Written by James Tu
MA Directing Film and Television
Being a student inevitably means there’s going to be limitations in terms of your spending. Unless you’re descended from a line of millionaire or billionaire parents that spoil you (or in that case if your parents are pretty strict and want you to experience the struggles of living) then you’re going to have to watch your spending. Some of you will find it harder to do than others but in most cases if you’re sensible and think logically, it’s a relatively easy thing to do.
For the most part, I don’t have trouble trying to keep an eye on what I spend money on. I was raised around my dad who gave me the impression that he could live under any circumstances, and some of that influence has passed on to me. I think it’s quite a useful mindset to have because you don’t feel that you require anything -it doesn’t cost you anything to sleep on a hard floor other than the cost of your discomfort. I know if you’re living in accommodation you have a bed anyway but my point is if I had no choice I could sleep on a floor with no problems and by having this mindset I can retain money more easily because I can live with the less “luxurious” choice. So if you want to make sure you’re secure financially then read this – again unless your parents are millionaires who spoil you!
If you travel to campus regularly and you live some distance off, the first thing I would advise you to buy is an Annual Bus Pass rather than the 10 Trip tickets for your unibus card. It costs £250 for the Annual Pass and it will last you your whole academic year. I do a Master’s Course so it starts in September and finishes off in August so it’s literally almost a whole year unlike other academic years. 10 Trip tickets give you 5 trips to Uni and back before you have to top up again, that’s about £10 a week. That saves me roughly half the amount than if I were to get an annual pass. Plus you won’t have to get into the hassle of having to top up again and potentially forgetting to do it.
If that doesn’t suit you and you’re a local then ride a bike if you have one of those. Although I would advise not to if you haven’t grasped the laws of the road and could potentially put yourself in danger. But otherwise why not? Plus cycling is giving you some extra exercise. If you live within walking distance so around 30 minutes or less then just walk, you may have to wake up a little earlier which most people wouldn’t like but again, that’s exercise too.
If you’ve been by Starbucks or Costa or even the Uni shop at campus then you’ve probably bought a coffee or something to snack on during the break time, or at the very least was tempted to buy something that looked tasty as a potential victim of marketing. There’s nothing wrong with this, because if you’re hungry or thirsty you just need to eat or drink and I do it too on occasion. But if you want to save some more money then I would advise you to buy food supplies and make your food at home and bring it in as packed lunch. You will see in the long run that you’ve managed to preserve more money because you weren’t spending away on delicious foods you see at the shop. You don’t need to eat a bar of chocolate or a packet of crisps or even drink that bottle of Coca Cola you see staring at you every time you walk in, just eat the essentials that will keep you alive and your energy up.
As for drinks, get a Thermo Cup or a reusable plastic bottle and bring that in filled with water, tea or coffee. There’s a saying “I’m not rich enough to buy cheap things” meaning you’re better off buying something costly to last for the long run than buying a cup of coffee every day because the cost of that daily coffee or tea will exceed any high quality thermo cup you get.