London is known as one of the most expensive cities in the world. Many might think of glitzy buildings and skyscrapers, but reality is different! Decrepit buildings all around New Cross, the borough I now proudly call my 2nd home. Expectation is high-street shops everywhere, reality is an interconnected web of more developed districts such as Westminster, and less developed ones, like Lewisham.
However, even living in the seemingly “less expensive” boroughs in London requires you to have a substantial amount of cash at your disposal… And trust me, far more than you’d ever spend in Berlin, where I’m from, for sure!
So now, to the story how I even ended up without money in this city! My old job at Pret a toll on my health, so I had to call it quits. And such, I made the mistake of quitting before I even had a job in the first place – and still continuing with my spending habits as if I was still well employed and earning!
Luckily, my family came to my rescue and gave me that all-needed cash injection. Here are my take-aways so the same doesn’t happen to you:
Stock up on the food
As a student, you don’t have time to do your shopping daily… Between assignments and social life, you already are so busy looking for a part-time job! Daily shopping sprees will become a particularly bad habit once you find that coveted job and have even less time on your hands! Furthermore, buying in bulk not only saves time, but money as well!
Look into meal-prep to make your meals both, healthy and not that time-consuming. Your body will thank you, and your friends too, because you have more time for them. Your grades will go up since you can focus more on your assignments, and most thankful of all: Your wallet.
Cut out the daily going out
Now, I am the first to advocate having a night out getting wasted with your friends to Jägerbombs whilst listening to blackbear at a trendy venue every now and then. Still, I do realise that usually, blowing cash comes with blowing your worries away! My love-hate relationship with partying has taken a radical shift once I’ve realised where my money actually went… Spending 100 pounds on a night out could get you comfortably through 10 days as a student! So why pick instant gratification over delayed gratification?
So you go out partying and reach the peak “want” point, every day, until you reach that crucial tipping point wherein it has a negative impact on your life – once you’ve blown all your cash on partying, what do you have left to blow on your wellbeing?
Don’t be ashamed to ask for help
If you’re like me, then you know the guilt which comes over you once you have to utter the words “I have no money” to your parents. Well, in this world, it’s either “get rich or die [crying yourself to hunger and thirst]”. You might not want to bother your parents, but think of it this way: You’re a student. You’re learning the art of dealing with your own finances. You’ve tried, you’ve hit a dead end, you get back up and try again… And helping you get back up, that’s the job of your parents!
University time might bring you independence, but in actuality, see it as adult life on trial mode: You get to explore the outcomes of different choices that you make. You get to find your own self. You will, inevitably, end up in the red one day or another… Then you’ll find the courage to tell your parents the truth, to show them that you’ve learned: And that will make them proud.
In a nutshell:
Prepare, prioritise, persevere. The 3 Ps of personal finance. Stick to them, and you’ll avoid the dreaded red zone with ease!