Sunday, 28 September 2014

STUDENT SOS: How to make your Student Finance go further

So tomorrow is the start of my my final academic year at university, which means I'll be receiving one of my last student finance payments ever.

In terms of financial management and budgeting, I don't want to blow my own trumpet, but I am really good at it. It is something I prioritise in my life and think is extremely important. I think if you can get into a good habit while you are young, it will become second nature in the years to come. 

Student finance is means tested, so we do all get different amounts. But this blog post is about making the most of what you have, and making it go that little bit further. Here are a few of my top tips:

1. Budget, budget, budget | A fairly boring task, but so useful! Sit down at the start of term, and write down how much you are due to be paid in this instalment. Minus rent (and an estimate of all bills if these aren't included. Not just utilities, but that £100 for your car insurance or the £50 you owe your Mum) then divide it by the number of weeks of term. Or, add on the Christmas, Easter or Summer period after that term as well if you don't have an income over the holidays. Then make sure each week that you don't go over this amount. Simple!

2. Be careful with food expenditure | Takeaways, eating out in restaurants, or even just picking up a sandwich - it all adds up. It is so much cheaper to make a packed lunch and it means I can avoid the huge queues in the food outlets on campus. Also, look out for offers in supermarkets. Even if you think it is far too much food for one person - freeze it!

3. Get a job | Make sure it suits you and your timetable, and also other commitments you may have. I myself don't want to work weekends either as I like to have the opportunity to go home. Think about what works for you before applying. 
I have a job as a Student Blogger at my university and I'm a Student Ambassador for the University, helping on Open Days. I also help the Politics Department out separately on their own Open Days. Three jobs probably sounds like a lot, but they are extremely flexible. I can blog from home of course, and the Open Days have four compulsory shifts a year, and other than that, you simply apply for whichever shifts you want to work individually. Look for jobs like this at your uni which are flexible, I absolutely love them (and they are often really well paid!)

4. Bills | One of the worst things about moving from student halls is that bills are no longer included. While I don't mind organising it all myself, it can be difficult to know how to budget for them. My top tips in terms of bills would definitely be to just be aware. Don't have four showers and a bath a day. Don't leave lights and plugs on when you leave a room. You may only be talking in terms of pence, but it all adds up if you get into the habit of leaving those things on over time. 
  • Also, before you whack the heating on full blast, try putting a jumper on or covering yourself in a blanket first. It sounds really stingy, but often it's not necessary to have the heating blasting out in every room if you are home alone and was sat in a vest in December. 
  • For us girls, LED Battery Fairy Lights can be a godsend. You can pick them up for less than £10 on eBay or in wilkos, and not only do they look amazing, but because they use batteries, it is a great way to light your room up without placing a burden on your bank balance.
  • Also, make sure you take meter readings and communicate well with your companies - they won't often chase you up for regular bills, and will gladly take all of their payments at the end of the year, when your landlord will DEFINITELY be chasing you up. It usually acquires interest and means that rather than being able to pay several payments over time, spreading the cost, you have one huge bill at the end, when most of your finance has probably gone!

These tips probably sound like common sense, but it's amazing how many of us overlook them in day to day life when we are busy with 101 other things.

I hope you found them useful - comment below if you have any useful tips. I'd love to hear from you


  1. Great post and thanks for sharing your tips :)
    I should get a job.. hehe!

    INDIELLIE | life style & photography blog

    1. Thank you very much Ellie! I know, it can be hard to find employment though to fit around being a student I think! At school because your days are 9-3 or whatever a day, you can find a weekend job to fit around it or in the evenings or whatever. With uni, I have the most random timetable ever, and like to have the option to go home at weekends because I'm such a family bird. So my jobs definitely work for me, I would recommend them to anyone! x


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