Living costs at university and how to manage with very little money Watch

Emmax15
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Hi,

I'm in a bit of a mess really I've tried to get this out of my head for my upcoming Alevel exams but I'm really struggling.
I have just received my amount for student finance back and it's no where near the amount I was expecting. Which I am awear there is nothing I can do to change it.

I'm hoping to study nursing in September at the university of Birmingham. Originally the accomidation I wanted was expensive but reasonable for living in Birmingham. Now getting my student finance back alone I cannot afford the accomidation simply with the amount I get per week so I have turned my head to the cheapest accomidation the university offers simply by what I can afford however it would still only leave me with £19 left per week for food and everything else. This is where in many cases parents may help out but unfortunately mine aren't like that as soon as I'm 18 it's all my responsibility and they wont chip in in anyway as it was for my brother who is graduating university in July.Hoever he managed by the fact that my mum wasn't working at the time so got more for student finance.But with me being nursing student every 7 weeks for 7 weeks we go on placement which means travelling up to 30 miles so as any city is travel will be expensive.
I am hoping to work for bank(for nursing students to get extra cash but with no set hours you just pick a shift) but I cant start strait away.

So in short terms I need help in anyway whether other people have been in this situation and how they have managed or tips on how to use the money wisely

Many thanks

Emma x
Last edited by Emmax15; 4 weeks ago
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Snoozinghamster
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(Original post by Emmax15)
Hi,

I'm in a bit of a mess really I've tried to get this out of my head for my upcoming Alevel exams but I'm really struggling.
I have just received my amount for student finance back and it's no where near the amount I was expecting. Which I am awear there is nothing I can do to change it.

I'm hoping to study nursing in September at the university of Birmingham. Originally the accomidation I wanted was expensive but reasonable for living in Birmingham. Now getting my student finance back alone I cannot afford the accomidation simply with the amount I get per week so I have turned my head to the cheapest accomidation the university offers simply by what I can afford however it would still only leave me with £19 left per week for food and everything else. This is where in many cases parents may help out but unfortunately mine aren't like that as soon as I'm 18 it's all my responsibility and they wont chip in in anyway as it was for my brother who is graduating university in July.Hoever he managed by the fact that my mum wasn't working at the time so got more for student finance.But with me being nursing student every 7 weeks for 7 weeks we go on placement which means travelling up to 30 miles so as any city is travel will be expensive.
I am hoping to work for bank(for nursing students to get extra cash but with no set hours you just pick a shift) but I cant start strait away.

So in short terms I need help in anyway whether other people have been in this situation and how they have managed or tips on how to use the money wisely

Many thanks

Emma x
You say you’re getting a lot less than you expected. Do you mean you did the sf calculator and that’s not what you are getting, are you sure you’re parents filled in the forms correctly and that it has been means assessed?

Otherwise you’ll need to have a frank talk with your parents and explain how you loan is a lot lower than your brothers and how they are expected to help make up the difference. If that isn’t an option then potentially differing a year to work and save may be the best option.

As well as looking for any bursary’s or scholarships that may be available for you.
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Emmax15
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Yeah basically I did the student finance calculator and I thought I would get between 6-7k but with the amount I'm getting it says my parents earn £55,00 which frankly has never been the case.
Yeah I said to my mum that it wasn't enough and she said it was plenty and that she said that its what the government decides to give me so I cant do much.oh and I've also just contacted the university if they could help me.
(Original post by Snoozinghamster)
You say you’re getting a lot less than you expected. Do you mean you did the sf calculator and that’s not what you are getting, are you sure you’re parents filled in the forms correctly and that it has been means assessed?

Otherwise you’ll need to have a frank talk with your parents and explain how you loan is a lot lower than your brothers and how they are expected to help make up the difference. If that isn’t an option then potentially differing a year to work and save may be the best option.

As well as looking for any bursary’s or scholarships that may be available for you.
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Snoozinghamster
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(Original post by Emmax15)
Yeah basically I did the student finance calculator and I thought I would get between 6-7k but with the amount I'm getting it says my parents earn £55,00 which frankly has never been the case.
Yeah I said to my mum that it wasn't enough and she said it was plenty and that she said that its what the government decides to give me so I cant do much.oh and I've also just contacted the university if they could help me.
If the numbers are that far out then you might want to contact student finance to check that they’ve processed your information correctly cause that’s quite a big difference
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Emmax15
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I will thank you
(Original post by Snoozinghamster)
If the numbers are that far out then you might want to contact student finance to check that they’ve processed your information correctly cause that’s quite a big difference
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Izzythestudent
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As well as what others have said you may need to get a job- especially one over summer to help you
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Emmax15
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I do currently have a job now but even with what I have earned it was supposed to go towards buying things for uni ect.
(Original post by Izzythestudent)
As well as what others have said you may need to get a job- especially one over summer to help you
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Izzythestudent
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(Original post by Emmax15)
I do currently have a job now but even with what I have earned it was supposed to go towards buying things for uni ect.
I’m in the same position, living off £20 a week when i go to uni (in London). You may have to just get another job at uni and work extra hours to help. 😬
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Emmax15
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Awww that's horrible and London is a lot more too ... see I wanted to get a job like retail ect but the university said it's betterto do bank work with healthcare as I wont be in university on the same schedule as when I'm on placement as I will have to work weekends and lates unpaid as part of placement which makes it harder
(Original post by Izzythestudent)
I’m in the same position, living off £20 a week when i go to uni (in London). You may have to just get another job at uni and work extra hours to help. 😬
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winterscoming
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Firstly, don't let this affect your A-Level exams, as the above poster said, you can always defer a year to take some time out and save up a bit of money then re-apply again next year instead if you think the money is going to be too much of a problem. Your A-Level grades are more important than anything else right now.

Otherwise, I would start by looking for jobs over the summer as soon as you can to save up as much money as possible before the beginning of the course. You've potentially got 3-4 months where you could be working full-time and giving yourself a very comfortable buffer to live on. Try the temping agencies (e.g. Blue Arrow) if you can, and get in there early because temp agencies get loads of students over the summer so get to the front of the queue for those jobs now rather than later.

Also, how have you calculated the £19 per week? I don't know what the timetable of your course looks like, but most typical degrees only involve living at university around 28-30 weeks per-year, then living at home for the rest (Easter, Summer, Christmas). Obviously those holidays are good opportunities to get earn more as well.

In terms of making the best use of your money at university, it's mostly going to be about being smart about what you buy - especially when it comes to food.
A few ideas:
- Most importantly, learn to cook for yourself using good cheap staple ingredients. Avoid convenience foods because those are always hugely overpriced.
- Look for local markets and independent shops to buy food, because those can often be much cheaper than big shops.
- Wherever possible (long lasting cupboard food, household stuff, etc) try to buy it in bulk when it's on special offer for half-price or buy-1-get-1-free type deals.
- Go out of your way to find Discount stores like Aldi/Lidl and any local/independent discount markets. Also remember that you pay for convenience. So if a shop is in a convenient location (e.g. city centre tesco express) then the prices will be much higher than the Aldi or Lidl in the middle of nowhere out of town.
- Get to know the closing times of food shops and make a habit of getting there around 20-30 minutes before their closing time because that's when they'll have lots of heavily-reduced fresh food which goes out-of-date that day, but will usually still keep for a day or two longer, and you can always freeze it -- especially if the shop has a fresh bakery too. Even in super-expensive shops like a city-centre M&S food hall you could find a fresh loaf of bakery bread down to about 10p when it's within minutes of being thrown away, so timing is everything.

Also try to find out what the kitchen facilities are like at halls - do you need to bring your own kitchenware to cook with? Make sure you take a few tupperware boxes with you to Uni so that you can use them to freeze things. A microwavable dish would be a good idea too.

Do some research into the cheapest way to travel - e.g. can you buy a student bus pass which lasts the whole year?

What about the cost of your phone? can you save anything by getting a cheaper contract or switching to PAYG if you haven't already?

When it comes to items like clothing, can you get by the rest of the year with everything you have now? Probably safe to assume you won't be making any purchases like that at uni. If you do need to spend money on anything then always do the research beforehand. high-street shop prices and prices you see on the first page of Google results are usually the highest from bigger companies who spend more money on marketing. It takes time and effort to find cheaper options, discounts, second-hand items, etc..

Have you got everything you need in terms of computer equipment already? Does your university have facilities and provide you with student licences for things like MS office so that you can work at home? Best to get that sorted over the summer if not. (If your university won't give you an office licence then you can buy Office 2016 from any reputable ebay seller for about £3)

If you need any books for the course, you will probably be able to get by just with the Uni library - but if there's any you need that you can't get at the library, see whether any 3rd year students have any they'd like to sell or give away.

However, unless you're going to be earning a decent amount of money over the summer to live on, and at least some money during the term time, you're not going to have any kind of social life at uni, so I would think really carefully before attempting to live on £19 a week. It's not impossible but it could be pretty miserable. The way things are right now you won't even be able to afford to buy a coffee from the student union bar.
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Campus Living Villages
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Hi Emma, sorry to hear you're facing potential finance issues when you go into university. It may not be the solution to your problems, but we've created a few blogs that may point you in the right direction: Fun part-time jobs for students, Four ways to save money as a student, Three expert tips for student budgeting and How to make money as a student.
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Emmax15
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wow thankyou very much that's so helpful I will be sure to look into all this after my a levels are completed.and the £19 was a calculation of my maintenance loan by 42 weeks as im doing nursing the course is 42 weeks and accomidation is priced for 42 weeks and then I divided the remaining amount by 42 weeks which came to £19
(Original post by winterscoming)
Firstly, don't let this affect your A-Level exams, as the above poster said, you can always defer a year to take some time out and save up a bit of money then re-apply again next year instead if you think the money is going to be too much of a problem. Your A-Level grades are more important than anything else right now.

Otherwise, I would start by looking for jobs over the summer as soon as you can to save up as much money as possible before the beginning of the course. You've potentially got 3-4 months where you could be working full-time and giving yourself a very comfortable buffer to live on. Try the temping agencies (e.g. Blue Arrow) if you can, and get in there early because temp agencies get loads of students over the summer so get to the front of the queue for those jobs now rather than later.

Also, how have you calculated the £19 per week? I don't know what the timetable of your course looks like, but most typical degrees only involve living at university around 28-30 weeks per-year, then living at home for the rest (Easter, Summer, Christmas). Obviously those holidays are good opportunities to get earn more as well.

In terms of making the best use of your money at university, it's mostly going to be about being smart about what you buy - especially when it comes to food.
A few ideas:
- Most importantly, learn to cook for yourself using good cheap staple ingredients. Avoid convenience foods because those are always hugely overpriced.
- Look for local markets and independent shops to buy food, because those can often be much cheaper than big shops.
- Wherever possible (long lasting cupboard food, household stuff, etc) try to buy it in bulk when it's on special offer for half-price or buy-1-get-1-free type deals.
- Go out of your way to find Discount stores like Aldi/Lidl and any local/independent discount markets. Also remember that you pay for convenience. So if a shop is in a convenient location (e.g. city centre tesco express) then the prices will be much higher than the Aldi or Lidl in the middle of nowhere out of town.
- Get to know the closing times of food shops and make a habit of getting there around 20-30 minutes before their closing time because that's when they'll have lots of heavily-reduced fresh food which goes out-of-date that day, but will usually still keep for a day or two longer, and you can always freeze it -- especially if the shop has a fresh bakery too. Even in super-expensive shops like a city-centre M&S food hall you could find a fresh loaf of bakery bread down to about 10p when it's within minutes of being thrown away, so timing is everything.

Also try to find out what the kitchen facilities are like at halls - do you need to bring your own kitchenware to cook with? Make sure you take a few tupperware boxes with you to Uni so that you can use them to freeze things. A microwavable dish would be a good idea too.

Do some research into the cheapest way to travel - e.g. can you buy a student bus pass which lasts the whole year?

What about the cost of your phone? can you save anything by getting a cheaper contract or switching to PAYG if you haven't already?

When it comes to items like clothing, can you get by the rest of the year with everything you have now? Probably safe to assume you won't be making any purchases like that at uni. If you do need to spend money on anything then always do the research beforehand. high-street shop prices and prices you see on the first page of Google results are usually the highest from bigger companies who spend more money on marketing. It takes time and effort to find cheaper options, discounts, second-hand items, etc..

Have you got everything you need in terms of computer equipment already? Does your university have facilities and provide you with student licences for things like MS office so that you can work at home? Best to get that sorted over the summer if not. (If your university won't give you an office licence then you can buy Office 2016 from any reputable ebay seller for about £3)

If you need any books for the course, you will probably be able to get by just with the Uni library - but if there's any you need that you can't get at the library, see whether any 3rd year students have any they'd like to sell or give away.

However, unless you're going to be earning a decent amount of money over the summer to live on, and at least some money during the term time, you're not going to have any kind of social life at uni, so I would think really carefully before attempting to live on £19 a week. It's not impossible but it could be pretty miserable. The way things are right now you won't even be able to afford to buy a coffee from the student union bar.
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jamiejay
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Do you definitely want to go to Birmingham? Maybe you could apply to a university in a cheaper city?
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stoyfan
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(Original post by Emmax15)
Yeah basically I did the student finance calculator and I thought I would get between 6-7k but with the amount I'm getting it says my parents earn £55,00 which frankly has never been the case.
Yeah I said to my mum that it wasn't enough and she said it was plenty and that she said that its what the government decides to give me so I cant do much.oh and I've also just contacted the university if they could help me.
You should have told your parents that if the government gives you less if your household income is greater as they expect that your parents are capable of giving you a greater amount of money for your living costs.

This is how the student loans system works. The government would pay for your tuition fees and some of your maintanence loans, and your parents are expected to cover the rest of the costs (of course, when you earn more than 25k, you are supposed to pay off the loan. If you go to uni at Birmingham, then you are expected to recieve £8,944 as part of your maintanence loan. So £6500 will come from the government and £2444 is supposed to come from your parents.

Of course, this system is far from perfect as most parents don't even realise that they are supposed to cover some of the cost, not to mention that it doesn't take into account whether you have multiple siblings in uni!

Do explain this to your parents and negotiate some kind of financial plan where they cover at least some of the £2444. Get a job at uni and look for some scolarships if you think that you aren't getting enough money. Who knows, when you move in, you might find that you confortable cut your living costs, making this a non-issue.

ALSO, you need to make sure that you get into your uni in the first place, so worry about money after you done your A level exams.
Last edited by stoyfan; 3 weeks ago
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Emmax15
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#15
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Ahhha yeah my parents are awear of this but simply believe that I should have to sort it out for myself. Harsh parents but some people are luckier than others who have their parents help
(Original post by stoyfan)
You should have told your parents that if the government gives you less if your household income is greater as they expect that your parents are capable of giving you a greater amount of money for your living costs.

This is how the student loans system works. The government would pay for your tuition fees and some of your maintanence loans, and your parents are expected to cover the rest of the costs (of course, when you earn more than 25k, you are supposed to pay off the loan. If you go to uni at Birmingham, then you are expected to recieve £8,944 as part of your maintanence loan. So £6500 will come from the government and £2444 is supposed to come from your parents.

Of course, this system is far from perfect as most parents don't even realise that they are supposed to cover some of the cost, not to mention that it doesn't take into account whether you have multiple siblings in uni!

Do explain this to your parents and negotiate some kind of financial plan where they cover at least some of the £2444. Get a job at uni and look for some scolarships if you think that you aren't getting enough money. Who knows, when you move in, you might find that you confortable cut your living costs, making this a non-issue.

ALSO, you need to make sure that you get into your uni in the first place, so worry about money after you done your A level exams.
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