Guest blogger Written by

Ella Aaltonen (Finland)

I am Ella Aaltonen from Finland studying BA (Hons) Computer Animation Art & Design. When I first arrived at university three months ago, I decided to make a budget for each week. I withdrew the budgeted amount of cash and lived of that money for the week. It worked…for a while.

Everybody has their own unique spending habits – it is important that you find a style that suits your life. Here are some of the tricks that worked for me.

Share domestic spending

  • Decorating your own room from scratch can be exciting. While it’s good to spoil yourself occasionally, be careful not to go too crazy. You can find inexpensive day-to-day items rather easily. For example, both Argos and Asda sell everything from pillows to kitchenware for a student-friendly budget.
  • Speaking of kitchens, when arriving at uni, don’t go shopping first thing. Try to talk with your flatmates first to find out if there are items you could share. Don’t make the same mistake we did and head straight to town. That is how you end up with four toasters!
  • Your flatmates or friends in the same hall can also come in handy when doing laundry. If you don’t have a full laundry basket yet, try asking if they need to wash too. Both of you will save on detergent and the price of two machines.

Shopping smart

  • Try to use bigger supermarkets that sell a large selection of items since they usually have sales. In addition, they often have their own clothing collections too which you can buy at a reasonable price.
  • Primark is a great place to go shopping for clothes – the prices are low, but the products are colourful and creative.

Making the most of cooking

  • Four to six times a week, I shop, eat and cook with three of my friends. This has enabled me to eat home-cooked meals quite regularly, while also perking up my social life in the middle of assignments and deadlines. The best part is I only spend approximately £2 a day!
  • This should be obvious, but I tend to forget it – don’t go shopping hungry. You would be surprised how much food you can buy in one go.
  • If you ever end up making too much food for a meal, it may be a good thing. Pack it as lunch for tomorrow.

I hope you find these tips useful or would be willing to try them. Learning to live on your own is a process; one in which you learn through trial and error. Remember to talk to your flatmates and friends. You may be able to come up with something you can all do together to share the expenses or hear their good tips. If you learn something on your own, remember to share your tips so others may try it too. You’re all in the same boat!

By Ella Aaltonen, Finland, BA (Hons) Computer Animation Art & Design