Money Tips

Hey all, I hope you’re doing well!

One of the things that can be difficult to manage as a student is money. For many students, it’s the first time they’ve had a lot of money responsibility, especially if you decide to live in Halls away from your family and haven’t gotten as much money to budget as Student Finance can give you. So, I thought I’d give you some tips from my own personal experience, so that it’s a little easier for you:

  • 1- If you’re going to spend money, take money out rather than using your card: It sounds like a simple tip and sometimes it can be unavoidable, but budgeting is a lot easier if you know exactly what money you’re spending, as some banks sometimes take a while to show transactions, so it can slip you up quite easily.
  • 2- Do regular budget checks: Sometimes things will come up and you might buy something or go on a night out and spend some money you hadn’t originally budgeted for, so it’s always good to go back over your budget at least monthly to make sure things are in check.
  • 3- Always leave some money to the side: It’s easy to budget and think that it’s a rock solid budget that you don’t need a fall back for, but it’s always good to have a bit of extra money, even if it just ends up being put towards going to see a film or going to a theme park later on.
  • 4- Jobs are scary but good: Dependent on your life experiences so far, you may or may not have had a professional job before. It’s ok if you hadn’t, I hadn’t, but it can be worrying when you’re looking for one. It’s good to get one to help out with your money though, it’s always nice to have something as well as Student Finance.
  • 5- Make sure you have your rent: Your rent is something that you need to make sure you prioritise. It’s easy to just think ‘oh my student finance will cover it when it comes through’ but you need to make sure you’ll have the money there when you need it without stress.

So, there’s a few things I’ve learnt to bare in mind when it comes to money. I hope some of these tips help you out.

Food Shop – Budgeting Your Money

For a lot of people, one of the biggest worries about coming to uni is money. Will I have enough of it? What happens if I spend too much in freshers week? How does paying for my accommodation work? All of these are things I worried about before arriving at Edge Hill, so I’m here to pass on some knowledge I’ve learnt in my time here.

Firstly, if you’re worried about spending too much of your loan before your accommodation payment comes out, you can arrange with the accommodation team to take the payment out as soon as it comes in, so you can’t be tempted to spend too much too soon!

Another way I learnt to keep track of my spending was to budget my weekly food shop. I was lucky enough to have parents that sent me £30 a week for this purpose, as my maintenance loan minus my accommodation fee wouldn’t allow for this.

£30 may not sound like a lot, but with some careful planning and shopping around, (as we’re lucky enough to have multiple supermarkets in Ormskirk)  I found out that it was plenty to keep me fed for a week, and I often even had a little left over for a treat or two.

Here is a basic break down of a generic weekly shop for me:

Aldi: I would usually use Aldi as a starting point, as it has lots of different food bits that I could pick up, such as sauces and salad kits, which I could then add to from Morrison’s.

Potatoes: £1. Sweet Potatoes: £1. Stir Fry Kit: £2.50. Instant Noodles (x3): £1.20. Cheese: £1.90. Apples: £1.30 Pasta Bake Sauce: 65p. Crisps: £1. Sweet and Sour Sauce: 85p. Spread: £1.90. Ham: £1.45.

Added together this cost me £14.75, about half of my weekly budget, and I now have the main elements of evening meals and lunch.

Morrison’s: I know would use Morrison’s to add to the dishes, and pick up any extra bargains I could see, as Morrison’s often have clearance areas, and these are great for finding meat, cheese and other treats.

Steak: £2.50. Chicken and Pork: 2 for £5 offer. Part baked baguettes (x2 packs): 90p. Pasta: £1. Pineapple: £1. Ice Cream: £1.50. Squash: £1. Milk: £1. Cereal Bars: £1.

Added together this comes to £14.90, giving an overall total of £29.65, keeping just under budget. Some weeks, this would be considerably less, as I wouldn’t need some items every week, such as the packs of meat, squash, and spread, leaving me some money left over for the occasional takeaway of fast food trip.

