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This is a guest blog by Sirin Arif, who is studying BSc (Hons) Design Engineering.

I joined BU in 2019 to study Design Engineering. I moved from London to Bournemouth getting away from the city but also from my job and my most loved sport, kayaking. I am an athlete competing in marathon and sprint races but also a paddle sport instructor. Moving to university meant that I would have to find new ways of training and a new job during term time.

I am an EU student as not long ago I moved to the UK which meant I was not eligible for a Maintenance Loan. I worked all summer before the start of the first year, but I knew my savings would not be enough. I looked on the BU website for any scholarships that may help me with financing, and I applied for the Sports Scholarship offered. Not long after, I got accepted and I was one of the 2019 sports scholars. The scholarship has helped me more that I though it would. As I could not train as normal, the free gym membership and focused strength and conditioning sessions were the perfect opportunity to socialise with other sport scholars but also focus on other aspects of training. I must say it was hard to train off the water as a kayaker, but I used the holidays to be back home spending time with family and training as normal. The sports scholarship helped me pay for races, travel, and equipment cost I would have not been able to pay without the help.

Another aspect of the scholarship was the wellbeing part which meant I had access to a chiropractor but also other workshops such as a food workshop. As an athlete I had to eat properly and take care of myself and living away from home meant I had to cook which conflicted with my time schedule as most of the time was occupied by training, fun, assignments, and lectures. I learned how I can make meals that are low cost, healthy and quick to make. Since then, I started researching how I can become more sustainable in the kitchen and reduce food waste while saving money. There is also a massive difference between needs and wants so meal planning and shopping lists are a must. I started using ODDBOX, for fruit and veg which helped me plan meals weekly with freshly rescued fruit and veg and have a fixed amount to spend on food.

To summarise, my ways of budgeting involved good time management, meal planning and shopping lists. I was lucky to have the sports scholarship allowing me to still develop as an athlete while still experiencing the student life. I also become more interested in sustainability and waste reduction which helped my mindset into staying minimalistic in what I would spend my money on and keep costs to a minimum.

A few extra tips I learned during my time at university:

  • Using library resources or second-hand textbooks
  • Student bank accounts that offer good deals such as vouchers and reduced railcards
  • Spotting the expensive foods (such as meat) and trying to replace them or reducing the amount consumed
  • Using apps for saving food waste and getting free food such as OLIO
  • Get a part-time job such as working for the student shop
  • Look out for freebies
  • Home cooked meals instead of takeaways.

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