Students shopping in Hepworths Arcade, Hull city centre

Making Money Go Further

hayley-elahee

Hayley Elahee

BSc Computer Science

Hey everyone! I’m Hayley, and I'm second-year Computer Science student at the University of Hull.

I live on campus, and have learned the hard truth of being a 'broke student' over the last few years. I’ve tried all the top tips, learned all the best techniques and have finally worked out a group of practices that have allowed me to truly stretch my pound as far as it can go.

And you, lucky reader... I have decided you will be gifted my hard learned tips, just so you don’t have to deal with the struggles most students experience! So without further ado, let’s jump right into the gold!

(See what I did there, you’re going to be so sick of me by the end of this.)

Four friends clink glasses of lemonade while playing Monopoly in a board games café
The BoardRoom on Newland Ave

First things first, let’s talk about large clumps of money.

Whether it be allowance from parents, student finance drops or even scholarships, big sums of money can be a one-way ticket to trouble. Hey, I would know! So don’t have any shame in mistakes you’ve made (because without them we wouldn’t get better) but there will be times at university when it will be important to avoid money mistakes.

Whether that be too much takeout, unnecessary Amazon orders, frequent trips to the student pub or too many nights out, making mistakes like these can result in less money for groceries or even travel! Over the years, I’ve learned that having big sums of money at your disposal can be a truly dangerous game to play.

Hence, I have learned to use weekly budgets. I’ll divide the lump sum throughout the number of weeks it needs to last so I have a weekly budget. If I am saving for something special, sometimes I'll make my budget £10-15 lower than what it could be. Then I’ll only keep my budget amount in my active bank account.

Whether that allowance lasts longer than that week is up to me and how I manage things like groceries and nights out. It allows me freedom of a set amount without adding the stress of upcoming weeks.

Hence, I can buy things like Build-a-Bears.

a teddy bear sat on some steps
Lowering your weekly budget means you can treat yourself

For these weekly budgets, make sure to consider things like takeouts or even if I want to go on a night out. This helps me be in a better position by the end of the week! Hey, don’t take my word for it, try it out yourself. Learning how to manage your money is a skill that helps in so many ways, and it doesn’t always have to be a painful experience!

So, my next tip relates really well to what we have discussed already. Let’s say (in an ideal world) you’ve calculated your weekly budgets for the month and are able to precisely see your limits and savings for the amount that you have. The next step I would highly suggest you follow before you run off buying everyone mojitos is creating a meal plan.

Try planning out what you are going to eat each day. Not only does it save an arm and a leg in time, but it also really allows shopping trips to be concise and ordered. There’s no guessing what ingredients you need or what you need to replace - you’re too smart for that, you’ve made a meal plan and a shopping list to pair with it so no money is wasted for you. Remember this doesn’t mean you can’t have takeout and head down to the pub, just make sure to consider those in your meal plan!

For example, start looking for recipes for 5 / 7 days of the week because the other two you’ll be getting some takeout! Once you start to get comfortable with the idea you can even begin planning things like breakfasts, snacks and treats, but at first I’d probably just advise to stick to dinner plans and ensuring you reserve a select amount of money for extras like cereal and snacks.

 

Newland Avenue Student Lifestyle Shoot - Hang Out Bar
Make meals out & take-aways part of your meal plans!

Ok we are going to jump straight into this next one. Going out - whether it be the cinema, a nightclub, shopping or just to get lunch - can be a really tempting experience. It can be hard to resist the bargains and sales we walk past, whether that be a drunk kebab or even that tempting book on sale. We have all been there, we all know the struggle of spending more on a day out than you really expected to and the realization hitting when you look at your bank account when you get home. So, I say to you dear reader, young padawan. Prepare for the failure.

During my first year I would always tell myself I wouldn’t spend any extra money, only to be overcome with sadness at my failures. So, when my second year came, I made sure that I would take a different approach. I knew I was prone to spending around 45 quid on a night out, including drinks etc. So I set about my plan, transferred the exact amount onto my spending card and went about my night, making sure to leave my savings card at home... and what would you know? It worked perfectly.

I made myself much more aware of how much money I had left and was able to spending accordingly. Which is now how I go about it. I estimate the amount, make it accessible to myself and go about my day. That way there is no possibility for temptation or unneeded spending! And hey, don’t forget - you’re human, mistakes happen and we always have bad days. Just don't punish yourself too hard when they happen!

hayley-elahee-landscape
A huge thanks to Hayley for the money-saving tips!
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