So, me being a student on such a low wage is a never ending struggle to balance my income with my spending. Now let me explain that I am no ‘typical student’ that goes out every night drinking – I never really have been. I’ve been living with my boyfriend for over four years now and I have never been overly interested in going out all the time. I typically go on two nights out a month and then the rest of my money being spent on trips to the Cinema, meals out, clothes and petrol.
I have been lucky enough to have someone else split the bills throughout university but it still is a pain when you just don’t have enough to do that bit more when you want to. I also, will not let my family help me pay for anything because if I can just get by, then I do not require them to provide me with money just to have that bit more fun every month.
I also, grudge my student loan so much, although they are the ‘best loans in the world’, in my mind it is still money you owe and that bugs me so much! Also, the amount it ends up totalling too at the end of your four years is too stressful to even think about.
I am not saying I am not lucky to have everything that I do have. I am able to live comfortably but to keep up with the rest of my friends who either have never went to university, are on a full-time wage or still living with their parents is a never ending battle. I have always been really good with my money so I do actually put thought into things before I buy anything and I rarely impulse buy so its not as if I am a spend-aholic. I have been living away from my parents long enough to understand how to budget but I just think if the government could increase the minimum wage to even £8 an hour it would make student life a lot easier and less of my student loan would be required and stress about having money to do the normal things that every normal person wants to do would decrease dramatically.
However, until that happens any advice that I would give to students living on their own part-time income or a student loan would be to budget, budget, budget. Write everything down – what you spend every day and then you will see what you are spending unnecessarily. I am forever writing a budget when my wages and student loan comes in every month and then every time I buy something I ask myself if I actually need it. This then helps me to scrape up my leftovers for a reasonable night out with my friends. Unless you get a huge part-time wage for whatever reason or get help from your parents then as you can see it will never be easy until you earn a full-time wage after university when you are all set-up for living life! Another thing that I would advise students to do is to use the student offers you get wherever possible and always plan ahead so you are never stuck for money or have gotten yourself into money trouble. It is a never ending battle regardless but if you try to help yourself, like I do, then it does help a bit!
Lets also just cross our fingers and toes for the government to increase the minimum wage to help the UK live a better quality of life and make ends meet that bit more!