Hopefully this has helped some people, or at least given you an idea of what to expect when you come to do your very first food shop for yourself!

A Fund for Student Opportunities

If you follow my blog posts here on Inside Edge, you know that I’m currently in the United States of America, on a sandwich placement at the Morton Arboretum. I was fortunate when arranging up this work placement that Edge Hill University had just set up its Student Opportunity Fund (SOF) – a fund that students can apply for to help them make the most of career enhancing opportunities. The fund’s goal is to make sure that no student at EHU passes up a potentially life-changing experience because of the financial burden it might impose.

When I was in the midst of applying for my placement as a Research Affiliate at the Morton Arboretum, I realised quickly that costs would add up. An updated passport, a visa, flights and insurance would quickly put a hefty dent in my finances, leaving my maintenance loan severely lacking for the year abroad. Thankfully, my personal tutor, Paul Ashton, and the Money Advice Team (for whom I was working for at the time as a Money Buddy) informed me about the Student Opportunity Fund and that I could potentially be successful in acquiring additional funding.

Any student on an undergraduate or PGCE course attending EHU can apply for the fund, which will supply them with up to £2000 to support the proposed activity. The projects can be near or far, large or small, requiring the maximum amount available or a portion. Applications could cover travel and accommodation expenses, for example, for unpaid work experience or volunteering; interviews or assessments not covered by the employer; or conferences, festivals, or events where you’re showcasing your work. The fund could also cover costs of developing and making creative material.

Many students have already made use of this amazing fund to enable them to experience some wonderful opportunities that improve both their transferable and career-focused skills:

Applications are judged by a panel and must be submitted over ten working days before the panel convenes. For this academic year, 2017-2018, the remaining dates of convention are:

  • Friday 13th April 2018
  • Thursday 3rd May 2018
  • Wednesday 6th June 2018

Edge Hill Student Support Fund – We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone.


The Edge Hill student support fund was setup to allow students who experience serious financial difficulties in funding their time here at the university a chance to flourish without disadvantage. Its main aim is to “support students whose expenses exceed their income. ” However,  there is no automatic entitlement to an award.

The initiative is ran by Edge Hill University Student Services and is just another example of how the university takes care of each and every student who studies here.


This fund is designed to give students who do not receive enough in income such as student loans or bursaries a balanced budget. To apply you must have attempted to find other options open to you such as:

  • Burasaries
  • Banking
  • Budgeting
  • Cash-flow
  • Part time work
  • Statutory Funding

If all of the above cannot help you then you can apply for the fund.


To apply for the fund, you must first attend a session in the university after you move in. You need to bring:

  1. Student ID
  2. Current bank balance
  3. A months Bank Statement
  4. Your debit card

The drop in session times can be found here! They take place in the Student Information Center.


The standard award, or max, is 3,000 pounds. You will receive a percentage of this, up to 100%, depending on your situation. You may also receive non-standard awards for unseen things such as household repairs or emergencies.

The application window opens mid October. Keep your eyes peeled for it, and remember if you need the support Edge Hill is there to offer it.


If you want to find out more about the Student Support fund check out the webpage for it here: https://www.edgehill.ac.uk/studentservices/student-support-fund/

And if you want more free and great advice email think@edgehill.ac.uk or leave a comment below and I will get back to you. If you want to suggest something to write about or want to be interviewed leave a comment below also and I will get back to you personally!

Working at Uni

When making the choice to continue your education and pick a uni, one of the biggest things to make a difference is money. For me, I knew that if I wanted to go to university I would need to find a part-time job once I was there – and Edge Hill boasts a fantastic careers service which helped my decision to come to Edge Hill (as well as many, many other things – but we’ll get to those eventually!) and helped me get this job – writing for you as a Student Blogger.

