The Soton Tab’s guide to budgeting

Because you’ve probably blown all your emergency money in the last two weeks

Starting uni is difficult for everyone – moving away from home, family, and friends. On top of all the essays and deadline, you have to live with strangers and learn to look after yourself. Looking after yourself requires money to buy food, toiletries, alcohol etc, so how do you keep on top of what you’re spending? Here’s the Tab’s top tips

First things first, be aware of how much money you’re actually going to have each term. If you’ve applied for Student Finance, loans come in at the beginning of each of the three terms during the year, but the amounts might change – so make sure you’re sure what you’ll be getting!

Figure out whether your loan will cover everything you need it to. This includes the boring stuff like rent, food, books, travel etc. Do this before you plan all the nights out and buy all your expensive alcohol. If not, maybe think about looking for a part time job alongside your course! A lot of students do this, so you wouldn’t be alone.

Prioritise! Don’t go blowing all your first term’s money during freshers’ – otherwise you’ll end up eating beans for the rest of the semester and not be able to afford your rent. There’s no need to live a life of endless nights in, but watch where your money is going and skip the extra round in the Stag’s.

Finally, budgeting. It may sound boring, but it’s probably a good idea to write down what you spend every week to keep on top of it. It doesn’t take much effort, and in the long run, you could really save yourself some money! Even limiting yourself to a certain spend each week could help you save up for that holiday you’ve been planning or that festival ticket. The money you could save by pre-drinking instead of buying drinks in a club, and buying supermarket own brands instead of the fancy foods you might be used to (they’re not that bad, we swear!).

So the moral of the story is, don’t be stupid with your money. Keep an eye on your bank account and get a fancy new notebook to write your budgets in, and surviving first year should be a breeze. Good luck!