Going into university and trying to keep track of your money can definitely be a challenge at first. Nevertheless there are a lot of things you can do to save yourself from worrying about money. You firstly need to acknowledge the fact that even though London is an expensive city to live in, it is also very student-friendly and provides you with a lot of student discounts to ensure that students are able to survive in a city like this one.
One of the most common mistakes students make is to get really excited when their loans at the start of each term go through. Although it may seem like a lot of money at the time, you do have to organise it so it can last you for a long period of time instead of spending it all at once. I know this may seem like a challenge now, but after a few times of spending your money carelessly and living on beans for a month or so, you will realise that organising your money is a really good idea and will save you from a lot of stress in the future. Now, how you actually do that…
Make a list of everything coming in
It really is that simple. First, add up all your income, your loan, your income from a part-time job, your monthly allowance from your parents (hopefully) and any other source of income that you may have. It usually helps to calculate your income for a short amount of period, for example, a month would be a good amount of time, as to have a good idea of your monthly income. Now the sad part…
Make a list of everything going out
Your rent, your books, your phone contract, your groceries, etc. Try to include as much as possible (keep those receipts!) so you can have a realistic representation of everything that you owe. Obviously now, you subtract this amount from the previous amount and voilà… you now have a good estimate of your expenses per month.
Now the amount left is for you to treat yourself with (or for any other necessities that you forgot to include), but mostly for you to spend on yourself as you do need to congratulate yourself for making it through this whole process of budgeting, especially if you manage to succeed and save some money through it. Now that you have a specific amount to spend each month you have to…
Think about how you can reduce that to less
Here is where all the student discounts and deals come in handy! It usually seems so tiring to search for student discounts constantly, nevertheless sometimes it can actually be super easy. For example, one student discount that I was completely unaware of is the one at Honest Burgers, which includes two burgers and two house drinks for only £15. Also do not forget the NUS Extra card, a student card which you can purchase for only £12 per year, which includes a variety of discounts from entertainment to health and beauty.
Make sure you purchase a student Oyster card
If you commute quite frequently, getting a student Oyster card can save some serious cash as it can net you 30% off the price of adult-rate Travelcards and Bus & Tram Pass season tickets. So make sure you don’t miss out on such a great deal!
Finally, being a student and having to budget can be very exhausting, nevertheless getting into the habit of organising your money is something that you will have to do for the rest of your life, so you might as well get started now, just so you can get the hang of it! After a while you will realise how much time and stress this process will save you, and spend your energy focusing on more important things.
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