It has been a fair few years since I packed up my then most treasured possessions (hair straighteners, make up and DVD collection) and flew the nest to live up north as a student at the University of Central Lancashire.
Being an undergraduate student was an exciting time in my life. I have lots of very happy memories of being away from home, living with my friends and being as free as a bird with no-one to answer to. Freshers week was brilliant fun, an introduction to a life of pub crawls and sticky nights in the union. Early morning lectures weren’t much fun but the afternoons off soon made up for it. I fondly remember our Wednesday nights out at Tokyo Joes and Monday evenings in The Adelphi pub watching the football with the lads.
Unfortunately, my student loan didn’t stretch very far having to pay for my tuition fees and accommodation costs. The money I had saved during the summer months working full time became my lifeline and after dipping into it far too many times to pay for nights out and late night pizzas, the money became limited and I had a serious wake up call with nothing in the food cupboard and a lot of term left before the next student loan installment landed in my bank account.
Here’s my top tips for surviving on a student budget
- Don’t be a snob and shop savvy at supermarkets. Avoid the corner shops as they are highly convenient but pricey.
- Buy in bulk, pasta can go a long way and is hugely versatile
- Use your NUS student discount card everywhere and save yourself some money
- Similarly, keep discount vouchers in your purse so you’ll always have them to hand
- Accept food parcels from your Grandparents / Aunties and Uncles / Neighbours who sent random boxes full of essentials including tomato puree, rice and stock cubes. You never know when you’ll need them.
- Get yourself a part-time job as early into the term as possible to top up the income.
- Walk everywhere, it’ll save bus fare and keep you fit
- Get a student friendly bank account (take a look here at the TSB student accounts) as they’ll often give you an interest-free overdraft which might come in handy on your Mom’s birthday (true story!)
- Enjoy yourself but be realistic. Student life is for living so make the money last so your memories do.
For more top tips check out the Savvy Students Guide on how to make your money last longer during your student years and enjoy yourself and your vodka!
Disclaimer: This post is in conjunction with TSB