The (Un)official guide to student budgeting

4 mins read

Student life is tough enough without the added financial strain. Whether you have a job or you don’t, most of us stressed souls are permanently broke. (The extra money spent on Spoons pitchers and fairy lights from Flying Tiger probably don’t help).

For some reason, the high school curriculum has deemed finding the circumference of a circle more important than teaching us how to survive when we leave their rusted gates. We are all awash in a sea of confusion and constant financial paranoia. 

So yes, budgeting is a foreign art for the fresher – and let’s face it, everyone else – so I have spent the last three years painstakingly compiling a budgeting survival guide, learnt exclusively from my own mistakes:

1. Check your bank account regularly. I know this one sounds stupid but I constantly refuse to check my balance because of the crippling fear that there won’t be anything in it. This mind set is obviously counter-productive. You have to know exactly how much money you have at any given time, even if it is just to avoid embarrassing yourself in line at Tingle.

2. Take a note of your monthly  income. Again this one is fairly self-explanatory, it is impossible to begin budgeting if you don’t know how much money you intake monthly. Planning is key to financial stability (or so I’ve heard).

3. Stop shopping at Tesco. Lidl and Aldi are great supermarkets that are perfect for empty-pocketed students. The products are of  good quality and more importantly, a lot cheaper than Asda and Tesco.

4. Charity shops are your friend. Not only are charity shops built for a good cause, they are also a treasure trove for used furniture, crockery and clothing – the old lady smell washes out pretty quickly! Big brand clothing stores offer nothing that a charity shop does not, and for half the price too.

5. Walk when you can. Look, I live an hour away by foot from the campus and I know that the last thing any of us want to do is trudge all the way there in the lovely Scottish weather. Public transport is expensive however and the money adds up when you stop to do the maths. Walking is healthy and there’s less chances of catching a cold from the guy sitting next to you.

6. Check Unidays and Student Beans. Literally one of the only upsides to being a student is the discounts. Sure, in this age of social anxiety no one likes walking up to pay while clutching that rumpled student discount book but it goes a long way. Unidays and Student Apps are free to download and come with a myriad of benefits.

And there you have it, the unofficial student guide to budgeting. Hopefully someone will find this useful, myself included. It’s always nice to treat yourself now and again but make sure to keep a handle on your impulse buying: as depressing as some accommodation can be, you do not need another elephant poster from the fresher’s fayre. 

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Writer Person. Old Fashioned Nerd. Reluctant Hipster. Barefoot.

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