Although studying in England can be exciting, managing your finances can be hard, mainly because of the ever-changing currency rates that affect how much money you have each month and little understanding of living costs. Even so, that does not mean that you have to wipe your account clean every month. Creating a budget is an excellent first step towards managing your money.
Start by creating a spreadsheet that shows all your income, whether it is from your parents, student loans, or scholarships and bursaries. After that, note down all your outgoings such as food, rent, and transportation to help you see how much money you have available to spend each month. If possible, go back to your expenses and see what you can cut back or completely do away with.
4 pro tips on how to budget while studying in England
Be Smart with your food shopping
Food is one of the biggest costs you will incur while studying in England. Therefore, it is worth finding ways to reduce this bill. For instance, you can opt to shop supermarket value- products as opposed to well-known brands and shopping towards the end of the day when many items are discounted.
If possible, avoid eating out, and instead look into cooking your meals at home. This will allow you to do a cost-effective bulk shopping at the start of each week, helping you avoid the need for too many expensive takeaways. You will also be able to save by making your own packed lunch instead of eating at a restaurant.
Take Advantage of Student Discounts
There are a lot of student discounts in England that can help you save some money. So, always carry your student card and student ID everywhere you go and do not be afraid to ask if there are any student discounts on offer. You can find some great student discounts on transport, groceries, movie tickets, shopping, and even haircuts. Travel costs, for instance, take a big part of your monthly budget. Fortunately, there are various student travel cards and deals that can help you reduce this cost. Check out what transport companies offer deals for students and book in advance for extra savings.
You can even purchase a student card such as the ISIC card that is offered through STA. While these cards often come at a high initial outlay, they often become worthwhile, especially after the first use. To buy these cards, you will need proof of student status, passport photo and payment to apply. To ensure the card is as effective as possible, ask the locals at your university about any student discounts and take advantage of them whenever necessary. Just make sure not to use this as a reason to spend money on things you don't really need.
Get a Library Card
University textbooks can be ridiculously expensive these days. Instead of dropping your valuable pounds on textbooks that you will probably use for one semester, scope your area for the nearest library and get yourself a library card. These libraries are a haven of free books, which can help you save a lot compared to buying new books every new semester. What's more, most of them have free internet access. If you can't find a library nearby, consider buying second-hand course books. Also, you don't have to purchase every book on your list; only buy the most important ones, which you can sell after you are through with them.
Supplement Your Income with a Part-Time Job
Once you have worked on your budget, you will be able to see whether taking on a part-time job is a good idea. There are various part-time and freelance jobs in England that provide a flexible way for students to study while still earning some extra income. These include jobs like bar-tending, copy-writing, working as a barista or at a retail shop. These jobs allow for flexible hours, and provide a great way to meet more people in your area while taking off some of the financial pressure.
Currently, all international students are able to work without restrictions on their Tier 4 visa. However, this might change after Brexit.
Studying abroad is fun, but studying in England can be a whole new level of awesome. Budgeting provides an efficient way to keep track of your finances and ensure you don't spend beyond your limit and land yourself in financial troubles. Make the most out of your study in England by exploring these tried and tested budgeting tips.