The Careers Centre at Edge Hill is based on the ground floor of the Student Information Centre (SIC). Not only do they advertise on-campus jobs (such as being a Student Blogger, working in the SU and other shops on campus) but they also advertise local business vacancies for part-time, full-time and graduate jobs, so even before you’ve started uni, you can see that Edge Hill and the Careers team will be able to help once you’ve left in years to come.

As well as job searching, the Careers Centre can help with other employability queries, from help with CV writing, to arranging transferable skills workshops, and giving information about summer placements and internships. These resources can be accessed in a range of different ways such as: booking a confidential appointment with one of the Careers team, attending an event on different routes into your desired job, or by keeping in touch with the centre over their various social media platforms – which I will link below.

If getting a more formal part-time job isn’t what you’re looking for at uni, and you’d just like the occasional work shift – applying to be a Student Guide or to have your room open on Open Days throughout the year is a good way to make a few extra pennies for when the on-campus Subway calls your name. It’s a good idea to check with your department as well as they may have casual work hours available,  such as working Front of House in the Arts Centre on performance nights.

More information about all things job related can be found on the Careers Centre website and on their Facebook and Twitter pages.

Edge Hill University and SUSI – An Irish guide to applying for finance at Edge Hill

Satellite picture of Ireland and England.

Satellite picture of Ireland and England.


Before we begin I want to point out that this blog is intended for those applying for finance from Ireland (Republic of.). This is my first blog, and for good reason. Applying for finance is daunting at the best of time but try setting your heart on studying at a university only to be told ‘Oh, you will struggle with money because the student loan company wont give you maintenance”. That’s exactly what happened to me. But don’t worry, I am living proof that it is possible.


Student Loans CompanyLogo
Student Loans Company UK

So the first thing to do is not panic. If you have just been told that you wont get money from the SLC (Student Loans Company UK) ignore everything they have said. For a start you will get a fees loan from them, assuming you qualify, just like any other student. The money you wont receive is the maintenance, but we will cover that in the next section. For now the first thing to do is get on the right track and get the EU student application pack (Here!). Fill them out and if you need help have a parent or guidance councilor sit down and look through them with you. Get on that early! If accepted that will be your fees sorted.


SUSI logo
Student Universal Support Ireland

Next it’s onto money to live. This is where I freaked out. No one knew what was going on, and I couldn’t find anyone that had gone through this process before. After calling and calling to different organizations the solution turned out to be easier than I thought. SUSI, or Student Universal Support Ireland, will still pay for students attending school abroad. If you currently attend an Irish secondary school your guidance councilor can help you apply or you can take it on yourself (Here!). And to top it all off SUSI is a grant. That’s right, a grant. Not a loan, you don’t have to pay it back. So just go ahead and apply like a regular student and if eligible SUSI will deliver your grant money once a month.


So its as simple as that, you get your fees from SLC and your maintenance from SUSI. Knowing is always half the battle.

Here are a few extra tips from me:

  • Apply early. Get it done and out of the road. SUSI may also require your parents to do taxes early so be prepared for that.
  • Dont lie. Be honest, they will catch you out.
  • If SUSI ask for a letter describing the loan you will receive from SLC you need to wait for your SLC loan to be approved before they can issue it.
  • SUSI will only pay into an Irish Euro account so make sure you keep one open.
  • Remember the exchange rate plays a part in how much money you have when you spend it here.
  • If in doubt call! SUSI: +353 (76) 1087874. SLC: +44 (141) 243 3570
  • You can check if you are eligible for a SUSI grant and how much you will get by using the reckoner – (Here!).
  • If you do find yourself here for an open or applicant day, check out the student finance stand. It’s usually in the hub.

That’s all from me and I hope this blog can help some of my Irish fellow students. If you have any other questions about Edge Hill then feel free to email think@edgehill.ac.uk for free advice and answers to your questions, or leave a comment below this blog and I will get back to your personally.

Slán go fóill,
Sean M. – Edge Hill Student

How to cook: Stir fry, Wraps, and Spaghetti Bolognese!

