University is a great time to test your budgeting skills and discover whether you are more likely to be a financial connoisseur in your future or a small fish in a large pool of debt. To make sure that doesn’t happen, here are a few tips for your budgeting survival.
But first – a run-down of the main university expenses
Generally speaking, the main proportions of student budgets go towards rent, food expenses, phone contract, gym membership and of course social life. Some students also tend to spend money on textbooks, whereas others loan their textbooks out from the University library. As a fan of paperback copies, I bought my own textbooks in my first year and then sold them on to Freshers’ once I started my second year. However, this year I have made extensive use of the library resources and recommended online readings instead of paying a large amount of money upfront for my textbooks, which has proven to be greatly helpful.
My personal monthly expenses include:
- £380 on rent
- £10 on my phone contract
- £35 on gym membership
- Approximately £35 per week for food
- Approximately £30 per week for social activities
- £5.99 for my Spotify contract (with a student discount!)
My food expenses fluctuate depending on how often I eat lunch on campus as well as how many coffees I have in-between lectures (because the trend of “do you want to grab a coffee together and work” has become a significant budget killer). To counteract this, you can pack lunches to eat on campus and drink water instead of coffee, although that may not be as fun. As per the social activities, this depends on how often you go out – club entry is generally £5 and if you’re looking for something a bit different like a trip to the Cinema, student tickets are approximately £10.
**a little hint: when you purchase a cinema ticket at the Odeon you sometimes get a discount off your next trip to the movies, which is printed out on one of your receipts – keep an eye out for this as sometimes you get 40% off!
Hunting down those bargains…
If you are looking for a fun and less costly place to eat and socialise with friends then I’d recommend the following deals in Bath:
- £10 for a pizza and pint of cider from Bath Pizza Co. in Green Park Station
- 25% off at Las Iguanas from Sunday - Thursday
- At Mission Burrito students get 30% discount on Wednesdays
- Yo Sushi, get a selection of leftover sushi for only £3.50 after 8:30pm on weekdays
If you are in the need of food on the go and wish to keep to a strict budget then there are various options such as:
In the city
- The baguette shop on the High Street next to Pret A Manger, which sells whole Baguettes for only £2
- Have a look at the ‘reduced price’ food section in your local Sainsbury’s as they often have great on-the-go meal items
- The Students Union have daily meal specials after 5pm such as the wrap and pint for £3.75 and burger and pint for £5
- The Lime Tree Salad bar offers you a variety of salad, pasta and couscous meals to combine in one bowl for only £2.50
- The ‘Leave No Trace’ campaign in on-campus eateries is a fun way to get a discount off your food and drinks and gain stamps towards a free meal – it only requires you to bring your own containers and coffee mugs
So, taking all these wonderful deals into account, my top 5 tips for budgeting are:
- Pack lunches every now and then to avoid high food expenses
- Ask if there is a student discount whenever you purchase something
- Keep stamp cards to various coffee houses as they may get you a free one eventually
- If you are going clubbing, speak to student club reps to get you on the guest list (this includes a small discount off ticket prices… I myself am a Klass, MNB and Forever Fridays Rep)
- Instead of going out for dinner with your friends, which can be expensive, why not have a fun group dinner at home where you can all cook together.
Thanks for reading this post, I hope it gives you a bit more insight into a student approach to budgeting while at University. Don’t hesitate to comment on the post if you have any questions!