How To Save Money At Uni



As an Accounting and Business student, its fair to say I think a lot about money – how much I have and how much (more) I want to have.  These are some of the ways I ensure I’m always in the black and I am financially stress free…


The Basics

Firstly at the beginning of the academic year, or term, sit down with a pen and paper and do some basic calculations. In simple terms it’s all about: Money in vs. Money out. ‘Money in’ is simple: loan + job + cash from parents. For me, I like to keep my ‘money out’ as strictly fixed costs: Rent + gym. Thus giving me a spending total for the term/year. I then divide this by the number of weeks I will be at university and create a weekly budget.  At this point, you can perform a quick sense check – does this amount seem too much/too little? If this weekly budget is greater than what you usually spend/want to spend (lucky you!) – shave a little off and put that aside as ‘savings’. If you are struggling to work out just how you can live on the weekly amount, re-evaluate your ‘money in’: Maybe look into getting a job, or asking your parents for a little support.

Budgeting can seem difficult, it takes some self control and discipline – but there’s one simple thing that has made is very easy for me.


Weekly Budget

I have two bank accounts – my ‘main account’ and my ‘weekly account’. All ‘Money in’ goes into the ‘main account’, and a direct debit set up between the two accounts transfers my weekly budget (calculated above) into my ‘weekly account’ for spending. Thus I never spend from my ‘main account’ and I am always limited to spending within my weekly budget by spending out of my ‘weekly account’. This ensures I never spend above my weekly budget, and enables me to keep tabs to my spending throughout the week and term.


Making Cuts

Living as a student can seem challenging as our ‘money in’ is limited (to a loan… which essentially is debt). However, we can manage our finances through controlling ‘money out’/spending. It is good to have an idea of how much money you spend, for example how much your weekly food shop costs, how much you spend on nights out, and travel, and shopping, and eating out… and everything else there is to spend money on! For many, food shopping and going out are the two most expensive outgoings. In terms of cutting the groceries bill: I have found the most efficient way to reduce food waste and impulse buys is through planning meals and writing a shopping list when off to the supermarket/online shop. This limits your spending to what you actually need, which may turn out to be a lot less than what you thought you needed!


UROP Information Session


I recently attended the first of this year’s UROP Information Sessions run by the Careers Service.

UROP stands for Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme and is an opportunity to do a 6-week paid research internship here on campus this summer.

I knew a little about the UROP programme before I attended the session, from information available online and from talking to a friend who did a UROP internship last summer.  I am seriously considering doing either an MSc or a PhD after my Undergraduate degree and feel this is an ideal opportunity to gain valuable experience doing research and, basically, to see if it is the sort of thing I would enjoy.

The bulk of this year’s opportunities were made available on Monday 19th February from a wide range of schools and departments, with approximately 50 internships available in total.  Unfortunately, there are none from my department, Mathematics, this year so I felt that I probably wasn’t going to get much out of the session.

However, I came away with a number of positives:

  • First and foremost a free pen, quite a nice free pen to be honest.
  • Advice that you are not limited to applying for placements solely within your own department or school. You can apply for any for which you have the necessary skills and/or experience.
  • There is a lot of support available before and during the placement from the Careers team.
  • A 3rd year student gave a short presentation and answered questions about the UROP project that she did last summer.
  • You get one hour for your Red Award by attending.
  • And that if successful in getting a UROP internship, the hours that you work also count towards your Red Award

The session reaffirmed what I understood about the UROP Scheme beforehand.  It is an opportunity to work for 6 weeks on a research project alongside an academic, you will gain valuable research experience that will look great on your CV and the academic gets support for 6 weeks.   All internships pay a £1,320 tax-free bursary, and there are a range of opportunities available across most schools and departments; check out the links below.  The application closing date for the majority of the roles is 29th March.

If you think a summer research internship may be the right thing for you, then the Careers Service are running several more of the information sessions, which can be booked through MyJobsOnline.

Details about the programme can be found here on the UROP home page.

And details about this year’s opportunities can be found via the following link





Reflections on International Women’s Day


“In my eyes Women’s day shines a light on the success of women and the continued need for women to pursue their ambitions, it also helps us to encourage and promote each other’s voices.”

“I think International Women’s day is great because it creates a buzz online about equality and women’s rights. I love to read about what it means to other people on social media and news articles. It gets people talking, researching and writing making it a fantastic way to promote issues surrounding gender equality.”

“Women’s day represents the continuous strides made towards the equality of genders. I am proud to be alive at a time where so much has been done to achieve equal rights and, I am glad to be in a position from which I can continue to support this progression.”

“I think it’s important to celebrate how women’s rights have developed throughout history, and to continue to develop today, in order to strengthen women’s position in society! I think international women’s day is vital in raising awareness of the gender gap and discuss ways for creating greater gender parity.”

“Women’s Day is really important to me because it celebrates the work that people around the world have done to further women’s rights and make the world a better and more equal place.”

“Women are half of the human population, they are mothers, sisters, daughters and friends. They are assets in countless ways to all our lives. So having a day to celebrate women is simply brilliant, and a much needed way of showing appreciation to women!”

“I believe Women’s day is an acknowledgment of importance of gender equality and all the people that have campaigned and fought for women’s rights over the course of history. It is also a vital acknowledgement of the work that that still needs to be done globally to achieve equality.”

Why do you think International Women’s Day is important?

Mother’s Day 2018


Mother’s Day in the UK this year is Sunday 11th March, which is fast approaching! Don’t worry if you haven’t thought of what to do or get yet as I have a few ideas here for you, no matter what your budget is.

