As I wait for my last ever student loan instalment to come through (boo hiss sob!) I have decided to dedicate this blog to the all-important issue of money...
Being a student is expensive! It costs £11,000 a year (on average) and most of this will go towards fees and rent. BUT there are ways you can plan your spending in order to have some left over for the fun stuff that comes with the student life. Read on for my top tips:
1. Put pen to paper and make a budget
It sounds really simple and boring, but you'd be surprised at how easy it is to see where you're overspending and where you can cut back if you do this. Start with a sheet divided into two sections headed Income and Expenses and write down all of your sources of money and all the things you expect to have to spend money on. Remember to include all the essentials like rent, food, laundry or stationary, alongside the non-essentials such as nights out and birthday presents. The main thing to remember is to only spend what you have! If you don't have enough money to cover your costs, then it might be worth considering a part-time job (see below).
My best advice in terms of cutting down on spending is taking your own lunch and teabags/coffee/hot chocolate to uni. Think about it- a cup of hot chocolate costs roughly £1.20 on campus, but a cup of boiling water only costs 20p. This could save you £5 per week, £20 per month etc!
2. Organise your income
It can be a good idea to put the money to cover your rent or hall fees into a separate account that you don't touch on a day-to-day basis (meaning you won't spend it all before you've paid for your accommodation). That way you know how much you have left to spend for other things during the remainder of the term.
3. Maximise your income- get a job
Four out of ten students have a job while they study. But remember to balance this with your studies (you are here to get a good degree after all!) It's recommended you work less than 15 hours a week in term time. Full-time work in the holidays can be tax-free and good for your CV as well as your bank balance. It's a good idea to look for jobs on campus as the hours are usually more student friendly. Also, think about what you would enjoy doing. If you enjoy partying become a club promoter, if you love shopping in a certain place work there for staff discount, and the list goes on.
4. Get help from uni
Kingston has a specific money advising office, so take advantage of them when you come here. The advice will be free and they can help you manage your money better. You can ask about free student banking, overdraft interest rates and charges and any student bursaries/scholarships they offer.
5. Get a discount
All I can say is GET AN NUS CARD! And ask for student discount everywhere, after all, if you don't ask you don't get.
6. Sell, sell, sell
Get rid of those unwanted textbooks, clothes etc and make money from them! Use websites like Amazon, eBay and Facebook. I've used Facebook many a time to sell the hundreds of textbooks you end up buying as a Law student. My friends make fun of my ‘haggling' statuses, but it makes me happy to help another student save and make some money for myself.
7. Keep tabs on your spending and be cash happy
Bank online and check your account regularly. Also, take out cash from the cash machine for the day/couple of days/week and spend this only! As it can be all too easy to overspend when you use a card and think your money is endless. This is especially useful when you go for nights out, trust me.
8. Try not to panic and enjoy yourself!
We all know money is a stressful issue whilst a student, but try not to worry. As long as you are sensible and plan your spending, there's no reason why you shouldn't be able to have fun and make the most of the student life.
Hope this has helped, bye until next time!
A few short months ago, Kingston Alumni and current Kingston students (including myself) made a video with the theme "We are Kingston"- look out for it soon, it's Oscar worthy trust me!
I chose to talk about my ‘gift' of enthusiasm, as throughout my time at Kingston, I have tried to get involved with as many things as possible and make the most of uni life.
Of course, this process is a two way thing...so as well as students giving something to Kingston, Kingston has given something back to us. I can honestly say that my last three years at uni will probably be one of the best times of my life! Kingston has given me the chance to grow, both academically and personally and I have met some amazing people from all over the world and from different cultures and backgrounds. Plus, I know for a fact that the friends I've made here will be friends for life. I can see us all now, sitting around a table in 40 years' time reminiscing about the "good old uni days"...
Overall, I think uni will be what YOU make of it. If you chose to use it purely as a place to study and get a good degree, than that's absolutely fine (after all it is what you're paying for). BUT uni can and should be so much more than that.
So, what will you bring to Kingston?!
Spring at last! Kingston is truly glorious during this time of year. This weekend I walked along the river into Kingston from Surbiton; hundreds of people seemed to have had the same idea; many were relaxing with ice creams and drinks whilst sitting along the quayside and families were enjoying picnics whilst children were busily feeding hungry ducks.
Turk's river boats seem to be doing a brisk business, and the ‘New Southern Bell' always provides me with a sense of nostalgia for elegant river cruise boats steaming along the Mississippi River. Our own River Thames though was busy with river traffic and it really seemed like a perfect lazy Sunday. Rowers raced half-heartedly towards Kingston Bridge. Leisure boats motored along at a relaxed pace; one boat even had an inquisitive dog who took in the view looking backwards and forwards to both sides of the riverbank, thoroughly enjoying its river trip; whilst a fellow passenger blew softly on a trumpet!
The joys of walking along the river on a warm sunny day never fail to please; the gentle lapping of the water provides a sense of calm to those of us who find it difficult to relax when we have assignments and exams; it is not just that, I for one am finding it really difficult to focus on my studies these days and actually buckle down to work. I think sometimes you just need to take time out to recharge batteries and be inspired by other sights rather than gazing down at a book or researching intently on the web. This is why it is so important to have time to catch up with friends or see different sights. Time passes so quickly at university and it cannot be all work and no play; friendships made here can often last a lifetime.
This brings me to mention the annual ‘May Merrie' event so popular with all age groups. For those not so familiar with this it really is worth taking a look, a more detailed programme for the day, which starts from around 12 noon can be seen here:-.
This year there is everything from a Carousel, buskers, Morris Dancing, storytelling, music (to suit most tastes!) lessons on how to hula (I am proud to say I can actually do this and passed this skill on to my daughter something she is still proud to say her Mum taught her!), this year there is even a visiting farm! Kingston really knows how to celebrate! Let's just hope the sunny weather continues! Now I must get on with my work............
Christmas in Kingston
Uploaded 22 Nov 2013
Keeping organised at Uni
Uploaded 22 Nov 2013
Finding private accommodation and university support.
Uploaded 21 Oct 2013