Making your money count

One of the toughest challenges you will face at university will be managing your finances. When the loan drops in your bank account, I know it can be tempting to spend it all. It’s likely that this is the first time you have access to a large sum of money and you might want to make the most of it and do fun and exciting student experiences like socialising or travelling. However, basic expenses still need to be accounted for, which always leads to an internal dilemma of “should I/shouldn’t I?”. I’ve always considered myself quite a frugal person, so I’m going to use this blog post to give you some financial tips that have kept me from going into my overdraft these past few years.

It goes without saying, always, ALWAYS prioritise your rent and utilities. That’s what’s going to keep a roof over your head. If you’re planning a big expenditure always try to calculate whether or not you will have enough left over to pay for these necessities. Check your bank account regularly to ensure bills are being deducted by the right amount and to know what you have left.

I am a big foodie, so I end up splashing out on grub big time. I’ve gotten better over the years, allowing myself certain treat days so I only splurge on cravings once a week. When it comes to groceries, I try to always have a meal plan for the entire week so that I know exactly what I need to buy and thus avoid buying extra ready-made meals/snacks or ordering takeout, which can be both unhealthy and wasteful.

If you go out partying, try to keep it to once a week or have a budget (and keep to it!). Also you can get your group of friends to keep a check on one another to make sure you don’t end up spending needlessly. Fortunately, many clubs and bars in Manchester have great deals on entry and drinks.

If you’re not very good at budgeting the good news is that The University of Manchester provides services to advise you on your finances if you’re truly struggling, so take advantage of that.  Student life will always present challenges and your finances will play a big part of these. But with a little planning and budgeting you’ll make it a little easier for yourself without having to sacrifice your student experience.