University is about studying hard, as well as having a good time and making new friends, so you’ll need to balance your fund for social life, study materials and everyday living to make sure you have the best possible experience. By the end of your studies, you should be a master at stretching every penny as far as it will go. To help you get started, here are some useful tips:
1. Don’t blow your student loan! It’s easy to go shopping and spend a chunk on new outfits, technology or even a few big nights out. However if you don’t set a budget, it’ll soon disappear and you’ll be on the phone to bank of mum and dad for a top up sooner than expected!
Work out what you’re likely to spend money on each week, such as books, food, commuting costs, downloads etc and be realistic with the social life budget too. You’ll want to go out, but remember why you’re at University and prioritise what’s important.
Once you have worked out a weekly budget, you could then put your loan in a savings account and set up a transfer to your current account to pay yourself a weekly allowance. However try not to dip into the rest of the loan between payments, this will really help you manage your money more effectively.
2. Review your spending. Once you’ve got yourself settled in and you’re getting to grips with life at University, review your spending since you initially set up your budget. You might find that now you need less for study equipment per week, but need to put more in for food. Once you’ve worked out a new budget, adjust your weekly payment, but be sure you have enough to last the rest of the term.
3. Look at ways to save money. It sounds like common sense, and that’s because it is! If you’re planning on going home during the holidays, get your trains and coaches booked early instead of at the end of term when prices will be going up. Even if it saves you £10, that’s an extra £10 for the week to enjoy!
Also, go and get an NUS Extra Card. The Students’ Union can help with this. While it does come at a cost, it provides a huge range of online and in-store discounts. And when it comes to opening a Student Bank account, research which banks offer the best option for you. Santander for example has a branch on our Parkgate Road Campus and offers a free 4-year 16-25 Railcard as part of its 1|2|3 Student Current Account, saving you 1/3 off rail travel!
4. Get a bike. These are significantly cheaper to own than a car, better for the environment and better for your health! And with each of our campuses having areas where you can lock up your bike safely, it makes commuting even easier.
5.Get a part-time job. Here at the University of Chester we have lots of employment opportunities. Our Careers and Employability team provide employment schemes such as UniJob and Work Shadowing, which can help you find work whilst at University, and once you’ve graduated.
Chester Students’ Union also employs a number of students on student friendly contracts across its shops and bar. What’s more, with campuses located within easy reach of Chester, or the town of Warrington (if you’re based at our Warrington Campus), you won’t have to go far to find opportunities for part-time work.
Want to know more?
If once at University you would like further information or advice about managing your budget, you can make an appointment with a Student Welfare Officer within our award-winning Student Futures team.
If you want to see what else we have to offer at the University of Chester, why not book onto one of Open Days.