Budgeting skills key to getting by as a student

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As many Central Otago pupils prepare to embark on tertiary study next year, the idea of living away from home will be on the minds of many. Tamsin Hughes, who was recently home for the holidays, shares her tips with The News on how she has used her budgeting skills to get by during her first year of study.

As I was growing up, my mother Pam Hughes was a budget adviser, and throughout my life and my sister’s life, she helped us to develop skills that have assisted greatly when we moved on to tertiary study.

My sister and I always thought it was unnecessary in high school for us to be budgeting and saving money, but all the budgeting and saving paid off for me this year.

I started studying at Yoobee Animation college in Christchurch and have been living a “student life”, with money being a bit tight.

I am living in a student apartment with five other students and have found that all the different skills my mother taught me have been a godsend.

She has taught me skills like cooking, how to shop on a budget and not just live off noodles.

I found these skills aren’t something some of my flatmates have.

They never learnt to budget and it shows.

One example is when I went to the supermarket with them and they spent over $120 on a week’s worth of groceries. This is close to triple what I spent a week.

I will admit that I do shop at the supermarket twice a week, but I split my week up so that I only have to worry about buying enough food for three or four days at a time.

I also shop to what is on special – this is something my flatmates also don’t do.

Another skill I have learnt is to save money when I can. This means that every time I save a bit of money on food or travel, I do, so that I am able to know that if I am in trouble, I have money to help out.

An example of this was when I got extremely sick a couple of months ago.

I had an unplanned medical expense and was able to afford it as I have been saving.

These skills are key in reducing stress while studying.

Before I went away to study, my mother helped me sort out Studylink, allowances and applying for scholarships and financial support.

She not only did this for my sister and me, but also for many pupils at Dunstan, Cromwell and Ranfurly High Schools.

Pam has done extremely well in teaching both my sister and me how to not just survive in the world, but to thrive.

We are extremely grateful to have her as a mother and know without her we wouldn’t have done as well as we have.