Budgeting as a Student 

Budgeting is hard enough without being a student but as a student, it’s 10x worse. People think students are made of money, especially my parents. They think because we get a termly loan in bulk that it lasts forever and we can live off it. This isn’t true at all.

In fact, throughout the whole of my student life I’ve always had money problems and had to work. It just happens. Life happens, you may need dental treatment, car needs insuring or perhaps your laptop breaks. These things happen and you have to decide whether it’s worth funding and whether you have the money for it.

What’s worse is that nobody prepares you to do your own finances. There isn’t a class that you go to before you finish school that helps you figure out how to sort your life out. You’re thrown into the deep end and you’re automatically supposed to know how to do it. In fact, in my first year of uni I was so unprepared that I’ve gone £1000 into an overdraft and haven’t properly paid it back yet.

Before I headed to uni I sat down and tried to figure out how I’ll survive with a very minimal student loan and having to find a job that pays enough to last me a week and allows me to save money.

Step 1: I figured out how much loan I get per term. This allowed me to see what I can pay for and how long the money will last.

Step 2: How much rent do you have to pay? Do you own a car? Children? Pets? Figure out what priorities you have and what you could remove to help minimise the amount of money that goes out each month.

For me, my mum pays my phone bill still so I only had to pay my accommodation, credit card, new look store card and my course fees.

Step 3: Determine how much you have left and how much you need to spend a week to allow you to last the term with the rest of your money.

Step 4: I knew I needed a job to maintain a healthy bank balance during my masters so I figured out how many hours I would need a week to give me enough money to cater for me. I figured I’d need at least a 20 hour a week job that gives me around £140 a week. Most of which I can save.


Helpful tip: Use a budget organiser to keep yourself in track of your finances. Either make your own or you can get one from paperchase and other stores. They’re incredibly worth while for you to figure out what you’ve been spending your money on and areas that you need to cut down on.

Twitter: @_bethdaviesblog

Instagram: @_bbbbethan

With love, Beth x

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What To Take To University 

University is the most fun but nerving experience. Especially if you’ve ever lived alone it’s more than likely going to worry you for weeks. What do you need to take? Well by now I can assume you’ve read years worth of Freshers week guides and shopping lists. However, take it from a recent graduate and soon to be masters student, you don’t need to take everything including the kitchen sink to last you through your degree. Here’s my list of things to pack and purchase to be prepared for you time as a newly found fresher.

Remember before you begin o pack check your accommodation for the appliances that they supply, you don’t want to turn up on moving day and find all 8 of you have a kettle and toaster. Not necessary and a waste of money especially since a lot of the time you’ll be provided this in the communicable areas. 

Reminder: YOU CAN PURCHASE THESE THINGS ONLINE AND IN STORE WHEN YOU ARRIVE. You’re not moving to the middle of the sea. Get the basics and buy what you need. 

Kitchen: 

The most important and worrying for me was to know what to pack kitchen wise. It’s hard to prepare for every single meal you’ll ever make for the whole year. I’ll continue to repeat this, so just take the basics. 

  • 4 pieces of cutlery. 
  • 2 dishes. 
  • 2 plates. 
  • 2 glasses. 
  • 2 mugs. 
  • Culinder. 
  • Bottle opener. 
  • 2 sharp cutting knives. 
  • chopping board. 
  • Baking tray. 
  • 2 sauce pans. 
  • 1 frying pan or wok. Both are useful but can be used. No need for both.
  • Tin opener.

These things will get you buy for several weeks and anything extra buy from amazon or your local wilko. 

Personal items: 

If you don’t need too, don’t take everything. You honestly don’t need to take every book you’ve ever read or ever film you may watch eventually. 

  • Computer/laptop 
  • Printer – isn’t necessary as the universities have their own, although it is useful.
  • 2.5 weeks worth of clothes. You don’t need more than that, washing machines are a wonderful invention. 
  • Lots and lots of underwear – I bought extra because you lose these in washing machines, things get old and tear. Buy them whilst you have the money. 
  • 4 towels – again, useful. 
  • Medication.
  • Glasses (if needed). 
  • Makeup and other beauty tools (straighteners, hair drier, tooth brush). 
  • Photo graphs. They’re nice to make a room feel a little more comforting. 
  • Posters – walls look lonely. 

Anything necessary you see fit. Again, you don’t need to take your whole bedroom. 

Other: 

  • Duvet 
  • Pillows 
  • Bedding x 3
  • Bath mat. 
  • Some books. 
  • A TV may come in use with an console if wanted but remember, you have to pay for your own TV License (see your accommodation pack for more information).
  • Stationary – you will need this! A lot of it. I totally recommend the wilko budget brand, don’t break the bank. You will run through a lot and lose plenty. 

I totally recommend doing a food shop when you arrrive instead of buying before you set off. We don’t live in the Stone Age, there will be supermarkets available. 

