One thing you’ll have to learn whilst at university is how to manage your money well. It’ll mean you don’t have to go running to Mum or Dad and you’ll learn how to become self-sufficient to a certain extent. So here I am to share with you how I’ve been managing my money!
To start, don’t throw away all your money during freshers or your first few weeks of uni. A lot of students spend a lot when the term first starts and end up scrimping until the next loan instalment comes in. So plan ahead and allocate more money for when you first start – your first food shop will cost a lot as you’ll need to get all your basics in, and you might also need to buy anything you forgot to get over summer.
At the beginning of the year I’d suggest you calculate how much money you’ll have each week, so you need to split your yearly student loan by how many weeks you need that money to last (whether that’s just for term time or for the whole year including the holidays). Then you’ll have a rough amount of how much you can spend each week without having to get a job or ask for help from family. Each week I made a list (albeit a rough one) of what I was spending so that I knew if I was under or over my weekly budget.
It’s not a necessity to get a job whilst you study but I’d recommend getting a casual job (here’s where zero hour contracts come in handy) that will work around assignments, exams and the holidays if you want to go home. There are plenty of hotels, pubs, restaurants and shops regularly looking for staff in Cardiff. If you manage to get yourself a zero hour contract you should be able to work when you want to a certain extent. The extra money is super handy and it’ll get you out and about more often whilst minimising the time you have to spend it – a win, win situation!
Apart from that you just need to make good choices! Shop in cheaper places (Lidl I love you), don’t buy food that will go to waste, take lunch with you to uni instead of handing over your student loan to Starbucks (or Costa – we’ve got both on campus!), weigh up whether that takeaway is really worth it… you get the drift.
Looking for more tips? Check out our Fresher’s Guides to shopping, lectures, living in halls and more. You can also get more advice on managing your money from our Student Finance and Welfare Advisory Service.