This post was written by an external contributor. Jessica Carroll provides the top three ways to stay savvy with your money whilst studying.
Listen, we know it’s easy to fall into bad habits whilst studying. Expensive meal deals and coffees become the norm, online shopping becomes your favourite form of procrastination and you’ve still got to save some pennies for those socials.
On top of all that, you have your day-to-day spends to remember. Your rent, your food shopping, bills and study materials. It can be tough to keep track of everything.
So, how is it possible to stay sane, keep studying AND avoid hitting the limit on your overdraft?
Stay away from the library café
One would assume that university-run outlets would be the cheapest way to buy food. But, they rarely are. At best, they are slightly cheaper than popular coffee chains. Maybe. Not only that but they have limited options to choose from and not many nutritious items on offer.
Instead, try meal-prepping every Sunday. Or, set time aside each evening. It can seem time-consuming, but it’s actually a really great way to force yourself to take time out, relieve stress and saves you time in the long run. Making your own lunches saves money and ensures you are actually getting all the nutrients you need for your brain to work at its optimum pace!
When, it comes to coffee, bring your own! Invest in a good quality instant coffee and you’ll quickly be saving money. Most campus cafés give hot water for free. So, bring your own mug and you can top yourself up as many times as you like, without breaking the bank!
I’m the first to admit that online shopping is my favourite form of procrastination. However, purchases can quickly rack up. So why not set aside specific achievements that, upon completion, are worthy of rewarding yourself. For example, you could treat yourself for completing a number of essays or getting half way through your exams. This way, you have something to motivate you and getting through those assignments will feel even sweeter!
Additionally, when you do shop, shop wisely! As always, make sure you use your NUS card. Don’t have one of those? Sign up to UNiDAYS – it’s free and usually has all the same benefits of a NUS! Although this discounts are great for making your money go further, make sure you don’t get pulled into splurging on unnecessary purchases: do you really need that designer swimsuit, when you haven’t even booked a holiday yet?
Make money when possible
Unfortunately, university is expensive. Besides the astronomical fees for simply attending, you also have to pay for accommodation and need enough left over to enjoy your social time. All these things combined are guaranteed to stretch your student loan to the max. But, if you have the time to do it, why not get some part-time work?
Whilst it can be hard to keep a job that relies on structured shifts whilst you’re studying, there are loads of other options out there. Try signing up to a staffing agency, which typically offer flexible jobs such as bar work and brand promotion. Pick and choose when you want to do a shift and work it around your studies. Alternatively, try your SU. They usually have jobs coming up throughout the year and are understanding of the typical uni time constraints.
Money troubles can be a big burden on student life. However, it’s important that you don’t forget about other aspects of your life: your wellbeing should always come first. Don’t let study stress take over. Keep on top of your money and make time for yourself. Without a doubt, there’s nothing more conducive to success than having a happy mind.