When people move to university many are overwhelmed with the sudden idea of living independently. I know I was, but now I've in halls and a student house, I feel a lot less overwhelmed by independence. You need not worry, providing you've got your head screwed on and you know how to use a calculator, with the help of some thrifty advice, you'll be well on your way to having some left over pennies (and hopefully some £1's too) at the end of each semester. So here's some things to remember when you get your loan:
Your loan isn't free
It's called a loan for a reason. Whilst the money we've been given is so huge that the chances of us paying it back before we die are slim, it's no excuse to waste it on clothes, takeaways and drunken expenses. Living independently means, quite vitally, that you actually need to live. Work out a weekly budget and do everything in your power to stick to it. And remember not to spend it all in the first few weeks!
Don't buy what you wouldn't have bought before uni
I fell for this. Because I don't come from a wealthy family I genuinely hadn't owned a lot of the clothing brands many students wear, I hadn't even heard of Hollister, Abercrombie & Fitch and many other brands (peasant, right?). If you couldn't afford it before university, keep that mentality, there's better things to spend your money on. Though, if you fall on the other end of the spectrum...
Don't buy what you would have bought before uni
If you're a lover of more high end brands, you may have to put your love affair on hold. It may be nice to continue buying your expensive clothes, shoes and accessories but if you're a student on a budget it really isn't feasible. If you just can't tear yourself away from your costly shopping sprees, I'd advise getting a job to cushion your bank balance.
Leave your debit card at home
When you go for a night out the worst possible thing you can do in terms of money is take your debit card with you. Instead, make an effort to get money out in the day. Around Keele you can take a tenner out with you and you can have a good night. Pre-drink hard whilst everyone's sharing their drinks and you'll find you won't need much when you reach the union or town. Waking up with a hangover is bad enough, waking up and not remembering the £50 you spent is even worse.
Learn to cook
I can't think of how many times I've said this and read it on every piece of advice given to students. Learning to cook is honestly so much cheaper than relying on takeaways or eating out.
Don't travel home too often
If you live near by and it costs mere pennies to pop back home, that isn't such an issue, but if you're from further away it's not worth spending the money on trains and buses to say a quick hello to family and friends. It may be nice, but if you do it too often you'll soon notice chunks of money going down the drain.
Be a savvy food shopper
I can help you with this one, click here.
Try cut costs everywhere you possibly can
For tips on how to save £1, click here.
Most importantly, stay in control
The moment you can't keep up with your spending habits is the moment you've lost control. It may sound boring to note down every purchase you make, or hold back receipts to keep up with your spending, but it'll seriously help you save money. If you keep track of how much is going out - and as a student a lot more goes out than in (I feel this can relate to so much more than money...) - it's the easiest way to stay in control of those pesky pennies.
If you have any other tips on how to save money or you'd like any more advice, feel free to comment below or drop me an email - firstname.lastname@example.org.