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Student view: time and money

BSc Mathematics with Management student Thea shares her top tips for saving time and money while living your best life.

Whether you're an experienced student completing your last year at university or a first year just learning the roots of your degree, managing both your time and your finances can be quite challenging. Below is a list of advice and techniques to help you learn how to budget your weekly expenditure as well as make good use of your time.

Travel

An 18+ oyster card can go a long way in terms of finances. Last year, I saved more than £300+ in fares, and this doesn't include the bus rides throughout London

Use the TFL 'Single Fare Finder' to compare routes for cheaper and less time-consuming ways to get to university. Through this website you can also check prices for peak and off-peak hours to better plan your journey.

For those of you who live in the UK but not in London and like to go back to your hometown often, a 16-25 railcard could be very beneficial as 3 trips is usually all it takes for the card to pay for itself and you get great discounts for a lot of ticket types.

Food

Try to search for the nearest value stores (e.g. Lidl and Aldi), this way you can buy more for what you have. Snacks and microwavable foods for those busy evenings studying are also usually cheaper at the aforementioned stores.

Plan your weekly meals and bring a shopping list based on that plan. This way, you can keep track of what you are spending and also reduce the need for impulse buys. After all, one big shopping trip opposed to 3 'small' trips to the store is more productive and so help you make the most of your time

Social life

Living with flat mates can sometimes be stressful, everyone is likely to be in different classes and people are likely to have different interest and so you may not see each other that often. This can make meeting each other in the kitchen or anywhere in the flat a bit uncomfortable, so one way you can improve your friendship as well as your finances is to schedule a day each week where everyone can cook together. The price of your meal will be divided amongst your flat mates and furthermore it's such good fun to cook with friends.

You don't necessarily have to spend any money to have fun, there are hundreds of free attractions in London just waiting for you to experience. For example, the sky garden is a very scenic place to visit, and it's completely free. You can also go to Buckingham Palace to see the changing of the guards, or you can participate in festivals throughout the city.

Studying

Books are a necessity for each and every module, but they don’t have to cost hundreds. Firstly, before buying any books it's a good idea to check with your lecturer which books are essential and which books are only considered to be background readings. You can also check the Facebook page for your course to see if the older students are selling their old books for a lower price, because in general used books are much cheaper, specially from resources such as Amazon or eBay.

To better manage your time studying, a personal revision timetable would be very helpful. You can also set a daily alarm to signal when you need to study, but for this technique to be successful you need to be strict with yourself and make sure that you follow your timetable sincerely so that you eventually develop a routine that becomes easier to finish. Such a routine can also help you to improve your ability to manage your time and organise your seemingly endless amount of assignments.

By Thea Paraguas, BSc Mathematics with Management (2019)