term rent upfront at the start of the year. This normally saves you a small % as they prefer you to do this. Obviously, this can be an extortionate amount to pay upfront. However, if you have savings or your loan already it is great to save you the hassle of keeping track of an instalment date and having to keep money aside.
Student loan. Decide if you really need a loan or if it is just out of habit as you know it is available. Even if you do not think you need it but it will come in handy, set it up for a different account (perhaps your savings) and hide the amount from your banking app so you are less tempted. Listening to friends, an overdraft can be quite a tricky situation to get out of if you get carried away too early. Read the small print and make sure you look at your limit and do not think it is a shopping fund!
I had a nightmare with jobs in the first year- two places went bankrupt which made paydays less than expected when I had already mentally spent the money. In this occasion, it’s good to have an emergency fund.
Fair enough, a gym membership will not be on someone’s priority list when moving out. However, I have ended up saving time and money planning this. I used my UNiDAYS app for Pure Gym (use my referral code when signing up: 191P114874). When I went to view my flat, Pure Gym was the closest and I had previously been a member there. They are very reasonable anyway but when I used the UNiDAYS discount, I did not pay a joining fee and I got 20% off!! I also have paid off 9 months and delayed the start date to the week I moved in. This was ideal and you will probably pay about £10-15 a month depending on the gym. This app is not only useful for gym memberships but there are plenty other discounts on there so definitely check it out.
Freshers. I would definitely recommend going along to the fair/ open day and see what is around you. Your university or college will have links with some places so it is good to know where you can get extra discounts and this can become your ‘go-to’.
Thanks again for reading!