Sunday 20 January 2019

It's been two years since I finished university, and as much as I miss having a 4 day weekend, student nights and pub quizzes I definitely do not miss being on a tight budget because I didn't no how to manage my money (or just went out too much). I complained about being short of money at the end of the week but then would go and spend 30 dollars on a Kylie Jenner lip kit. So seeing as my sister is currently enrolled in university (and probably some of you), I thought I'd share what I'd have done differently in terms of being smarter with my money at university. 

tea with gi saving money

1. Put something away each month. 

Simple, but yet a lot of people don't do it. If you get £500 a month putting aside £20 a week won't make much of a difference but you'll have some money to fall back on if you find that you have an unexpected expense to pay (or a TV license fine to cover). Opening a savings account with your bank is simple and that way you don't have to keep all your coins in a piggy bank, unless you're old fashioned like that. 

2. Make a realistic budget. 

Being the nerd (Virgo) that I am, I actually started a spreadsheet to see what I spent most of my money on (Nando's, double vodka cranberries at Cameo, Odeon) and then started splitting my allowance into how much I should keep for bills, food, fun and emergencies. Doing this means that you won't feel guilty about going out twice a week if you know you can get your weekly shopping down to £25 or whatever. 

3. Don't be a supermarket snob. 

Speaking of weekly shopping, you don't have to shop in Waitrose just because everyone else in your flat does. During first year we had an Asda just across from halls which was perfect, but for the rest of my university experience we had Lidl and Waitrose across from each other. I never understood why people would choose to pay more for avocado's, milk and other 'staples' by shopping at Waitrose. 

4. Don't buy things just because everyone else is.

I know this can be hard, but the older you get the more you realise you don't need to buy things because they're in fashion/everybody else is getting them. When I was at uni it was Kylie lip kits, and to be honest I can name several cheaper brands that I'd go for before purchasing another one of those. Another hype now seems to be Gymshark, and as nice as their stuff are if you're a student on a budget you don't need £45 leggings when you can get equally good ones at Sports Direct for £20. 

5. Pre drink. 

Not that I am here to say you need to get wasted every time you go out, but pre drinking instead of bar hopping will save you a lot of cash on a night out. I've had so many nights where the pre drinks were actually more fun than the night out, and if you're a fan of drinking games then you should bookmark my drinking games for students post. 

6. Ask for a loan or overdraft. 

My first year of uni I did pretty well, and only used £300 of my student overdraft with Natwest. Then I went and did an unpaid placement year in London and well, was quickly changing my limit online to £2000, oops. Even though it took me 6 months to pay it back after university I was glad I had it as a backup because we all know London is expensive enough when you're getting paid, so it was a bit of a struggle. You could also look at taking out a loan of up to £5000 over the maximum of 34 months - all depending on what you need it for and when you realistically think you could pay it back. 

7. If all else fails, get a job! 

I know in Gibraltar we are very lucky that our university fees are covered by the government and we receive a grant, but if you still find you cannot afford to live the lifestyle you'd like to live or just need an extra injection of money coming in, then its time to put an apron on and start making coffees in the uni canteen. When I lived in London I signed up to an agency called RE Hospitality, where you could choose to work when you wanted to at events all over the city. I became a regular popcorn girl at Wembley on Sunday's where I could watch the footie/gigs for free after, served drinks to rockstars at the Kerrang Awards, served Twiggy a 3 course meal and made Jeremy Irvine a Moscow Mule. So all in all it was a pretty fun job.

Were you/are you good at managing your money at university? What would be your tips for managing money as a student?


* This post is written in collaboration with iLoans but all words and opinions are my own *

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