Student struggles – How to keep to your budget

University can be a big shock to the system when you're expected to leave your home comforts behind and embrace the harsh reality of doing your own washing, cooking for yourself and making sure you make it to the majority of your lectures. If that wasn't hard enough, you also have to keep to a relatively tight budget to ensure you have enough money to eat and enjoy a healthy social life.

Now we all know that being strapped for cash and being a student go hand in hand. You know the feeling of being at the wrong end of your overdraft, desperately waiting for the text from Student Finance to confirm that you have received the next instalment of your loan. Despite this, it is actually possible to enjoy your time at university and stay out of that overdraft. Here are a few ways in which you can do that…

Shop big!

Whatever you do, the easiest way to save money on food is to make sure you are shopping at a supermarket rather than a convenience store. Although the Tesco Express might be just at the end of your road, it will always be more expensive than any large supermarket and you will not find the same money saving offers that supermarkets often have.

It is always surprising just how much food costs, but buying in bigger quantities can make sure you save on your food shops. Things like rice and pasta never properly go off, so buying them in bulk at the beginning of the year is a good idea. It is also advisable to stock up on frozen meats and even vegetables as they are generally cheaper than fresh food yet they last considerably longer.

Night out, not nightmare

Nights out are an essential part of life as a student and will most likely make up some of your best (and worst) moments at uni, and therefore they need to be accounted for in the budget. Now when you're on a night out, it is not uncommon to forget about your budget and buy round after unnecessary round on your bank card, but there is a way to avoid this.

Before you head out, go to a cash machine and take out the amount of money that you want to spend whilst out at the bars and leave all your bank cards at home. This way you can't spend money that you don't have on those extra drinks that you probably don't need.

Don't be fooled by student offers

Every student town and every business within these towns knows that students are always on the lookout for a bargain. This means that there are a plethora of offers and discount schemes that restaurants, clothes shops and bars all run to pull in the local students. Make sure you take advantage of these, but don't think that just because they say 'student savings', it automatically means you are getting a good deal. Spending