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Residential Life

Budgeting tips to get you through!

By AlessandraRA 09 Feb 2023

Hey fellow students!

Do you wish you could save more and spend less? My name is Alessandra, I’m one of the Residential Assistants here at Queen Mary and I would like to share my top 5 saving tips with you!

Tip 1: Give Yourself a Budget

What’s really worked for me is deciding on a set amount of money in my current account per month which I can spend guilt free!

When my student loan and pay check comes in, I transfer it straight away into my savings account.

I give myself an allowance on the 24th of each month which means I must make it through to that day every month without dipping into savings (apart from paying residential fees and large expenses like holidays or festivals which I use as a treat for saving)!

Tip 2: More Cooking, Less Eating Out!

Who doesn’t love eating out?! I’m a massive foodie and love ticking off London restaurants from my bucket list but in my experience I’ve found it’s the deadliest way of draining your bank account balance.

As a treat of course it’s fine but when I learn how to cook properly, it changed my life. Cheesy, but true! I always plan on having some quiet evenings in every week to give myself time to cook batch meals!

I highly recommend shopping at ASDA or Lidl, as they are the cheapest supermarkets local to Mile End. Branded food is also much more expensive than own brand so I generally stick to buying own brand food except when there is a real difference in taste. Plus, I try and keep buying meat and alcohol to a minimum as they are the most expensive items!

a person preparing food in a bowl

Tip 3: Cutting Down on Outgoing Bills

Cut down on any outgoing bills today! For example, I have a SIM only contract for my phone so it helps to check price comparison websites every now and then to make sure I’m on the cheapest contract possible! As well as a great SIM comparison page, Money Saving Expert have a good guide for students on how to save whilst studying.

Money Saving Expert Advice for Students

Money Saving Expert SIM only deals

a close up of a sim card

Tip 4: Second Hand Clothes

If your budget doesn’t accommodate your love-of-clothes-can’t-stop-spending lifestyle, charity shops and clothes swaps with friends and family could be an alternative! I have stolen (with permission) practically half of my mum’s wardrobe which was full of vintage clothing!

a close up of clothes on hangers

Tip 5: Free Events

Make the most of free events! Residential Life have lots on offer so don’t pay for it if you can do it for free! For example, you can get free cinema tickets for Genesis with your Resident’s Rewards Card. Also if you like museums and want a free day out, most of London’s museums are free!

Residential Life Events

I hope you found some of my tips helpful! I know many people are struggling in the current cost of living crisis. It can really take its toll, especially on your mental health.

If you feel like your finances are out of control, I urge you to either talk to the advice and counselling service, residential welfare, your advisor, friends, family or all of the above! You could also be eligible to apply for a bursary if your household income is below a certain threshold. Please see below for links and email addresses to services and support schemes.

AlessandraRA profile picture

AlessandraRA Hi! My name is Alessandra and I am studying Biomedical Sciences having done a Foundation Year last year. I grew up in South London and have come to Queen Mary as a mature student. Hope to see you around campus, please feel free to come and say hello!
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