Fresher’s Week Survival Guide

As the days go by fresher’s week is approaching and so many students are wondering how amazing fresher’s week is going to be. Except what they don’t think about is how unwell they’ll become if they don’t care for themselves or the practical decisions to make in order to make sure you don’t blow all of your money during the week and be left without any money at all for the rest of the term. Having experienced many fresher’s weeks I’ve managed to learn a few tips and tricks in order to survive the most incredible but exhausting week you’re about to experience. 

So, continue to read on about how you can survive your first week from uni. Remember to be careful when enjoying your week, you’ll more than likely be in a new place with new people and as exciting it is, not all people can be trusted. Ensure you never leave your drink alone and to be safe when heading out and not to head home alone. Please don’t feel pressured into doing anything you don’t particularly feel comfortable doing and make sure you know your drinking limits. 

1- This is probably the most important tip I have to cope through fresher’s week. Budget, by doing this you’ll be able to set aside money for each night that you’re out and as long as you stick to it you won’t end up completely bankrupt and calling your parents asking for money before the week even ends. I suggest planning a budget on the day you get there or the day before and budget for around £30 a night and to buy alcohol from a supermarket for pre-drinks as this is the way to get drunk and you won’t have to spend as much money when you’re out. You more than likely won’t go out every single night as well, which does follow onto my next tip.

2- Fresher’s week does fly by and with that at the end you’ll be exhausted and the dreaded fresher’s flu will begin. To prevent having the worst cold of your entire life, take a few nights out. You may find you aren;t interested in some of the events that are being held and on those nights I totally recommend having a hot bath/shower, have a proper meal and head to bed for an early-ish night. Yes, the old lady in me has come out but it’s so important that you maintain your health and well-being during the week and the continuing term. 

3- You’ll find across the week that you’re going to meet people or a specific someone that you think is totally incredible and gorgeous and with that.. well you know what happens. Ensure you take precautions to stop any unwanted accidents happening. Whether you visit your local doctor before heading to uni to be placed on birth control, condoms are still an important factor of safe sex. 

4- You’ll definitely have your fair share of take-away’s during the week but try and have a few properly cooked homemade meals. Doing this will provide you the nutrients and a healthy balanced diet as well as a method to help you last longer whilst you’re out. It’s never nice to feel starving, bloated and unwell when you’re drinking and yes, heavily drinking. 

5- Do other things than just drink. You’ll be in a new place and it’ll all be totally differnt, yes you’ll have three years of your life to explore but you’ll find that people in your building will be doing certain things. So get involved and this is an extra important thing to do as you’ll be able to meet friends outside of your flat. 

There we have it, some tips and tricks on how to survive freshers week safely and appropriately! I hope you enjoy your first fresher’s week and continue to enjoy your degree, it’ll be the fastest years of your life but the most incredble and rewarding experience you’ll ever have. 

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With love, Beth x 

What’s Up, Buttercup?

During the past 5 weeks a lot of things have happened but most importantly of all, I received my university classification and I realised I have to get my shit together. 

I graduated Aberystwyth University with a upper second class honours degree in Childhood Studies BA Hons (2:1). This is a huge achievement that I’m extremely proud of, in fact I can’t believe it’s happened. I’ve spent the last 3 years working so incredibly hard to achieve this degree and I never thought I would achieve the grade that I did, let alone have a first in my dissertation. 

However, nobody prepares you to finish university and enter the real world and become a proper adult. I honestly believe that there should be a third year module called How to Adult. This should be on all higher education courses. 

So, I had decisions to make. To move home, find a full time job and make a start on adulting. Or another option, stay in university and do a Masters of Arts degree. Well, after serious consideration I’m prepared for 2 more years in university to study a MA degree in Equality and Diversity in Society. 

Only three years ago I was preparing to study my first degree, now I’m preparing to move to a new town and study my next. Am I ready to start adulting? Absolutely not. Do I have to do it anyway? Absolutely, just throw myself in the deep end and pray that I can swim. 

MA degrees are funded differently and I don’t have student finance to pay my tuition fees for me now. Instead, I’ll receive a 10,000 loan for the 2 year period and £6000 of that will be spent on the course. Therefore I need a job with plenty of hours and a decent pay to fund my lifestyle and bills. It’ll be hard yes, but I’m so looking forward to a fresh start and a change in lifestyle. 

Onto the next adventure! 

10 Difficulties of Being a Student

The general stereotypes that students have aren’t always necessarily true. A popular stereotype that I have come across in university is that, being a student is an easy way to avoid employment. I have to say that this one really frustrates me because I have such a strong work ethic and I’m always prepared for new employment when it comes my way, so hearing comments like this grinds my bones. A few other stereotypes are that students are lazy, we don’t earn our way through life and best of all one that I received a lot from people that I know, people who go to university are stuck up and snobby. Student life is a lot harder than people understand and it is especially difficult if you move away from home like I did. I’m so grateful for the experience I’ve had from moving away from home and I am forever thankful that I was able to move away from home because it encouraged me to become more an adult. However, it’s not easy to do and now my undergraduate degree is coming to an end, it’s saddening to see such a wonderful time in my life has gone by so fast. I thought I would share with you guys some of my difficulties that I’ve faced over the three years as a student in Abersytwyth. 