Cooking for yourself is a big part of coming to uni, which for some, might seem like hell. So today in this blog post I’m gonna suggest 3 easy meals, with links on how the professionals make it, then show you my student budget friendly version of that recipe. All the recipes will be super quick to cook and will taste great!  Disclaimer: all my recipes are vegetarian, however, you can swap the meat free stuff with real meat if you wish.


So let’s start with an easy one: stir fry!
Stir fry is a super easy meal to make as it’s all about throwing vegetables, noodles, and sauce into a wok. Anyone can make it! So you can either follow the BBC food recipe on how to make chicken stir fry or try my version!  

My version: Sweet and sour stir fry!
2 person portion – price calculated by how much you’re using in the recipe.
Ingredients:
A Packet of ASDA Sweet & Sour Stir-Fry Sauce (any flavor will do though!) – 44p
⅓ of a bag of Quorn meat free chicken pieces (optional) – 63p (£1.90 a bag)
⅕ of a bag of FarmFoods Stir fry mixed vegetables – 20p (£1 a bag)
Half a packet of ALDI Asia Specialities Medium Chinese Noodles – 28p (56p per bag)
Total cost: £1.55 or 77p each!

How to guide:
Step 1: Heat up your wok and add the stir vegetables, the quorn pieces and half of the sweet and sour sauce packet. Stir contents until the food is ready to serve, making sure not to burn any to the bottom of the wok.
Step 2: Boil the noodles in a saucepan for 5 minutes to soften them up. After they have cooked, drain and add to wok.
Step 3: Stir in the rest of the sauce packet and cook for a further 5 minutes.
Step 4: Enjoy!


Next up: Wraps!
Wraps are a great quick snack or meal, as you can put whatever you want in them! So you can either follow the BBC Good Food recipe on how to make Chilli chicken wraps or try my version!  

My version: Szechuan Sausage and Vegetables Wraps!
2 person portion – price calculated by how much you’re using in the recipe.
Ingredients:
A Packet of ASDA Szechuan Sauce (any flavor will do though!) – 44p
4 x ALDI ‘Both in One’ wraps – 39p (79p per pack)
⅕ of a bag of FarmFoods Stir fry mixed vegetables – 20p (£1 a bag)
⅙ of a bag of FarmFoods Bell peppers – 16p (£1 a bag)
4 x FarmFoods Meat free Sausages – 75p (1.50 for a box)
(Optional) ⅙ of a bag of ASDA Party Seasoned French Fries – 16p (£1 a bag)
Total cost: £2.10 or 1.05 each!

How to guide:
Step 1: Put the sausages and optional chips in the oven and calculate how long they are going to take in the oven. 10 minutes before they’re finished start the next step (leave time for prep).
Step 2: Heat up a wok and add your vegetables and a third of the sauce packet. Stir contents until the food is ready to serve, making sure not to burn any to the bottom of the wok.
Step 3: Once the sausages and optional chips have cooked, remove them from the oven. Cut the sausages into pieces, and add them to the wok with the remaining of the sauce packet. Stir for a few minutes, then add to a mixing bowl, as it makes scooping the contents onto your wrap easier.
Step 4: Put the chips and wraps onto a plate and enjoy!


Lastly is a super simple and easy recipe which consists of two main ingredients: mince and pasta. Yes, Spaghetti bolognese is a meal that everyone has at one point in their lives and is a staple for uni life. So you can either follow the BBC Food recipe on how to make spaghetti bolognese or try my version!  

My version: Spaghetti Bolognese!
2 person portion – price calculated by how much you’re using in the recipe.
Ingredients:
Half a pack of quorn mince (or any real meat mince) – 75p (£1.50 a bag)
2 cups of ALDI pasta – 12p (29p a bag)
A jar of ALDI pasta sauce – 65p
(Optional) Schwartz Italian Herb 10p (£1.61 a jar)
Total cost: £1.62 or 81p each!

How to guide:
Step 1: Put your two cups of pasta into a pan and cook for around 20 minutes, stirring regularly and checking to see if it is soft and ready to eat.  
Step 2: 10 minutes into the pasta cooking start to cook your mince. Grab a wok and heat. If you’re using real meat mince, you’ll want to add the mince to the wok, moving the mince around until it is brown, drain the fat, then add the sauce. However, if you’re using the recipes mince, just add the mince and sauce straight away and stir for 10 minutes.
Step 3: Sprinkle the herbs into your mince and stir to add some extra flavour.
Step 4: Drain your pasta, plate up and enjoy!


I hope you enjoyed this post, it was quite a fun one to make! I hope you found this post interesting or found it somewhat useful. I might make more of these in the future as cooking is a very useful skill to have after all. Anyway, thanks for reading.
Until next time!

Film/Show of the day: The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996) 

Budgeting your Student Loan

Receiving your first student loan payment is very exciting! This may be your first time receiving money into your bank account, and if you’ve never had to budget or worry about food shopping and bills it’s very easy to fall victim to the voice. You know the one. The voice you hear from above that says: “Treat yo self!”
Which isn’t a terrible idea, as I’ll explain later, however, it’s not gonna make you any richer or put you in a better financial position. That’s why today I’m gonna be sharing my tips and advice on how to budget your student loans, and hopefully lead you away from the stereotypical ‘living off super noodles’ student life!


So, first things first, calculate how much money you’ve got to work with! This is very important as some people make the rookie mistake of forgetting to calculate the cost of their rent, bills and possibly travel. After you’ve calculated those things, you’ll know how much money you’ll have left over for food/other expenses!


While you’re working all that out you might want to put away some savings for yourself, just for emergencies. Which may seem unnecessary, but can come in handy when you’re on your last tin of beans and payday is a couple of weeks away. It doesn’t have to be much, as every little helps.


Another piece of advice is to take out cash instead of paying with your debit/credit card. This is great for night outs, as you won’t be tempted to over spend or buy the next round! This can also work for shopping trips, so you don’t overspend.


Another thing you might want to consider is downloading budgeting apps. These will help you keep a record of where your money is going. One app called ‘Monefy’ is free on the app store and will help you to find out where your money goes in an easy and efficient way.


Remember to shop wisely. If your family shops at m&s and you’re used to popping down to Sainsbury’s to buy all your food, you might wanna think about switching where you shop. In Ormskirk, there are many student friendly shops such as Aldi, Iceland, B&M, Poundland and Morrisons. And if you don’t mind traveling a bit further afield for your foods, there are other shops such as FarmFoods and lidl, you might want to try!


Treat yourself every now and then. Yes saving money is important, and yes you need it to last, however, that doesn’t mean that you have to starve yourself of worldly goods. A night out here, a piece of clothing now and then isn’t going to break the bank. So don’t be scared to get something if you feel like you really need it, or really want it, just make sure it’s on sale.


I hope you enjoyed this post and found it a bit useful. If you stick to a budget and stay with it, you actually won’t be that bad off! Thanks for reading.
Until next time!

Film/Show of the day: The Office US (2005-2013)

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Job opportunities galore

Hey all, hope you’re having a great weekend so far.