The origin of Mother’s Day in the UK is from Christianity, where traditionally, Christians would visit their ‘mother church’ on this day. This inevitably became an event where families reunited when children who were working away from home returned to visit their mother church. This reunion of the family and the occasion of children spending time with their mothers has changed the concept of Mother’s Day in the UK over time, as it is now a universal celebration of Mothers across the country that everyone enjoys.

If you are stuck for ideas of how to celebrate Mother’s Day, whether you are together or apart, I have some great ideas for you below:

  1. Make a card – homemade items are a great way to show that you care, and all you need is some paper and few coloured pens to get creative 
  2. Flowers – you could pick up flowers at your local supermarket or order from a flower delivery store where you can have them delivered straight to her door. M&S flower delivery have some great options, as does Interflora
  3. Cooking – another homemade gift idea is to bake a cake or sweet treat that you know your Mum likes, or you could even offer to cook her dinner. This can be something you do for her, or you can enjoy doing together
  4. Card and a candle – this idea is a classic Mother’s Day gift that won’t break the bank. You can get large candles from Ikea for £1.75. If you want to spend a bit more, John Lewis have an excellent range of luxury candles
  5. Perfume – This again is one that you can work to your own budget and can be extra special as it is personal. Boots have a sale on some perfumes for Mother’s Day so see if your Mum’s favourite is one of the selected lines reduced.
  6. Take her out somewhere – Another favourite gift for many on Mother’s Day is taking their Mum out for coffee, brunch or lunch. Many restaurants have a special Mother’s Day Menu and deals, for example, Pizza Express restaurants are doing 3 courses and glass of prosecco for £17.95 per person. Remember to book a table if you choose to take your Mum out to a restaurant to avoid disappointment.

This year for Mother’s Day I am taking the train home to see my Mum and I am going to buy her favourite flowers. Happy Mother’s Day!

How To Stay Motivated For The Rest Of The Year


Well you’re just over half way through your academic year! Regardless of what year you’re in there will be deadlines looming and the realization of exam revision becoming more apparent.

Below are a few of my tips for helping to motivate you!

Set Small Goals:

Your overall goal might be to get to the end of the year in one piece or to graduate. That is all well and good, but that goal is too general to keep you motivated. You might need more of a short-term goal.

It’s great to create SMART goals- this is specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bound. It can be useful to create small goals which are SMART to identify if they are manageable and to recognize when we have achieved. It is important to look back at the goal to check it is achievable in the time frame you have set it and how you are going to measure it.

An example is:

  • I want to write 2,000 words of my 3,000 word essay by March 6th, as the due day is March 23rd.

You could break this down further by stating:

  • You want to write approximately 500 words a week, and you would know you have achieved this by checking the word count.

Organise fun activities to look forward to:

Look at your diary, work out when your deadlines are and when would be best to plan in some fun activities that you actually do and not get set stressed doing. It could be a proper night out with your house or course mates or even planning a holiday. No fun activity is too small; it could be as simple as playing more Xbox or having a pamper sesh.

Get some sleep:

Quite simply if you are staying up until 2am and going out every night, watching tv at all hours of the morning or just procrastinating, this is not going to help your motivation. When you are tired you are less motivated, likewise when you lack motivation you often feel more leads to you lounging around, ultimately feeling tired. Vicious Cycle!

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not easy to get sleep when you have to balance work and a social life, but the more sleep you get the more motivated you will feel in every aspect of your life. Some tips are:

  • Take naps, 40 mins max.
  • Get into a routine, for example, wake up at 8:30am go to bed at 11:30am.
  • Don’t pull all nighters; they impact your body dreadfully.
  • Try and watch your caffeine intake, especially before bed.

Take a look at the University Life Tools Programme, they run sessions on some of these common problems and can provide you with some tools and techniques in order to make the most of your time.

Surround yourself with motivating people:

This could be anyone including your family, home friends, house, team and course mates.

All these people are there to support you and actually you will be in a good place if you are all supporting each other motivating each other to get to the end.

On the flipside, try and be aware of those people who stress you out and make you feel overwhelmed with everything you have to do.

Surrounding yourself with a study group would be my best tip because it means you can all keep each other motivated, combining socializing and seeing your mates.

Lastly Keep going, you totally have this. Keep moving forward, and remind yourself of the rewards at the end.

What are your RUSU officers up to?


In RUSU, there are five full-time officers, who work on their manifestos to support students at the university. Here are just a few of the things they’ve been working on:

Testing Tuesdays

This was introduced since last term offering free confidential sexual health testing within the RUSU building’s corridor. There will be a stand just outside Café Mondial and Mojo’s available on the first Tuesday of every month between 4-6pm providing this service. The last upcoming session is on the 6th March 2018. More information here.

Free Printing

From last term, two printers have been placed in The Study with free access and printing for students. You only need to download the Printt app and make an account then use it for all your printing needs by uploading your files on it to print via bluetooth.

Awards Ball

There are two celebratory evenings taking place in RUSU to give out awards for nominated societies, student media and volunteering on the 16th April and sports on the 17th April. Tickets are now available to purchase, which include dinner and some drinks for the event. More information here.

International Student Food Project

This involves enhancing the student food experience by getting views and help from students and societies to create a food induction toolkit with practical advice, recipes and resources to provide the best know-hows on various aspects to food practices such as shopping, cooking etc.

Puppy day

There was a scheduled puppy day that was unfortunately due to unforeseen circumstances which by the provider who could not bring in all the puppies onto the university campus. But there are plans for another larger scale puppy day to happen around the end of term for students to participate in.

The Big White Wall

A 24/7 online mental health and wellbeing service to support students is being implemented at Reading University. The planned deadline is the 2nd March 2018, where it should be available for access to everyone by then. It is completely anonymous and allows you to connect with others. You can gain advice and resources with clinically trained staff at hand to help you.