As a veterinary nursing student there are lots of expenses to think about.
You might be surprised how quickly it all adds up once you get to college or university – especially when you’re settling into student life, or if this is the first time you’re responsible for managing your own money. Some SVNs may also have the added challenge of making their money last during unpaid placement blocks in veterinary practice.
According to the 2019 UCAS Freshers’ Experience Survey, almost a fifth of students (18%) said that financial concerns had impacted their mental health or wellbeing, while 6% of university dropouts were finance-related.
Here, we’re discussing some of the simple ways you can get a hold on your finances and make your money go further:
Create a budget
As a starting point, creating a simple budget showing what your income and outgoings will be, can give you an insight into where your money is going and where you can cut back or spend more effectively.
Your budget should cover and prioritise regular, ongoing expenses (such as rent, utilities, food, travel and phone bill). It should also include any one-off or annual costs (for example a gym membership or books). You should also consider opening a savings account and putting some money aside every payday, if you are able to do so – this is so you can begin to build an emergency fund, which will come in handy on rainy days, or funds for any future plans.
If you are not sure where to start, look at your recent bank statements. There are also lots of student budget calculators and finance guides online that will give you a rough guide to what your key income and outgoings may look like.
Use money saving hacks to stick to your budget
Creating a budget is an important step, but sticking to it can be a bit more complicated. It is easier said than done, especially when one-off unexpected expenses come along and take you by surprise. However, here we’ll go through some hacks that may help you stick to your budget:
- Reduce your food bill by buying and cooking in bulk, and freezing leftovers to reduce food waste
- Don’t go food shopping when you’re hungry, as you’re more likely to impulse buy. Instead, plan your meals for the week, create a shopping list and stick to it
- Consider cheaper supermarkets such as Lidl or Aldi, or use apps like Too Good to Go to get otherwise wasted food at bargain prices
- Challenge yourself to spend free days
- Buy second hand books and make use of any library services at your college/university
- Consider selling any unwanted clothes and books
- Use comparison websites to get the best deals on utilities such as broadband and gas/electricity
- Look for low cost or free furnishings on platforms such as Facebook Marketplace, Gumtree or Ebay
- Invest in a 16-25 railcard or young person’s coach card
Remove temptations to impulse buy
Whether it be the shopping apps sitting on our phone only a few taps away, or the targeted ads you see all over social media – there are lots of outside forces encouraging us to spend money, and it can be difficult to block them out. That said, there are steps you can take to try to curb the urge to impulse buy. You can mute retailers and brands on social media, unsubscribe from email lists, and delete your card details from your browser.
If something is tempting you, leave it and see if you still want it after a few days. Finally, stay away from the big sales such as Black Friday unless it’s for something you really need and you can afford the item.
Track your spending
Many banks allow you to manage your finances from a mobile app. For example, you can set up alerts to give you balance updates, or let you know if your balance falls below a certain amount. By doing this, you can see exactly where your money is going, and ensure you’re on track until your next student loan or payday. If you’re not, you can amend your budget accordingly.
Speak to college or university services
Speak to your college/university services if you’re struggling, as they will be able to offer advice that is specific to your circumstances, and signpost you to further support if needed. They may also be able to point you in the direction of financial support you may be eligible for, for example the CAW Student Hardship Fund or grants.
Veterinary Nurse Training at The College of Animal Welfare
If you’re interested in training as a veterinary nurse, we offer a range of veterinary nurse qualifications. The College of Animal Welfare is one of the largest veterinary nurse training providers in the UK. We have centres in Huntingdon, Leeds, North London, Wigan, County Durham, Solihull and Edinburgh. Find out more about our veterinary nursing programmes