1- Something I never done before moving away from home was learn how to cook and at 18 I had minimal basic knowledge. Having to learn how to cook was probably the most challenging yet rewarding thing to do. It’s a known fact that going to university helps you to grow into an adult and in my experience, this means learning how to actually cook healthy and nutritious meals. In my first year I was always eating out or having microwave meals and I tell you, doing this is not healthy and I definitely gained at least 3 stone. If not more. So when I reached the summer of my first year I knew that I needed to change my habits and by doing this I managed to lose almost 2 stone in weight and become more confident in the kitchen. Now a third year I’m always making meals from scratch and freezing them for a later date, this is not only healthy but a money saver. 

2- Living away from home is hard, really bloody hard. Aberystwyth is around 2.5 hours away from my hometown and not having my closest friends and family around when I need them the most is so hard. It’s not as if my mother is around the corner to comfort me when I’m feeling unwell or sad or to call my best friends for a heavy night out to celebrate high assignment grades or new jobs. However, over my time in university I’ve formed lifelong friendships with people who I now know as my family. They’re the people I go to when I need comforting and support, something I learned I had to do since I could no longer rely on people from home like I used to. My brother Daniel and I are incredibly close and he is definitely someone I miss the most about my hometown. Although technology is a wonderful thing of the 21st century and I’m so grateful to have him on the end of the phone for a chat when I need him. 

3- Being a student is expensive and although I do have a student loan, it doesn’t last forever. Sometimes I do wish I had gone to a university in a city as it may have been easier to get myself a part time job as in Aber they don’t come around very often. You don’t realise how expensive it really is to live alone, pay rent etc but that’s why I think university is such a good experience as you learn to appreciate your money more and have an opportunity to understand more about how to budget your finances to last you the full term. I’m also a sucker for new makeup releases and can never resist.. always so bloody poor.  

4- The stresses of doing actual academic work is so overwhelming that it literally messes with your mental health. You become so overwhelmed with having so such reading, planning and writing to do that it can either go two ways 1. overwhelmed with everything you don’t stop doing work for days and before you know it you’ve been awake for 3 days straight. 2. You don’t know where to start with your pile of work so you just leave it, take a nap and procrastinate for a few hours/days/weeks and hope things get better. In my case it’s usually the second after having an extreme panic attack and total meltdown. 

5- Sleeping become non-existent, especially in your first year when you’re so full of excitement about adulthood and living away from home. Eventually when the summer comes you organise your sleeping pattern better and go to bed at normal times of the day until September appears again and you’re spending your day sleeping and your night wondering how you got back to the same situation all over again. 

6- Maintaining a balance in your life is probably the worst thing about being a student. You literally have so much to do that you don’t even know where to start so you don’t do anything at all. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve totally given up, locked my bedroom door and started to binge watch a new T.V series and once the show is over I’ll make my way back into reality to do it all over again. I’ve watched some bloody good T.V shows in my three years as a student though.

Image result for balancing a student life

7- At the beginning of my degree I was dead set that I would become a primary school teacher. That’s all I ever wanted to be since Year 7. Until my second year of uni and I hated everything to do with literacy and general primary school teaching so the time came when I knew I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. My course bored me, the modules were all education based and I literally never turned up to any lectures or seminars.  My future scared me and I wanted nothing to do with making plans so I ignored it. At 19 I really didn’t want to make any decisions on what career path I would take, instead I probably ordered myself a take away and watched High School Musical for the 1000th time in hopes that someone would make the decision for me. They didn’t but I still love High School Musical. 

8- Making friends isn’t easy. You have to remember that your friends at home you most likely met in primary school or high school, meaning that 5 days a week you were forced to be their friends. So when you go to university and you meet new people some people excel in this area and others have a melt down and don’t know where to start. For some they stick to their flatmates and others join a sport/society and meet friends for life. It’s not like the films when you meet your best friend in the welcome talk, you actually have to leave your bed to meet people. 

9- When you move into halls you’ll be living with total strangers. People who all have different ways of living, some are messy and others are really organise. You need to create a balance with the new people in your life as they’ll be around you for a full year with no control. In your second and third year you can finally choose your own flatmates and it’s fun but you’re still wondering why you’re the only person to be buying toilet roll and why nobody else mops the floor but it’s easier. A whole lot easier because they’re your friend and you picked them. 

10- Being unwell isn’t fun but being unwell when your mother isn’t around to love you and rub your head whilst you sleep is literally the worst thing in the world. Whether it’s a cold or a major illness, you always need your mum to give you a bit of TLC and when she isn’t there you feel more sorry for yourself than you probably should. For me, I was diagnosed with kidney stones at the end of my second year and I was fortunate enough to only be without my mum for a few weeks but during those times I genuinely thought I would never be comforted or loved by a mother again. Admittedly, my boyfriend was fantastic at it but it wasn’t quite the same. 

Let me know what your difficulties are/were as a student.Check out my social media too: 

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With love, B x