As students continue to battle rising living costs – with energy and food bills soaring, heightened rent prices and stagnant student loans – many are struggling to offset the growing cost of being at university.
According to research by Save the Student, living costs for students are up 14 per cent since last year and experts have predicted that they will need an extra £439 per month to bridge the gap.
As such, it is no surprise that concern amongst parents is increasingly growing, with new data by tutoring service MyTutor unveiling that almost half (46%) of parents over the age of 55 are worried about their children living through a tougher time financially than them, with over 1 in 4 now lending more money to family in the last two years than ever before.
With many parents struggling to front the extra cash, as household budgets across the UK are squeezed, relying on parental support is no longer an option for many students.
With this in mind, MyTutor have offered an array of University budgeting tips, with easy swaps you can make to avoid falling into your overdraft.
Here’s the advice.
Set a weekly maximum spend (leaving room for unexpected costs)
It’s easy to go about your life buying a couple of things here and there, and before you know it you’ve blown two weeks budget. The best way to avoid this is to look at the total amount of money you’ve got until next term (after rent and bills). Then work out a weekly budget by dividing it by the number of weeks until you next get money, leaving plenty of room for unexpected costs.
Check your bank balance regularly
After you’ve set a weekly budget, keep your eyes on the numbers too. Many people get nervous about how much dosh they have – or don’t have – left in their account, and can bury their heads in the sand until it’s too late. Stay in control of your finances by checking your balance every few days. Find out if your bank has a good app to let you check it quickly and easily on the go too.
Cook a few meals in advance and freeze them
Student life can be crazy busy. With studying, any extra-curricular projects or societies and your all-important social life, preparing food can end up low-down in your list of priorities. And when you get home hungry, it’s easy to nip to a cafe or order takeaway.
Prepare meals in advance
You can avoid panic-ordering by setting aside some time each week to prepare meals for a few days. Something satisfying that keeps its flavour like a chilli or a rice-and-veggie dish will come to the rescue when you’re in urgent need of grub. If you want to be even more prepared, you can make a big dish, divide it into several portions and freeze them so they’ll keep for weeks.
Stock up on dry ingredients at the start of term
While you’re feeling flush at the start of term, prepare for harder times by bulk-buying dry ingredients like rice, pasta, beans and sauces. That way, if you do spend too much too soon, you can rest assured knowing you won’t go hungry in the last couple of weeks.
Instead of eating out with friends, try doing a pot luck
Eating in can get a bit boring, especially if you want to have fun with friends. Instead of going for a meal together, a great way to socialise on a student budget is by doing a “Pot Luck” style dinner party. This is simply where one person in your group hosts, and everyone brings one dish each that they’ve cooked. It’s fun to see what everyone comes up with, and you can then rotate who hosts too. You can keep it fun by choosing a cuisine for everyone to follow (i.e. Italian, Indian, Middle Eastern) and assign starters, mains, sides and desserts so you have a full meal.