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I’m in a space of void. And I can’t find the passages. This is a job for many lists and a lot of mathematics. Sorry.

The Backstory

I’ve applied for two masters courses, in the hope of being accepted to one of them. I’ve got sent off applications for another part-time job and a new volunteering job. I’ve signed for another year living in Brighton.

I’ll be continuing my volunteering work on a mental health youth panel, voluntary work with learning disabled adults, paid job on campus, running a meditation society, and finishing my BSc.

This summer will be spent doing –hopefully-:

–          work [for money]

–          work [for uni]

–          work [voluntary]

–          exams [for uni]

–          courses [Makaton, Aspergers, Mental Capacity, ASIST & Safeguarding]

–          groups [calmness & rockclimbing]

–          buddhafield festival [hippie camp]

–          yoga&bellydance classes

–          writing novel #3

–          editing novel #2

–          painting

–          drawing

–          photographing

–          druid circles

–          pub moots

–          meditation society

–          seeing my other half

–          graduation [grrrrr]

A lot of these cost money; thus, I’ll need to earn as much money as I spend. I’ve done come rough calculations and have come to the conclusion that ideally I’d have £550 for to cover the above items.

And as I’m a student who got her first/only pay-check in February; money’s a bit tight at the moment and does define a pretty important chunk of my life; controlling my attendance to spiritually-enhancing events and my almost sane psychological health.

A Breakdown of the Year Ahead

It’s good to plan, but, it’s hard for me to budget when I have no regular income. I can only work when asked.

I have a casual £7 an hour job; which I worked 4 hours worth in the space of 11 weeks.. I wasn’t asked to work more than that. I do get £1,000 off the government per term, yet pay £1284 rent for the term… and then need to eat, pay bills and have some form of life.

Thus, for the past quarter – my monthly budget looks a bit like…

  • Rent = 321
  • Utilities = 40
  • Mobile phone = 5
  • Groceries = 100 [down by £16 from Autumn term]
  • Outings = 41

= £500 a month

This is based on the facts that I only top up my phone £10 every term and utilities can be £10 or £80 so… Let’s say 3,500 a term [10-12 weeks].

And my income was therefore, £1,000 + earnings of… well; I got my earnings to £91 this term.

So.. money is an issue. As with 97% of the population of the earth.

–       It’s important to note that though I get income from bonds maturing at my next birthday of something massive like £3000; my rent will be over £3,500; my masters will cost £4,700 and I need to eat/pay bills/vaguely have a life.

My Plan For Summer

I wish I could read all the books; work out a budget based on my income and therefore start saving for my future.  However with an income of £1249 in the ten weeks of term; which cost me £1644 [bills, outings, food, rent, travel] + outings.. it’s hard to put -£500 in a savings account.

So, based on my £7 an hour casual job and the money I made this term; here are my tangible goals for the next quarter (summer term):

–       Income from paid psychology studies: £50-100

–       Income from work:

  • Ideally: £450-600+
  • Realistically: £250

–       Save my pocket-money-thing ~ about £100 for 4 months

–       Final loan instalment is £1119.62

–       Buddhafield predicted costs? Anywhere from £100-250   ~ 4hour train costs £48-150. 6-9hour coach for £50

–       Weekly grocery budget: £20

Methods I’ll be Utilising

I’ve also got some tricks up my sleeve in order to meet these goals – if you have any to add, please leave a comment!!!

Batch Cooking

– I did get into a habit of batch-cooking. I know how to make a meal last three nights. I do it about once every fortnight. It wouldn’t take much to get that habit to twice a week.

Using Cupboard Staples

–        I have dried and tinned food that my parents bought in bulk. Thanks to an offer on Quorn in Sainsburys; I know that when I return to University in four weeks time I already have:

  • Rice
  • Pasta
  • Noodles
  • Quorn for 3-4 meals
  • Frozen vegetables
  • Tuna
  • Soup
  • Cereal bars
  • Peanuts
  • Fruit Juice
  • Oats
  • Cereal
  • Tea
  • Spaghetti
  • Tinned Fruit
  • Sultanas
  • Frankfurters
  • Tinned tomatos
  • Marmite
  • Potato bake sauce
  • Pasta Bake sauce

–        So all I’ll really need to buy is fresh fruit, vegetables, milk, bread, butter, ham, sausages, herbs [basil] & potatoes and I’m set.

–        With a goal of keeping my weekly shop below £20; this is a very handy thing.

Drink Water

–        I’m aware that I drink between 10 and 25 mugs of tea a day. I am not kidding you. I drink chai, nettle, green, jasmine & mint teas. Or boiled water if I get sick of them.

–        But I don’t drink water much; despite it being my favourite drink 4 years ago.

–        It will probably save me quite a lot of money to just switch 2 or 3 cups of tea a day for water. Within ten days I’ll have saved a pack of nettle tea.

Use the Coupons!

–        I’m a sainsburys shopper. I have a nectar card which I ask my housemates to use to give me extra points. I get a silly little voucher every week with my shopping. Sometimes it’s “Spend £40 and get £4 off!”; which won’t help me. However, sometimes it’s “£5 off your next shop; no minimum spend required” or “Earn triple points!”.  And they either never make it to my purse – as I put the receipt in my shopping bags, or I forget about it until I receive the new one (having already paid).

–        I know I could be saving money and it really takes NO effort to put it in my purse and check my purse for vouchers when I get my debit card out.

Online Earnings!

–        I’m on pigsback and a survey thing [YouGov] which may pay me some money in the next year if I keep up my responses and check them often enough. When I run low of money, I’ll be hoping to put two shops on my nectar card points alone.
How do you keep within your means?  Any tips for the frugal student without a solid income?

In Light,