Student life is synonymous with money, in that it’s often a struggle. From plumping for Asda’s Smart Price Noodles, to layering up with multiple jumpers to save on the heating bill, saving money is all part of studying for a degree.
Financial Planning Week, from the 21st to 27th November and run by the Institute of Financial Planning (IFP), is organised to raise awareness for the importance of taking care of your funds. Students are not the only members of society who need help with dealing with money, and it’s important that everyone is able to make the most of what they have.
With just a few changes, the next few years at university can seem a little less daunting without having to scrape by on the absolute minimum every week. There are plenty of ways to keep as far out of the red as possible without changing your lifestyle too much:
- BUDGET: It might seem really obvious, but it’s surprising how easy it is to ignore that shopping list once you set foot into the Co-Op, not to mention the temptations lurking in Waitrose. Try to stick to your shopping list as much as possible, and to make it a little less difficult allow yourself a treat a week. And it doesn’t have to stop with the weekly food shop; budget for your nights out – If you’re used to spending £20 a night, try to make it to £10.
- Pay your rent first: If your rent comes out monthly, calculate how much you’ll need for it from your loan, and make a note of what you have left unless the next one comes through. That’s what you have to spend on everything else, and try your very best not to exceed it. If you really want to, work out what that leaves you with weekly, and go from there!
- Shop around: Don’t settle for the offers in one supermarket. If the price of cereal in one shop seems a little steep, try elsewhere. Portswood is home to countless mini supermarkets and though it might take a little longer, it’ll be worth the few pounds you’ll save. Greengrocers are far cheaper for your fruit and vegetables too.
- Don’t fall for FOMO: FOMO, or Fear Of Missing Out, was explored in an article earlier this year (see HERE), and it can make your bank account suffer. The idea of missing out on a night out with some friends might not sound appealing but it doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Make the most of some time to yourself, or sort something out with your housemates, and save some cash in the process.
- Banish those Brands: If you’re anything like me, you come out in a cold sweat when somebody suggests beans that aren’t Heinz, or Cornflakes that might not be made by Kelloggs. Though it might not sound as nice, there really isn’t much of a difference, and it’s amazing how much you can save.
- Waste not Want Not: this goes for everything. Save water by having a mass washing-up session with your housemates, make sure the washing machine is full when you put a load in, and don’t fall asleep in the shower the morning after a heavy night out; all the more vital now that water meters are being installed around Southampton (more water tips HERE). Layer up this winter to save on heating (also seen HERE) and throw away as little food as possible by using everything you have and taking advantage of freezable goods.
- Do It Yourself: Whip up a packed lunch, take your own coffee to your lectures in a travel mug, or boycott those takeaways and cook from scratch. Why rely on others when you could easily do it by yourself?
- E-bay It: Do you hardly wear half your wardrobe? Has your DVD collection been made redundant by downloads? Earn some cash by selling unwanted items, giving you more to spend on the essentials.
- Cash not card: Having a limited amount of money to hand will help you spend less. Granted, having your card to hand is beneficial, but the temptation to overspend is greater if you have no physical boundary. On a night out, take a certain amount of cash out of the bank and that will stop you from buying too many drinks ‘because you can’. Just make sure you have enough to get safely home.
- Discounts are your new best friend: Whether it’s using your student card when shopping, hitting the sales, or downloading vouchers from websites, it pays to find out if offers are available before buying anything or having a meal out.
For more information in Financial Planning Week, visit: