Falmouth town: making your finances stretch!

10 June 2024

Students sit in a cafe
Fox Hill cafe
Type: Text
Category: Student finances

This article was written by Creative Writing BA student Lottie.

For those of us just beginning or making our way through our uni years, it can regularly feel difficult to savour the flavours from our first taste of independence without a healthy dose of anxiety regarding our finances! There are, of course, no quick fixes to the cost of living crisis, but there are strategies that students can employ to make their finances stretch - this means they can feel comfortable treating themselves without anxiety shadowing their spending. 

Now firstly: budgeting. It's tedious (I know) and it's tiring (I know), but it works wonders in the long run. Consider first the big picture of your spending, so that when you zoom in, you have comfortable flexibility. Plan your budget for the year, then work your way in - month by month, week by week. Pick a rainy afternoon every few months to run these numbers. You won't regret it. 

So, you’ve created a weekly budget for yourself, perhaps a daily one too, hurray! Now, how can you make the most of it? 

For me (and probably for most people), my greatest daily spending comes from food costs. Building batch-cooking habits changed my life. There is room in every diet for some batch cooking: stew that you can freeze into half-a-dozen dinner portions, the same with easy pasta sauces and curries, even some pot pies and pasta bakes will keep in the freezer. And don't forget about lunch and breakfast! Many students, who think ahead on their dinner plans, neglect to do so with their other meals. Doing my weekly shopping all at once, doing the food prep and examining the funds I had left, allowed me to not only track the budget of each meal and alter recipes to my financial liking, but to then feel comfortable spending my remaining budget over the course of the week without constantly second guessing my spending. 

Additionally, Falmouth Town wants to help you! My top tip is always to read signs and fliers. For several weeks this past year, community organizations in Falmouth Town were organizing free lunchtime meals for uni students. The cafes at the Falmouth Campus and at the Penryn Campus often hold seasonal sales and discounts or after a certain time of day. The Students' Union has fallen into the habit of hosting food/can drives to provide extra food for students. These opportunities will pass you by if you are unwilling to read some of the longer emails or schedule your day to their convenience.

Furthermore, try one of my favourite apps: Too Good To Go. The purpose of the app is to minimize food waste and through it, local restaurants/grocery stores/cafes will sell their food products that didn’t sell from the previous day/morning at extremely discounted prices. All you need to do is be willing to pick up their product at the assigned time.

Let's step away from food for a moment - I’ll say it again, Falmouth Town really is in your corner! Remember what I said about those fliers? Falmouth is riddled with opportunities for fun nights out that don’t require you to drop a pence. Music opportunities are everywhere - venues like The Chintz hold free jazz/live music nights and Toast holds regular open might nights showcasing local talent, of which we are rich! Several establishments like The Moth and Moon hold open mic poetry nights, or comedy shows, or countless other free events! Just keep an eye out and find yourself entertained. Let's not forget about our lovely local beaches and even parks - pack a picnic! Bring your friends! 

Don’t underestimate the power of local charity shops when looking to purchase updates to your wardrobe or bedroom. 

If you still feel backed into a corner having kept all this in mind, there are work opportunities available to students who want the extra financial support. There are opportunities to work on campus - you could work as a student ambassador, or in a campus cafe and have the freedom to choose your own hours while comfortably navigating around your studies!

Always remember there are avenues to regulating your finances without overworking yourself and grinding yourself pleasure-spending. Just keep an eye out on every opportunity our community offers up, and they’ll help you along. 

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