National Student Money Week
National Student Money week is a campaign by NASMA that is running from the 3rd– 7th of February 2020 and it aims to encourage students to make better choices with their money.
I, like many students, struggle with being able to manage a budget, assignments, part time jobs and everything else that comes with university life. Over my three years I have come up with a few ways that have really helped me to manage my money better.
I learnt the importance of meal planning the hard way. A month into first year and I had full cupboards of ingredients and no idea what to do with them. I now have a list of around 20 cheap and easy meals that I rotate to keep it interesting.
Along with my lesson on meal planning I learnt how hard it was to cook for just one person. Almost every recipe is designed for 2 or more people and so are all the ingredients that come with them. What I now do (which doesn’t suit everyone) is eat every meal twice which can get a bit boring but it means you only need to cook every other day which is convenient if you have a busy schedule.
Probably the most helpful thing I ever discovered was having two different bank cards, I opted for MONZO as my second card but there are many different options depending on your needs. With co-op meal deals, online shopping, The Oracle and days and nights out those small spends can really add up. I decided to set myself a limit on MONZO for all my non-essential purchases each week (not my main food shop or academic books). This has really helped me to limit my spending but also to see where most of my money is going.
I couldn’t talk about budgeting without touching on part-time jobs. My schedule doesn’t really allow for a set-day job which is why campus jobs is perfect for me. The interviews are really relaxed, you can pick what you want to do and each job is normally only a few days in total. You can also have multiple jobs going at the same time without them getting in the way of your studies. You won’t find a job that is more understanding of your university commitments than campus jobs.
Budgeting isn’t easy and there will always be time when it doesn’t quite go to plan. If I had just one top tip it would be to try and be aware of what you are spending. It’s important to know what your absolute limits are how you can cut back if you need to.
Written by Amelia Dinsdale