Studying and the ability to save are mutually exclusive.
If you’ve somehow mastered the wizardry that is having money saved while attending all your lectures, I’m not convinced you’re real.
Cheap beer, packet noodles and thrift stores - oh the joys of investing in your future.
Chip saver, Tara, is in her final year of her Computer Science degree and channels all our student money woes.
“Every time my student loan comes in, I do the same thing every time: SPEND IT ALL."
We hear you, Tara.
We took five to find out the realities of putting money aside when you don’t have much money to begin with...
Tara: I’m a uni student. I completed a placement year last year at a law firm, working full time on their technology team. I am still working there this year, just part-time.
While on my placement last year, I was getting paid £1200 a month, which was a huge difference from a student budget of £550 a month at a push!
I could and have lived on £500 a month, which is quite tight when you take grocery shopping, washing and bills into consideration. Being able to go out once a week was a luxury!
Now, I’m living off £650, and it is quite a cushy life!
Tara: My manager at work told me of the automatic saves and how she didn’t even feel it, and then voila she had all this money put away!
So, I wanted to see for myself.
My parents have told me my whole life that I need to have some money put away for a rainy day, and so I wanted to feel like I had some money put aside.
I’ve become more aware of my money and my radical spending on things I most definitely do not need, so I decided to make a change and thought Chip could help.
Tara: I was appalling at it. I used to live paycheque to paycheque each month, which is a terrible way to live.
Having to save is quite a new thing to me in that I’ve never felt the need to do so before now.
I’ve always had the privilege of getting student loans, 0% student overdrafts and bursaries from my uni, although, it’s recently come to my attention that those are now coming to a close with my final year.
It’s daunting but it’s been a good enough incentive to learn how to save and budget.
Tara: I had tried another app previously, but felt it was too controlling.
I am very much the type of person who, when I want to buy something that I don’t need, the idea of buying stays in my head.
Despite the app telling me I couldn’t afford it, I would buy it anyways. Oops.
Tara: My initial idea was to save some cash to spend on Christmas presents, and so I put away £200 from my student bursary.
I soon figured I had plenty of time and a few more paydays after I downloaded Chip in September to when I planned to go home for Christmas to figure out presents, so I decided to change my goal.
My friends have been going out most weeks, I feel like I’m constantly rejecting their offers because of my dedication to my studies.
They had been organising a trip to Amsterdam in June to go to a festival called Awakenings, and I got quite jealous of the thought of a getaway.
With the burden of my studies getting me down, I really wanted to have something to look forward to when I finally handed in my never-ending dissertation and had completed my exams.
So, I created a new goal in Chip called “Awakenings 🕺”!
Tara: I'd started putting money aside in September, and by Boxing Day I had saved £320! So I took the plunge to book flights to Amsterdam, and have just paid for my accommodation, too.
The only thing left is to buy the festival ticket when it goes on sale at the end of January.
Tara: Sending that message in the group chat saying I had booked my flights was such an incredible moment for me - I was so proud of myself.
I had done something that I didn’t think I could do!
I’m ecstatic that I was actually able to save and now have something to look forward to when I finish my degree!
It was so, so easy to save with Chip. Absolutely effortless.
Chip decided how much I could afford to save (past me would have said “I can’t afford to save anything this week”), the saves were automatic and moved from my bank once or twice a week, meaning I didn’t notice them going out.
If I desperately needed the cash that week, I was also able to cancel the automatic save or lower the amount to fit with my outgoings.
It was so simple and has made me feel confident in myself, my ability to save and made me feel good about money!
Tara: It’s difficult trying to be an adult when you’re never really taught how.
A lot of students think they can spend money on clothes and shoes and luxuries when their parents don’t have a say in their finances. Very few students know how to budget when they start uni, and going out, takeaways and Tesco meal deals don’t help in teaching us how!
Personally I don’t think being able to save while studying is a necessity, but budgeting definitely should be.
When you’re a student, if you’ve got a little extra cash, it’s kept for an extra double vodka on a night out, or that pair of earrings that’d go nice with your outfit for the weekend.
The necessities get paid and anything that’s leftover (which is quite minimal) is for you to have some fun with, that’s what the uni experience is all about of course.
Then when you’re in your final year and you know in the back of your head that you’re gonna need to pay rent by yourself next year, then I think it makes sense to think about putting money aside.
Tara: My next goal is to save for a £400 deposit to rent a flat, as I won’t have the safety net of student loans to pay for my accommodation after I graduate.
I will need to put a deposit down in May/June time, so hopefully I will be a super saver by then!
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