So a few weeks ago I released a post with basic ways of getting through University in your first year easily, learning from my own mistakes and lessons during my first year at Kent University. This time, I’m going to be a bit more specific and write about ways that I saved money during the year whilst juggling lectures, assignments, god awful heating, a constantly gigging band, bills, and, you know, living. In my case, I was quite lucky with the fact that I worked three days a week and was earning roughly £100 a week which seems like a lot, but somehow it disappeared a lot.
Food – Be Sensible
I limited my spending on food per week to £20. Occasionally I would go over, occasionally under. I tended to try and spend money on ingredients for meals that would last at least a couple of days. That means I would buy chicken breasts, pork shoulder joints and mince beef all from either Iceland or Nisa, making sure not to spend over £3 on each piece. Then of course there’s the rest of the ingredients for things like bolognese which comes to around £15 including the meat. Or, the rather appeasing alternative is the Uncle Ben’s curry/chilli sauces, which Nisa constantly had on offer. Get into them, they’re excellent!
Heating – If You Don’t Need it On, Don’t Put it On
My student house had a top-up system to pay for the heating and electricity bills. Our foursome would take it in turns to top up both in £20 chunks (£10 on each). The biggest shock of this year was how quickly our heating would run out during the cold, cold season of Winter. The problem was that we had all laminate flooring and a basement, meaning that cold air would constantly rise from the basement, freezing all of the laminate floors. The heating, once switched on, really would not do much, and £10 would be drained from the top-up machine within 2 days of only having the heating on for a short while three times a day. My advice is to get a halogen electric heater and have it on for a SHORT while in whatever room you’re in whilst wrapped in many layers, as this drains electricity quite quickly too, but is far more effective. I would say just have layers alone, but even that didn’t help me much this winter!
Electricity – Unplug it!
This will only be short but, for the love of god, unplug your chargers when they’re not in use. When the plug socket is switched on with your charger plugged in to it, no matter if there is nothing attached to the charger, it is still drawing electricity and wasting your money.
Going Out – Every Night?
Nobody has the money to go out every night! I’m not saying don’t go out, but it might be an idea to limit your spending each week for going out with. My local club has a £1 night once a week which I’ve spent less than £10 at before, plus free on-campus open mic nights at the student union bar on other days, etc. Have a look to see what’s available but make sure you have enough money left to feed yourself for the week!
I mentioned this a little in my last post, but the thing that saved me the most money was by not having my car with me most of the time. Unfortunately I needed mine every couple of weeks in order to travel to play shows, which would cost me around £30 at a time. However! For distances where you wont need a whole drum kit and potential outrageous parking charges, either get a train with a rail card, or walk! During the start of 2013, I dug out my skateboard and decided I would skate the half an hour walk to uni every day as it’s great exercise, different, and cut my commute by about half at a push (a hard push)! This also saves on any parking. My advice on that though, is find somewhere where you can park for free. Just don’t leave anything on display in your car.
These tips really helped me save a bit of money this year (which was usually spent on my band anyway). If you have any others, I’d really like to hear them!
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