After 3 years of juggling, struggling and somehow coping with the issues that surround student life, now, in my final year at university, I think I’ve cracked it. Not all of it. Just, maybe, 10% of it. Don’t get me wrong though, that is a huge amount! You never really get the hang of life, things always seem to pop up and slam you in the face. That’s no different for us students, if anything, we can have 4 coursework deadlines, 7 set pre-reading tasks and an essay due in 19 hours, yet we will still be able to find the will to smile, go out, maybe have some drinks and forget it all. But… what happens when you simply can’t afford to forget it all? What happens when you haven’t checked your bank account for weeks and you’re just going off of random estimates in your head? Do you make that terrifyingly humiliating call to mum and dad? Or do you just lock yourself away and scrounge off of your flatmates? Well, after triple my fair share of self-pity, enough tears to fill a couple swimming pools and Netflix (courtesy of a friend because I had no money) to warm my cold nights, I have found a few ways to cope.
Okay, let’s be honest, not everyone, but many students end up spending ghastly amounts of money on nights out. I’ve been there. In a club, at the front of the crowd, at the bar, buying countless numbers of shots, just tapping my card away on the machine. So, what can you do when you’re in need of some relax time, but you don’t want to spend the rest of the semester without cheese or soap, because that’s a luxury that you can’t afford anymore?
So, here it is, my advice on not being that person that prays to the Bank Gods every time you tap your contactless card on the reader…
- DON’T TAKE YOUR CREDIT CARD!
Please. Don’t do it. You know what happens and I know what happens. That contactless beep is just too satisfying, you rely on that overdraft, you just push the worries away to deal with tomorrow. Instead, take out a set amount of money so that you’ve limited what you will spend, and you won’t jeopardise your economic well-being. Your card could be in your purse and you could be determined to not spend anything, but you’ll hear it whispering to you. Don’t even get me started on the stress and hurt you’ll go through if you lose that card. So, just leave the temptation at home.
- SLUMBER PARTIES!
Now, I’m all up for going out and having an absolute banger of a night. But, sometimes it’s nice to just chill at home with a couple friends. Now, I’m not saying it has to be a slumber party like in the movies, but why not bring the club … to your house? Have a couple drinks with your friends, play some music, play some games. You won’t be paying for taxis, you’re not getting overcharged for drinks, no random creepy people are trying to make a pass at you and you’re still having a good time, sounds perfect, right?
- KEEP FOOD ON HAND…
Okay, another MAJOR issue that I have when it comes to money and nights out, is that I get a terribly serious case of the munchies once I leave a club or a bar. I need food once I am roaming the streets at 3am after dancing my worries away. Instead of going to the always reliable fast food restaurants, prepare food before you go out and leave it at home. Make yourself a pizza, it’s so simple, flour, water, salt and yeast, couple toppings, then BAM, pizza! Instead of spending money buying pizzas, you can make one at home and then keep the ingredients to make another one for another day. Anything can be made at home and you can make it cheaper and healthier. I know the burgers look good, but do you know what looks better? Your smiling face in the mirror when you check your bank account the next morning. So, do me and yourself a favour, don’t go running to the fast food, prepare your food beforehand and save those extra pounds.
- SHARING IS CARING AND SPARING
Let me paint the scene. It’s a Friday night. You’ve just finished your lecture and you’re in dire need of some chill time. But …you have nothing to wear. So, you’re first thought might be to go shopping. Buuuuut …you have no money. So, you can’t exactly just borrow whatever you want from the shop and take it back a couple days later. So, what do you do? I’ll tell you what you can do. RAID YOUR FLATMATE’S CUPBOARDS (word of warning, do not raid without permission). Any friend will do, we can make any item of clothing look good. Is your friend bigger than you? That’s fine, we love the oversized look. Is your friend smaller than you? It’s okay, leave a shirt unbuttoned with a cute one underneath. There are always ways around your obstacles, you just have to find your own way. Anyways, if you were to buy a new top, you’d probably wear it for that specific evening, spill something on it, and then never wear it again. Let’s save the pain and the money, and let’s just borrow from each other. No harm done, ey?
So, there you have it. There’s not a lot, but these little tips should be on your mind for the next years of your student life. Many of us enjoy going out and relaxing but financially that isn’t possible for some of us, so hopefully, these few changes could be the start of you taking control and having a few extra pounds.
Post by Anika Tazmin
Anika is a 4th year student at the University of Nottingham.