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By Assya Dimia

Tips for surviving university on a tight budget - Vol. 3

3 min
Assya Dimia profile

Welcome back to our top tips for supporting yourself financially through university. Here, students like you share their tips, tricks and hacks for good money management, as well as giving advice on spending wisely.

Today we hear from Assya Dimia, a third-year medical student. Assya applied to Aston University via the Widening Participation Programme, designed to help those from low-income backgrounds optimise their chances of being accepted into medical school.

Here she talks about the challenges she faced when managing her finances, while also offering her top tips for successfully supporting yourself through university.

Managing your finances

Managing my finances was a big challenge for me. It was very tempting (and still is) to spend ‘just a few pounds’ on bits and bobs like takeaways, books and make-up. When it comes to spending money I’ve made many mistakes, especially in my first two years of medical school.

Being on placement has made me a lot more conscious about my spending. It’s taught me to be mindful of my finances, and I’ve finally stopped asking myself: “Where did all my money go?”

Planning your daily expenses

One thing I’ve started doing is planning my daily expenses. I take into account how much money I have and divide it per month. For example, £230 a month will cover my travel, phone bill, food and toiletry expenses (excluding accommodation, since I’m a home student).

I then divide it again per week and stick to that budget. If I happen to spend less in a particular week, I save this money rather than spending it.

Prepping your meals

Meal prepping goes a long way. Leftovers from yesterday’s dinner? Add a bit of salad and you have tomorrow’s lunch! It’s tempting to spend a ‘mere’ £1.60 at Greggs, but a few too many will eat up your money without you even realising.

Staying away from your savings

One big rule I have for myself is to never touch my savings. I’ll only allow myself to use this money if it’s an emergency.

To fund my nights out, coffees and so on, I’ve taken on a part-time job as an online tutor. Not only has tutoring taught me to appreciate the value of money even more, it’s also helped me to become more effective at time management.

In medicine we’re expected to cover a lot of content in a short period of time, so by taking part in extra-curricular activities, I’ve been able to distribute my time more appropriately.

This year I was very fortunate to receive funding from the Wesleyan Trust. I’m very grateful to have received this funding, as it has helped tremendously with travel costs during my first term on placement.

I had to wait quite a while before receiving a swift card, which covers buses and trains, so without the funding I would have found it very difficult to travel to and from my placement.

Thanks to the funds, I was also able to strengthen the bonds I have with my peers and friends over a nice bubble tea. I feel very privileged to have received financial support from the Wesleyan Trust, and I salute their drive to support students like me throughout their academic years.

Living on a budget can be hard, especially since your time at university is meant to be your ‘best years’. But managing your finances well by budgeting and knowing where you stand can make the process a lot easier.

Thank you to Assya for sharing her top tips on budgeting for university. We hope you found them useful, and if you have any money management tips to share, get in touch with us on Instagram @thewesnextstep.

You can also find more tips in volumes one and two of surviving university on a tight budget.

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