Written by Areej Hassan
BSc (Hons) Games Software Engineering
Hi everyone! I’m Areej! I am from Egypt and I’m doing the games software engineering course. Today I am going to tell you all about some budgeting tips that I personally follow. Being a student and having limited finances doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t go out or that you have to live off of instant noodles etc. Hopefully the following tips will help with that.
Stick to your monthly budget
Create a monthly budget based on the allowance/ loan you have and the amount of money you usually spend. Try to stick to that budget and avoid as many impulse buys as you can, by writing a shopping list and switching name branded food and products for cheaper alternatives. I found shopping at Aldi or Lidl much cheaper compared to other places, so why pay more for the same thing?
Tips for eating healthier and cheaper
I personally spend most of my money on food, in an attempt to eat healthier. I found it really helpful to make a food plan for the week. Mainly for dinner. I like to write down what I am going to cook for the next week before I go food shopping, so that I have a clear list of things I need to buy. This helps me avoid wasting food and makes sure I eat well. I normally spend around £15-25 a week on food if I cook for myself. I could spend that much money on 1 or 2 meals eating out. That’s why in my opinion, cooking for yourself is much cheaper, plus you actually know what is in your food and whether it is healthy or not.
Get the UniBus pass
It usually rains here in Bournemouth and Talbot campus is a 40-minute walk away from Purbeck. That is why I always use the bus instead of cycling or walking to university. I found that getting the £250 annual bus pass is the best way to budget, especially if you want to join a society or if you constantly use the University library, labs or study rooms. A return ticket is £2.50, meaning that you’d spend the same amount of money going to uni 100 times and back. Getting the bus pass makes it much cheaper and justifiable for me to visit my friend who lives in Corfe House in Poole. The U busses are way more frequent than other busses. They stop right in front of uni and in front of all the university accommodation.
Tips for going out
Make sure you include additional money for going out within your monthly budget. I spend about £250 a month if I don’t go out at all, and up to £400 if I do. I personally don’t go out often, but I tend to spend about 10-30 pounds a night. I would suggest going out with lots of friends so you can order bigger meals for cheaper if you are eating out. The bus pass also helps, especially if you go out a lot.
In conclusion, budgeting as a student can be stressful if you ignore it till it is too late. As long as you’re keeping track of what you’re spending versus what you earn, you will be just fine.