Living on a Budget: Coping At University

| November 14, 2013

Student Union at Oklahoma State University - S...

With such a competitive job market these days, more and more people are looking to get a degree from a UK university. The only problem is that prices have increased when it comes to living expenses and fees, so it can be a bit of a tricky situation for many undergraduates. University is a whole new world, one without the guidance of parents, and one with many temptations. It can be a struggle to find the balance between being sensible, as well as making sure you enjoy your time there. Life doesn’t have to be boring on a budget; it’s all about planning ahead and taking sensible advice.

If you are heading to university, or are already there, you might find a few of these tips helpful for your financial situation:

Eat what you buy

Food shopping at university can end up being the highlight of the week. Your parents have probably been buying ingredients for your meals for years, but now you will finally have the freedom to get what you want. This can be exhilarating, but you will also find that you make a few wrong decisions along the way. Some offers can look amazing, but you could still get a better price on non-branded products. Expiry dates are also something to consider; it is a waste of money to buy items that you aren’t going to eat before they go off. Oh, and don’t forget some fruit and veggies so you can keep your immune system strong.

Make savings on essential purchases

There are some things that you definitely do need when you are at university, and this involves items such as textbooks and a laptop. Look out for second hand books on online auction sites, and even in the shops on campus. You might even be able to rely on the library so you don’t need to buy any books at all! When it comes to a laptop, search for bargain deals – there is one site called Portable Universe (click here) that advertises some models specifically for students.

Have economical nights out

Going to the student union or a club in town is an essential rite of passage at university. However these events can sometimes leave your wallet feeling quite a lot lighter, or empty. Don’t rely on your overdraft to get you through your degree as you will have to pay it back at some point, and you will be charged interest. It can sometimes be more economical to have a couple of drinks in your halls and then only pay for club entry when there is a student night on.

Don’t be a shopaholic

There will be plenty of shops that tempt you with their student savings, but think about whether you really need a new dress before you buy one. Some students will wear something new to every lecture, but they will be spending many years paying off loans and credit cards when they start their career. As a student you really don’t need an iPad or a swanky car, so leave the show-offs to themselves and keep a practical head on your shoulders.


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