Alongside university comes the worry of finances. Its something I’ve thought about a lot more since preparing for university and so I thought writing about it could be interesting.
Admittedly I found the idea of a student loan quite daunting at first and I felt worried about paying everything back etc. However, once I had learnt a little about it, I felt better going forward. The fact that you don’t start paying anything back until you’re earning a certain amount of money is reassuring to me as I no longer feel pressured or inclined to think that I have to pay anything back immediately.
In addition, the repayment of the loan means I can focus completely on my studies without worrying about not being able to afford food due to repayment. I can be quite a stress-head sometimes so this will help me to relax a lot. My plan for this year is to write down when I spend money from my loan each week so I can keep track. This kind of organisation is something I didn’t do when I first started but I think budgeting more will help control my spending.
I’ve been really lucky that my mom and grandparents help me massively with food, so I haven’t had had to spend too much on that. I am particularly conscious of money in general so the Blackwell voucher for example helped me massively. With studying English as well, there are many texts involved so the voucher took some of the burden of in this respect. In addition, I such things a Sainsburys voucher for Christmas- one of the presents I appreciated the most after experiencing university life.
One really important thing I have learnt in my first few months here is to make use of the library. I actually learnt this by mistake. It turned out Id forgotten to buy one of the books I needed, and we had to read from it that particular week. It was a day or two before the lecture and so I was in a panic. In the end I went to the library and searched the shelves in desperation. I found it eventually and after the incident I discovered that you can reserve books and then collect them without having to scour the many shelves. This is something I have taken advantage of ever since. I can’t explain how much money the library will save me during these three years.
In order to give me a little more comfort when it came to my finances, I went back to work over Christmas and that felt really good. Just giving myself that little extra pocket money to play with. Some of my friends live a lot further away than I do when it comes to going home from uni, and so don’t have the chance to work when university is on, so I count myself very lucky that I am able to go home and pick up the odd shift sometimes. I’ve heard stories of people who balance their study with regular work, and I can honestly say they are heroes! I work at the weekend occasionally, but nothing compared to what others do. Balance is defiantly difficult.
University has defiantly improved my understanding of the value of money.