Friday, 21 October 2016

How To Save Money In University | Uni Series

Set Yourself A Budget

It seems so obvious but a lot of people won't end up doing this properly. Working out what all of your outgoings are will be the first thing to do so you can calculate what you'll have left to spend. It can be really useful to break this down so you know what your weekly spend is which can help make sure you won't run out of money. Depending on your situation, sometimes it's easier if you can pay your rent for the next few months as soon as your student loan comes in. This means all the money you have left will be split up for your other spends while not having to worry about covering your rent.

Use Money Saver Websites

There are quite a few sites out there that will help you save a few quid here and there. The site posts loads of discounts codes and lets you know when there are crazy offers on certain things. I followed their page on Facebook so I found out good deals as they were posted. Student Beans will give you discount for a number of shops and items that you may have to buy anyway. Vouchercloud offers loads of discount codes for pretty much anything you can think of so it's always worth checking before buying something online. Money Saving Expert gives you advice on anything from mobile phone contracts to bank loans with a few discount codes thrown in. UNiDAYS gives you so many discounts for some of your favourite shops and also comes with a handy app to use as you student ID for the discounts in shops.

Get an NUS Extra Card

They are only £12 for a year and you can save money if you buy a 2 or a 3 year one. You will almost certainly make your money back plus a lot more, so it's a no-brainier really. You can get such hefty discounts on some big brands such as 15% off Apple MacBooks which would come in very useful as a uni laptop. The card will also get you discounted entry prices for places such as Merlin theme parks, cinemas, crazy golf and many more.

Shop at Student Events

These are held in a lot of different places across the country and often have lock in student nights where shopping centres will stay open later specifically for students. There are a range of discounts available which vary between shops, and you will often get shops that don't normally offer student discount giving you 10% off so if you were going to shop in there anyway, it makes sense to do it on a student night.

Don't Buy Your Books Unless You Really Have To

I learnt this after my first year when I spent nearly £100 on three books (which is actually quite good value for uni books) that the library had bulk copies of that you could take out and borrow. Now if everyone tried to borrow the books from the library you would run out, but its worth checking before spending. I ended up barely using the books after first year and I wish I'd tried to sell them once I no longer needed them.

Make Use of Free or Student Subscriptions

Netflix will give you a free month if it's the first time you sign up, so if you weren't sure whether you'd want it then it's a risk free trial. If you end up carrying on you've just saved yourself paying for a month so it's a win-win. You can get Amazon Prime free for 6 months and then if you want to carry it on you get it for half price. If you love your music then sites such as Spotify give you half price premium so you only pay £4.99 per month with an NUS Card. They also do random offers such as 3 months premium for 99p if you haven't had premium before so keep an eye out for that too.

Discount Codes For Your Favorite Takeaways

There s pretty much always a discount code for places like Domino's so you should never be paying full price for your pizza. I'm not saying spending money on takeaways is a way to save money but lets be frank, nearly every student is going to order a takeaway at some point so why not get it cheaper? Domino's came to my freshers fair and were giving out free pizza plus a 50% discount code that was valid all year, who's going to say no to that?

If you liked this post and want to read some of my others in my Uni Series click here.

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Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Weekend In Photos

It's been a while since I've done one of these photo diary posts so I thought it would be a good chance to post a few of my favourite photos from the weekend. I was around the Albert Docks for one of the days and went up to Crosby the other day and snapped away while I was going around. These photos were taken with either my GoPro Hero 4 or Laura's Olympus Pen E-PL7. It wasn't particularly a day out for photos and only had the cameras with us just in case but the weather was perfect so in the spur of the moment I took a few photos and they came out really well.   

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Sunday, 25 September 2016

End Of Year Blog Targets

Keep Posting Regularly

I've tried to keep a fairly consistent schedule to post around three times a week as this was achievable for me. Since starting my new job full time three weeks ago I have found it harder to be able to post this often as I had a lot less free time than I used to. Now I'm starting to get used to my new working week I want to get back on tracking with posting and want to keep this up. I'd love to be able to look in a few months and be happy with how I maintained my blog.

