Natasha

What is the best bit of your course?

Being taught by experts in the field – it’s so refreshing to learn about current research, rather than memorising paragraphs from out-of-date textbooks. Biology is my absolute passion now and I love being able to get so involved.

What has been the biggest challenge so far?

Learning to manage my own time. You can fit in a surprising amount here, but you have to be strict with yourself. Even in my second year I find it very easy to be sucked into another Netflix binge.

How do you cope with money?

I set up a direct debit from a savings account (that I can’t access normally) to transfer £100 a week to my debit account. It means if I overspend one week, I just have to deal with it for a few days, and I’m never in the position of having no money at all. It’s a really simple way to keep yourself in check.

Where do you live?

My college provides accommodation for all three years – which does make a huge difference to living costs.

Where do you want to be in ten years?

In an ideal world, I’ll have completed a PhD and will be working in a research capacity. I’m pretty indecisive though – so that could change in a week.

What do you wish you had known when you started university?

Dive into everything – even if it scares you. I’m only starting to get into student journalism, which I love, but now I’m about to enter my final year I’m limited in how far I can go. Try everything – you won’t regret it.

What’s your single best budgeting tip for students?

Learning to cook has made a huge difference. Ready meals and takeaways will eat up your budget, and fast. I always cook using fresh ingredients – this is the biggest way to save money, and it’ll stop you getting ill from eating pasta constantly! I also removed the overdraft from my student account, which stops me from ending up in debt that I can’t repay.

Natasha's budget

Income
Tuition fee loan £9000
Maintenance loan £4740
University bursaries/scholarships £500
Savings £500
Term-time work £0
Holiday work £0
Money from family and friends £1500
Any other income (please specify) £0
Expenditure
Tuition fees £9000
Accommodation £3217
Utility bills (Gas, electricity, water etc.) £0
Transport £600
Food £900
Socialising £1500
Study costs (books, printing, trips etc.) £0
Insurance £0
Clothes £550
Other essentials (toiletries, laundry detergent etc.) £250
Phone and internet £264
Any other expenditure (please specify) £0


I don’t spend anything on transport while at university – my transport expenditure is because I have to fly home and back from Northern Ireland.