Student Blog

Don’t let poverty ruin your summer term

Don't let poverty ruin your summer term

Here’s how to balance your student budget

With the start of summer term comes a few things: warmer weather, exams and, most importantly, the final student loan instalment.

For many of us, however, no sooner does the money go in, than it rushes out on rent and bills (and overdraft repayments and summer plans, but we won’t dwell on that).

The result is a limited budget to work with for the rest of term. While our parents might see living off half a tin of beans as character building, it would be nice to afford at least a bit of bread to go with it.

In an effort to make the end of the academic year less poverty and more party, here’s our guide to managing your funds.

The easy bit

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Potato balancing: obviously a visual metaphor, but if you want to try this at home, send us the pictures!

As simple as it sounds, a lot of us probably overlook the first fundamental step of money management: setting a budget.

The simplest way to work out a rough weekly budget is to divide the money you have by the weeks you have to spend it. This is a great way to set a limit while retaining a level of flexibility.

You can spend each week’s money on whatever you want and can borrow money from other weeks’ budgets if need be.

When you do this, remember to include money you already know will be coming in and out of the starting amount, such as bills and earnings.

Also, don’t forget to include the holiday weeks, although you might need a smaller budget for these if you’ll be moving in with your parents and their lovely full fridge.

The not so easy part

Now for the hard part, sticking to that budget!

A great way to start is by downloading a money management app which allows you to set budgets and track your spending.

There are a variety on offer for both iOS and Android devices, many of which are free with the offer of in-app purchases.

Two of my favourites include Wally and Mint, but it’s worth giving a few a try to find which best suits you. With one of these downloaded on your phone, there’s no excuse to lose track of those little spontaneous purchases, which quickly add up.

Be savvy

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Careful planning can save you £££ which you can then use as a fan.

Speaking of which, being savvy with your everyday spending is the best way to save money for bigger, more self-indulgent purchases. There are a few small changes you can make to save money without noticing a drastic difference to your lifestyle…

When purchasing train tickets head over to Ticketclever.com or Trainsplit.com to make sure you’re getting the best possible price. These clever tools will search for cheaper alternatives to your train journey, considering time, speed, and money saved by splitting your journey.

Ticketclever.com claims that customers saved on average 58%, so it’s certainly worth a try.

At the supermarket, look out for when your favourite brands are on offer. Pizzas and ice cream will keep for a long time in the freezer, so stock up to maximise on deals.

If you prefer a slightly healthier diet, your supermarket may have a saver section selling seasonal fruit and veg at a reduced price. Planning your meals around these products in this section may seem like hard work but the savings will be worth it.

Make money

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First step of plan: write name of plan on a chalkboard.

If you’re still struggling to make your money stretch, the simple solution is to get more money in!

Perhaps easier said than done, but this doesn’t necessarily mean compromising your work life balance. Organising your wardrobe and selling off old clothes via eBay or Depop will not only bring you some extra cash but should free up some space in your wardrobe that it would just be rude not to fill.

Alternatively, if you enjoy the odd survey, register to YouGov. The opinion database will send you short surveys every few days for which you’ll receive 50 points. Then, when you’ve reached 5000 points you’ll receive £50, all from the comfort of your sofa.

Tracking your money and managing your spending with these simple changes will help make sure your student loan lasts and give you a bit more money to spend on the finer things in life. Branded beans with seeded bread anyone?

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