I wanted to make a post on the many job opportunities in and around Edge Hill, as I think it’ll be of interest to a lot of people, especially if you’re self funding your course or living costs. One of the things I love the most about the Uni is how many opportunities there really are. I can’t talk about every single one here in this post, but I’m going to shed some light on some of the ones that I think most people will be able to apply for:

  • Student guides: this is one of the main jobs you can apply for at the Uni. The role of the student guides is extensive, but for a short little summary, they staff and help with the open days and other such events for the University, help guide visitors, ensure the smooth running of these events, and are basically the student face of the University. You have to attend a group interview, but it’s not half as scary as you might think when you hear the word “interview”, I even had a few laughs in mine cause the people were so lovely and funny. During the Freshers’ Fayre, there was a table last year in which you could apply for an interview, so keep a look out if you would like to apply for this. It is an excellent thing to put on your CV!
  • Departmental helpers: similar to Student Guides, these help with the smooth running of things at the University during events- more so open days, but there are the odd days where you can come in handy too. I became a helper for the Performing Arts department (you will probably be based in the department you’re studying with, as it’s what you know personally and the most logical place for you to help out) as I had not gotten the Student Guide job, and even though I didn’t apply for it exactly, I’m glad for the experience it’s given me! I was contacted to help as I’d done the Guide interview, which is great, as Edge Hill really try and get you experience wherever they can. I’ve found being a departmental helper to be a lot more suited to me actually, as I’ve not only been working and getting paid to get experience (a source of income is always super helpful as a student), but I’ve been speaking to people who are interested in the same things as me, and have even spent some open days doing clowning and juggling, which is always fun! It’s the best when you can enjoy a work day.
  • On-campus jobs: there are various jobs that you will get emailed about by the Careers centre that are on campus. One example is working in the McColls shop in the Hub, or recently, there has been a huge boost for people to apply for jobs in the brand new on-campus Subway! I always like to check these emails, as they send out emails on all kinds of jobs that would be suitable for all kinds of people!
  • Other emailed jobs: the career centre will also put in these emails any appropriate jobs for students in and around the Edge Hill and Ormskirk area. So keep your eye out!

Of course, in and around Ormskirk there are also always gonna be places you can ask to give your CV in, just like in any town, all you’ve got to do is take a proactive leap in doing it! It’s so useful to have an income other than your student finance, especially in your first year when you’re working out your budgeting and living costs.

I hope this gave you a bit of an idea of things you can get involved with! Feel free to drop me any questions in the comments, and I hope you have a good end to your Saturday!

Student Bank Accounts

Hey everyone!

Hope you are all doing well and enjoying summer.

In the past I’ve written a few blogs about budgeting and student finance, today I wanted to focus on money again and give a few tips about Student Bank Accounts.

Some of you may have already set up a Student Account (I know my mum advised me to get it done fairly quickly so I wouldn’t have to worry about it later.)

If not, don’t worry! It’s a really easy process, and definitely worth it in the long run.

I set up my Student Account the summer before I started uni, and the great thing about some Student Bank Accounts is the incentives they offer.

My Student Account offered a free 16-25 rail card, which saves me 1/3 on train fares. That has served me very well over the last two years of uni.

As I travel home on the train every reading week and at the end of the semester, I’ve saved an unbelievable amount on travel without having to buy a rail card myself.

A lot of other accounts offer different incentives. From the research I did before I started uni, some banks will throw in an Amazon Gift Card when you open your account (which may be useful for buying some things from your reading list!)

Of course it’s not compulsory to open a specific Student Account, but I would recommend looking into whether it would help you.

The free perks can actually be super handy throughout your time at uni and even beyond. Now it’s summer I’ve used my rail card a couple of times, for days out and to visit uni friends. It’s always nice to be saving money, especially as a student!

Student Bank Accounts also tend to come with interest free Overdrafts, with no charge for using it.

Although overdrafts can be quite useful, I would definitely say be careful with them! Just because you have a £1500 overdraft doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be careful about how much money you spend.

I treat my overdraft as a back up. It’s there in case there are any problems, a safety net if I’m coming towards the end of my Student Loan. It’s definitely put my mind at ease to know I have my overdraft in case of an emergency.

I hope you found this useful, and if you have any questions don’t hesitate to leave me a comment!

Next week I’ll focus on something a bit more fun, the famous Freshers Week.

Quote for the day: ‘Money, money, money.’ – Mr Krabs

Until next time!

Becki 🙂