It’s not easy being a student on a budget. But we do get a pretty good deal, as long as we can cover our accommodation and take advantage of those overdrafts! Regardless of circumstances, (well 99%) I believe that everyone can and should be able to travel on a student budget. Personally, I receive no financial support other than my loan (covering rent only), meaning every penny I save and spend is completely in my own hands.
Though financial independence has its pros and cons, it has meant that I’m able to travel. There’s just one more thing in the way. Deadlines. They’re not fun and seem to be constant whilst at University! But long summer breaks do open a window of opportunity for travelling, four months of blissful sun across Europe and manageable heat in the Southern Hemisphere, it’s the perfect time to get away and create new memories.
The only problem? Every travel company in the world knows that summer is peak travel season and prices accordingly. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to grab a bargain or fit a year’s worth of travelling into those four months of freedom.
How? I’m glad you asked!
Set your goal and stick to it. Cut down on irrelevant costs, drink at home. Bulk buy food and freeze excess. There are hundreds of ways to save money, just find a way that works for you. In a city or more expensive postcode, it’s possible to spend as little as £20 a week on bare essentials, but anywhere between £30 and £50 is feasible, and can fit in a night out a week in there too!
Personally, I don’t drink much, at most a pint at the weekend, saving me a lot compared to other students, but I also cut costs by bulk making and freezing a lot of my food. This means I can do a large food order at the start of term and then spend the minimum on fresh veggies to go with it. Here’s an idea of an average week budgeting my money at uni:
Average Weekly Spends:
Food Shop (Tesco): £12.50
Washing (1 load): £4.60
Going Out (A meal and 2 drinks at Wetherspoons): £6.70
Transport (1 taxi after work): £3.60
Transport (return train to visit boyfriend): £12.25
Large food shop (Asda): £18.50
Night/meal out (local bar): £22
Total spends per month: £175.95 ( £43pw)
And yeah, I could live without my nights out or occasional taxi after work, but I’m only human and it’s damn hard to have no fun, especially when other people aren’t budgeting and out enjoying themselves without a care about cash! The most important thing with anything you’re trying to give up is to be realistic, otherwise you just won’t stick to it!
My loan doesn’t cover any of these expenses though, so I work to boost my income
There are unlimited options when it comes to working as a student and it’s something that will help your CV to stand out as a post-grad. University’s are often keen to help with employment opportunities, but you can find everything you need online, student or not. Websites like indeed and monster are great for local employment, but even Facebook and twitter advertise- so don’t count out the power of who you know on social media. If you can find a job related to your degree, bonus!
I currently work as a freelance writer and bartender at a local pub, meaning I’m able to show my capabilities in a fast-paced (and often stressful) environment, but also my writing skills by working with CEOs, graduates and the unemployed to help them boost their job applications and build up my own experience.
So what’s a job worth? I am lucky enough to be able to work 17-25 hours a week on the bar and a further 10-15 hours on my writing, giving me a sizeable wage to live on and help me to save.
Bar wage: £8.40ph x 17-25 hours= £142 – £210 per week
Writing commission: £5 – £50 per order = around £75 per week
Total wage: upto £200- £300 a week and works out at around £1000 per month.
Taking out my outgoing costs means I’m able to save around £800 on a good month!
£800 x 3 months = £2400 – that’s a lot of money to fund my travels!
Working so much alongside a full-time educational responsibility isn’t always easy though. I don’t go out on the weekends and spend my weekdays catching up on university, but with only 10 hours of lectures a week, I’m able to happily fit everything in and have a few days off a month to socialise, see my friends and forget about work (even if it’s just for a few hours at a time).
But with that £3000 target, I still had to find extra ways to save up!
The typical google search of ‘how to earn money quickly’ happens to the best of us and yeah, a lot of them may be unattainable, but there’s still plenty of good ideas out there, it’s just finding something that works for you! I regularly sell my old clothes on depop and vinted and have had stalls at 2 car boot sales this year to get rid of items I no longer need. If you’re a creative, you could also set up a stall at a local art fair with homemade designs. This takes time, but it’s easy to make hundreds in an hour!
So how did that work out for me?
Selling clothes on Depop/Vinted: £250
2 Car Boot Sales: £240
Total Additional Income: £490
So what about the last £110?
This was perhaps the simplest, but most effective way I saved up. Putting £1 coins in a sealed money box for 4 months, that was all I did! It’s so easy to lose change or spend it meaninglessly, so by forcing yourself to put it all away will stop you spending or losing it. I only had a small mason jar and filled it halfway (so it looked like I had f**k all in there, but turns out all those pennies do really add up!
Total saved: £3000
So there you have it, £3000 for a summer of travelling, make sure to tune in next week so I can show you how you can travel for 3 months with this amount!
How do you save up for your travels? Tweet me or comment your best tips! x