Budgeting and Managing Finances (Medic Series)

It's a new year so what a better time to start a new lifestyle and learn some tips to save money!

Being at university for going on three years now, I feel like I've got a good grasp on budgeting and managing my finances. I'm by no means an expert but here are some of my helpful hints and tips.

Get Free Money for the Year:
As daunting as the forms can be, there are so many different pots of money available to almost every student in one way or another. I do a google search during the summer and then apply for every bursary, grant and scholarship that I can find where I meet the criteria - there are some really specific ones!
They are really long so make sure you give yourself enough time so another additional option is, if you are financed through Student Finance, make sure click that you allow your financial details to be shared because that way you don't have to apply to any financial-dependent university allocated funds. I've got £1000 each year through this.
Your university will have them linked on their site and Scholarship Search have a list of some of them but not all of them so make sure to look elsewhere too.


Earn in Bed:
Throughout the year, students are sent a lot of simple questionnaires but these can be boring. Do them. It's a really easy way to earn £5 to £50 usually. It's usually less than 20 minutes of time and I tend to do it while watching TV.
The university also sends out lots of emails including competitions which often had cash prizes like essay competitions.

Books:
Don’t ever ever ever buy textbooks. You don't actually need to have any of your own textbooks. I bought a lot before university started but I haven't even looked at them since the module finished. University libraries carry the majority of books and for Medical students, the hospital libraries and BMA are perfect.
You can also buy used and save the difference. If you really want or need a book, other student's in older years may sell their copies for much cheaper and often libraries give their old books away for free.

Student Discount:
Almost everywhere nowadays has some sort of student discount so never be afraid to ask. What 's the worst they can do? They'll only say no. You can also search online for discounts and promo codes before buying anything.
Also, sign up to every discount site, student and nonstudent. I have accounts with VoucherCloud, Unidays and Student Beans. A lot of big sites also do 50% off subscriptions like Amazon Student Prime (not only free next-day delivery but also access to lots of films and TV shows) and Spotify are the two big ones I use daily.
As a side note. I'm a student and someone who likes a bargain. I always look for the cheapest deal for every product I buy. Flubit is a great site for people who use Amazon a lot. It creates a private offer on any Amazon products which is usually cheaper. be aware, it doesn't include free next day delivery  so make sure to add delivery cost before deciding who to buy through.

Loyalty Cards:
Similarly, many places have store cards and if they are free and you got their often, get one! I have Boots, Waterstones, Nectar (good if you shop at Sainsbury’s), Boots and Superdrug.
Continuing, if you travel back and forth on trains visiting friends and family around the UK, get a 16-25 railcard (or another type) to get between 1/3 and 1/2 off your tickets. NUS is also a great card to have as it gives you lots of offers but don't buy before university because some universities include it on their cards e.g. liverpool and York St. Johns from knowledge.

Budget:
Make sure you know your bills and outgoing money. I have a separate bank account for bills so that I don't spend that. That includes rent, household bills, phone bills, a present allowance plus £30 a week for food (I don't usually spend it all but in case of a night out) and £10 on travel (last year this was much more but this year I live much closer to university so walk in most days).
My main goal is 'to spend as little as possible' aha.

Get a Job:
This is mainly for non-medics as we just don't have the time during term but if you need to, make sure it doesn't interfere with studies. In the summer holidays though, medics can defintely get a job! When I go home, I love to babysit. Doing something I love while getting paid is just the bonus.
A relatively easy job to get is tutoring because if gives you teaching experience but it also covers something you already know a lot about. Additionally, you can set tasks for your students while you do your work at the same time.

Bulk Buy:
My final tip is to buy in bulk where possible. I buy presents in bulk with vouchers and discount code and always always always, search for promo codes online before shopping.

Bank Offers:
If you do online or mobile banking, you often get money back offers and rewards if you pay on your cards. I find these really interesting. While I wouldn't recommend purchasing random products just to get money back, look around at the prices in comparison to the places with the money back offer as even though it may be more expensive there, with the money back offer, it ends up being cheaper so it's worth it!

I don't want to have to ask anyone for money, I just wanted to have the money to be able to do what I want when I want. Back at home, I'm usually the one to say don't buy that or save this ect. I think I'm very sensible financially speaking, I'm careful but not stingy. I budget a meal out a week so when an exciting adventure comes about I can afford it. At the moment, my splurges tend to be concerts...

I hope you find this helpful. Leave any tips you have in the comments below :)

PS. I was doing some research on other ways to save money and apparently there is something called a HC2 certificate which supposedly allows free prescriptions, free dental care, and free eyesight checks, plus money off vouchers for glasses. I will defintely look into this because prescriptions are so expensive!

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