Starting university is a big move, and you may have questions about money. ARU psychology student Lily shares her top five tips for managing your money as a student.
When deciding whether to move to university, money is a topic at the forefront of everyone’s mind.
Especially with the cost-of-living crisis, money as a new student can be a worry, and feel like a huge responsibility moving away from family life. But students do manage, and it is possible for everyone to manage their money in the correct way for them.
I’m Lily, a 1st-year Psychology student at ARU in Cambridge. In this article, I want to give five top tips on how you can manage your money as a student and show you that money does not have to get in the way of you enjoying your university experience.
Set a budget for each month
Being organised with your money is a huge factor into how you can track your spending. Being able to track what comes in and out of your account each month, including phone bills, music app subscriptions, food shops, is all-important to keep in check. As well as this, being appropriate with how you spend your money, for example spending £20 a week on food and bulk-make meals for the week or put in the freezer for later meals. Little tips like this can seriously make a difference on your spending habits.
An example on how you can keep track is an Excel spreadsheet. You can take it week by week in how much you are going to spend, and how much you could potentially be saving to either put into a savings account or go towards an evening out to treat yourself.
Another example is budgeting apps which help you set future goals into how much you wish to save and lets you see what you are spending your money on. Having something physically in front of you to give you an overview of the month will let you make minor or major changes to adapt your spending habits for the months after.
Get a part-time job
Getting a part-time job is another way into saving and gaining money. This can allow you to have that extra money on top of your student finance you are entitled to, as well as give you something extra to carry out apart from uni work. It is important that uni work is your priority, but also having something extra on the side to give yourself a break is equally important.
However, it is important for your job to be flexible around your studies. Some examples are hospitality jobs, which I personally work in and really enjoy. As well as this bigger chain companies have student contracts to allow you to work around your studies.
Check the Careers and employability page for more information about getting part-time work as a student at ARU.
Seek student discounts and benefits
There are huge amounts of discounts out there for university students. Signing up for discount websites such as Unidays or student beans can let you seek discounts across all categories from the gym to clothing. As well as this, having things such as travel discounts for students such as travel cards and bus passes can help you save huge amounts.
Open a student bank account
A student bank entails you to have a separate bank account from your personal bank account. Therefore, you can separate income such as your maintenance loan from the government and your income from a job you may have. It also entails you to an interest-free overdraft, so you don’t have to stress about not having enough money at university, especially considering the recent cost of living crisis.
Have fun but also be smart about your spending
Overall, uni should be fun! You should allow yourself to go out and party, have lunch with a friend you haven’t seen in ages or treat yourself to a coffee. You don’t have to restrict yourself from doing all these things, but you also need to be able to balance that out with saving and following all the above points.
I hope these tips have been helpful and put your minds at ease about money as I know it is a huge worry among people looking to go to university. As an overall point, I think the main aim is to have a balance between saving and letting loose because, at the end of the day, you’re never going to get these three years back – so have fun!
By Lily Bayford
BSc (Hons) Psychology student
More tips from our students
Our students have made some short video guides to managing your money at uni.
Questions about student finance?
Our Money Advice Service can tell you more about funding, benefits, managing your money and lots of other finance-related issues. Email us on [email protected].
You can also check our student finance pages, or come along to an Open Day where we offer talks about finance.