Budgeting and saving money whilst being a student can feel near to impossible and we as student nurses have the added pressure of course costs such as placement travel, new uniform, replacement badges, parking etc. During one of my 7 week placements the cost of travel racked up to a whopping £700 and with food and accomodation costs on top of that the amount I spent was quickly nearing £1,000. Although I had a part time job at that point my placement was Monday-Friday so being able to do extra shifts was difficult. I quickly found my overdraft was maxed out and I was having to borrow money. 6 months later I have finally paid off my overdraft and started saving again. So I’m going to ramble on for a while about some tips I found useful whilst still being able to complete your placements and have fun as a student (including shopping!)
- Firstly, make sure you have a good student bank account with a 0% interest overdraft. This means that even if you do need to go into your overdraft for any reason you have the reassurance that the number won’t multiply whilst you’re trying to pay it off. Many banks also have great incentives for students such as free railcards or amazon prime memberships. Find out more and compare bank accounts here: https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/students/student-bank-account/
- Our course is not easy and a lot of time is already taken up by study and placement. A part time or bank job can be a perfect way of bringing in money when you have the time. Many hospitals, nursing homes etc are often looking for HCA’s or other roles on the bank, making it extremely flexible and also benefits your knowledge and skills related to care. Make sure you take care of yourself and don’t push yourself too far as it will be easy to become exhausted. Also ensure that you are putting your degree first before any paid work, including not missing lectures or days of placement to work instead.
- Budgeting your food shop is a perfect way to save money. We’re fortunate in Guildford that we have a range of supermarkets including Aldi and Tesco. Top tip, don’t shop when you’re hungry! You will want to buy everything you see and your food shop will quickly add up. Another way to avoid this is to make a list of what you really need before you go and stick only to this list. Avoid branded food as much as possible and go for the supermarkets own version, they’re often exactly the same but can be half the price.
- Although from 2017 cohort onwards we are no longer eligible for the NHS bursary we can benefit from the Learning Support Fund. It can be complicated but is definitely worth the struggle of applying for travel reimbursement, dual accomodation and other financial support they provide. There is a lot of advice on whether you are eligible and how to fill out the form online and on Surrey Learn.
- Student and NHS discount! An advantage of being a student nurse means you get student and NHS discount. Unidays, NUS and Student Beans offers discount codes for many popular shops and restaurants online and offline. Also look into NHS discount websites, this can get you discount on cinema tickets, days out, restaurants etc. It is awful worth researching discounts such as railcards and seasonal travel passes for more savings. Discount codes are perfect ways to save but still be able to have fun and go out as a normal student (and shop).
- Keep track of your income and outgoings on paper each month so you can see where most of your money is going. It will help identify areas that you might need to cut back on the next month such as food or drink. It will also aid in planning the month ahead if you already know your contracted outgoings and incomings such as phone bills, rent, and housing bills.
If you are finding yourself stressed over your financial situation please don’t suffer in silence, go to Surrey Hive where they can offer you further advice on your finances including the Hardship fund provided at Surrey. Also contact well-being if you are feeling stressed, worried or down as they can support you.
Author: Tia Dolphin, Year 2 student
Disclaimer: This blog contains personal opinions of students only and does not necessarily represent the views of the Children’s Nursing team, School of Health Sciences or the University of Surrey.
If you’re interested in writing a blog post for us – whether it’s a one-off about something in Nursing you’re passionate on, or as a regular contributor, please email Beth Phillips (firstname.lastname@example.org), Ellie Mee (email@example.com), Maddie McConnell (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Tia Dolphin (email@example.com) – we’d love to hear from you!