Increase My Following

I'd love to keep growing my following across all things blog related. I've been slowly increasing my page-views to maintain a steady level each day that I'm relatively happy with. Obviously my blog relies on my social media being able to promote my content so if I can keep growing my following across Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. I know I don't currently engage enough, especially on Twitter so this is something I'm going to push myself to start doing more.

Do More Review Posts

I do quite enjoy writing review posts as it lets me think about something in more detail so I can give my views on it. I'm really into my technology and want to start reviewing more products in this area. Looking at other posts out there, I think trying out some cheap gadgets for review would definitely work and be quite fun. I'd also like do more review posts of restaurants and days out as you can get more out of it sometimes than a single product.

Improve My Photography

I think this is always something to aim for as having better photos is never going to be a bad thing. I've been into photography for quite a while now and particularly like landscape photography and nature shots. As I said in my other goal about doing more reviews, I think this is an area where I want to improve as I'm not quite as strong taking product photos so I'd aim to work on this before the end of the year.

Try Out Some Posts I've Not Done Before

Sometimes it can be quite easy to stick to the type of posts you are confident on and don't want to try writing some ideas that aren't normally your kind of thing. I think branching out into food based posts would be something to try. This could be anything from recipes up to giving my thoughts on the latest restaurant menu. It would expand my photography skills as taking quality photos of food is a different style so it would be interesting to learn and develop with this.

Do More Blog Series

I've done these kind of posts before but they have been related to TV series as a weekly catch up of the latest episode. I'm starting to do some uni related posts that are part of a series and want to try and do this with some of the other topics in my blog as it's a great way to keep content going. I think as a reader, I also like post series to keep checking back into. They are also a great way to get all the content out you want if it's too much to include in one post.

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Thursday, 22 September 2016

How To Manage Your Time During University | Uni Series

I went on Timehop the other day and realised it was four years since I moved into student halls at Northumbria University and it made me think about another student/university post. When I was in my first year although I had a bit of a schedule, all the nights out had an effect on my work and I wish I had been more organised. Here's how I managed my time in my second and third years during university.

Buy a planner

When you're in school you're often given a planner or diary to keep note of coursework and exams, but when you start university you have to buy one yourself. Buy yourself an A5 academic year diary and record every piece of coursework, assignment details and deadlines and it will be easy to keep on track with your course. If you think of something to include in your dissertation, write it in the planner. If you schedule a meeting with a tutor, write it in the planner. You won't regret it.

Have a schedule

Aside from your timetabled lectures, seminars and workshops, you should be doing a few hours at least of work per day. In your free periods between classes, get yourself to a computer and do some work to pass the time. If you do this every day that you're in uni you won't fall behind, even if you're typing up lecture notes it will all help when it comes to exams season. I didn't go home in between classes and spent 'frees' in the library.

Prioritise your work

You may have research to do, seminar prep, lecture notes to type up and categorise, coursework and dissertation prep along with revision. Getting small tasks out of the way is a good starting point as you can focus your time on important assignments and preparation. I typed up lecture notes as soon as I was free in order to dedicate evenings and sometimes weekends during busier months to tasks that were lengthy and important.

Have some time off

Instead of procrastinating and putting off tasks, if you have a schedule in place then you can have time off without feeling guilty or falling behind. If you go on a few nights out a week, make sure your tasks are done before you go out, as you're definitely not going to want to do them when you're hungover. If you go away for the weekend to see friends or family, make sure your work is done or you can do it on the train so that you can spend quality time with people you love. Giving yourself time to relax and de-stress is vital when it comes to your mental and physical health too.

Doing advanced work

If you know you have a seminar in a weeks time and you haven't got anything to do in between classes and you can access the next prep sheet, do the prep. Sometimes I managed to do research and preparation for classes two weeks in advance and it meant it didn't build up on me. Especially when it comes to your third year, if you already know what topic you're writing your project on, get some research done ahead of time. That means when it comes down to the nitty gritty, you already know what to write about and that's less stress on your plate.

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