Before coming to uni, I was apprehensive about the future I would be faced with after graduation due to the large student loan and hence I made a promise to myself that I would be in the best possible situation for a person with a student loan.
1) Calculate Maximum Loan Income
My first step was to remove accommodation from the budget (as this was an inevitable debit) and reduce other liabilities. Even while starting my first term, I carried only the bare necessities to survive minimally but healthily. This would give me my maximum loan income/budget.
2) Pick a Lifestyle
At this point, you can choose to pick an extravagant life and have the maximum fun or you can choose to optimise income-to-value in your life. This all depends on your outlook on life as well as what sort of future you expect/want to have.
I chose to be maximally conservative (atleast for the 1st term) simply to test the waters and I actually managed to live on less than £100 a month.
3) Spend-Save-Invest Ratio
Split your maximum available budget into how much you want to spend, save and invest in the working year. My strategy was to save as much as possible and minimise expenditure. The ratio is totally up to you depending on what you wish to pursue( ie. a job, a business or another venture) in the future.
4) Budget Breakdown
Split your monthly expenditure into what you intend to spend it on. For me, this was only food (healthy lifestyle) and entertainment (social events).
Monthly Routine Analysis
- 3 Meals per Day (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner) for 30 days
- Entertainment (Maximum 2 large (£20) or 4 small (£10) events per month)
1x Cereal Box - £2
1x 4 Pint Milk - £1
1x Pack of 8 Satsumas/Bananas - £3
£6 per week
(Total £24 per month)
Tinned Fish (Treat-Yourself-Dinners) [£2 per Packet - One Use]
Cans of Beans (Kidney, Baked, Chickpeas etc.) [Max 50p per Tin - Twice Use - Buy ones with sauce]
Eggs [£1.50 - Dozen]
Ready-to-Eat Rice Packets (Buy Multipack as it's cheaper) [£1 per Packet - One Use]
Noodles/Pasta/Rice (To Cook) [Max £2 per kg - 4x Use]
Even if you were to buy all of the above, the total per month would be the following:
24x Eggs - (12 to 24 Uses) - £3
15x Rice Packets - (15 Full Meals) - £15
4kg Noodles/Pasta/Rice - (16 Uses) - £8
8x Cans of Beans - (16 Uses) - £4
5x Fish Tins - £10
(Total £40 per month)
(But honestly I can't eat all of this in a month! So my total is maximum around £25 per month on average)
I heavily recommend a microwavable bowl as it can be used for everything breakfast, lunch and dinner. Anything that needs a saucepan/boiling can be made in a microwaveable bowl (including eggs, noodles, rice, cous-cous etc.)
I also recommend 1 loaf of bread per week - works as emergency food at any time and goes well with any meal (breakfast, lunch or dinner).
So the above is all rough so if I have less events in a given month the budget continues on to the next month or I can buy more food in that month. If I have more events, I have to save less than usual but the key bit here is not to compromise on your lifestyle otherwise you risk damaging your health or losing consistency/practice.
So here you go, it's totally possible to live off £100 a month! I spend maxmium £60 on food and around £40 on events (formals, restaurants, nights-out) per month. I have also found that this routine keeps me disciplined and not only that but it also prepares me for the future as it keeps me strong, healthy and mentally prepares me for my rigorous academic work.