How NOT to become a broke student

Filip studies International Relations with Languages here at Essex, but in this blog post, he is your financial adviser, offering three top tips for managing your money at university.

For many of us, going to university means being financially responsible for the first time, paying rent, bills, and buying groceries.

This might seem over whelming at first and, without managing our funds properly, we might fall into the stereotype of becoming a broke student. However, the following tips will stop this becoming a reality!

Tip 1: Budgeting is key

When you receive your student loan instalment or that pocket money from your grandma, it’s very tempting to spend it all on new clothes or a night out. But if you do that, you might regret it later.

That is where budgeting comes in. Before you start spending, sit down for a few minutes and calculate how much you need to spend on essentials this month such as rent, groceries, phone, Netflix and other subscriptions.

Next, see how much you have left for your monthly budget and transfer some of it straight into your savings account (even just 10% each month adds up over time and you’ll definitely thank me later!).

And the rest? Well you can now spend this on anything else that you want, knowing all the basics are covered.

However, before you buy anything, ask yourself, “Do I really need this?”. This will prevent you from spending too much impulsively. It’s just the same when going out –give yourself a budget for the night and stick to it!

Tip 2: Make cooking your new favourite hobby

OK, I know. Ordering takeout is very tempting and everyone craves that fried chicken once in a while, especially if their cooking skills are not like Gordon Ramsay’s.

Nevertheless, did you know you that you can probably cook a £5-8 meal yourself at home for just £1-2? Do this every day and you save at least £21 a week. That’s £84 a month! That’s a lot, isn’t it?

You don’t have to be a MasterChef but with a few tips from your family or friends, I’m sure you’ll be cooking nutritious meals in no time. And if not, there’s always YouTube, TikTok and Instagram to help!

Tip 3: Find a part-time job

You might be surprised, but as a university student, you will generally have much more free time than in college. So, take advantage of this and use the spare time to earn some extra cash!

Extra income is always handy; it can cover part of your essentials or help you save for the new pair of shoes you’ve wanted so long.

Here at Essex, there are a variety of opportunities for you to earn, including on-campus jobs as student ambassadors, research assistants, or working in the University’s bars and food outlets.

You can also go off campus to find one of the many jobs in retail and hospitality in the town. Even better, you might find an internship in a local business, which could help you find permanent work after you graduate.

University is a very exciting time in our lives and we want to enjoy it as much as possible. But if we spend all our monthly budget in a week, the rest of the month won’t be that fun. I hope these tips help you enjoy your time at university, without becoming a broke student.