Students have never been under such pressure around the world to do well at school and manage their finances. Many end up with student loans to repay which would make their parent’s eyes water. Many families simply don’t have the spare cash to make it easier for them, taken up with saving for retirement, health care, insurance and taxes.
This creates the perfect challenge for inquisitive minds to come up with ideas for staying true to their sustainable friendly future by changing habits of a lifetime, and perhaps influencing their parents to do the same.
On Your Bike
Going to uni is the perfect time for students to develop new habits and challenge themselves to be thrifty. Rather than sitting in traffic or depending on public transport, many students are opting to walk or get on their bikes. Studies have shown that those who track their steps or biking put in a few extra miles a week versus those who don’t keep track. Best of all, most smartphones have free apps which will track the distance automatically, helping save money too.
Some universities now offer Bike schemes for students and those working for the university to travel between campuses and commute. For those working, check whether you can get a tax-free bike through Cyclescheme, rather than forking out full cost for their own transport.
If your university has not taken up the challenge to provide cycle hire scheme for e-bikes, look to lobby your student union to gain that traction. Getting involved in campaigning for something you believe is an ethical way to live will provide dividends throughout your career and live after university.
Busy Studying, No Time For Gardening or Deep Cleaning
Most students eventually develop the common sense to look after their clothes and their lodgings sufficiently so that they can find what they need without help from their doting families. Choosing lodgings with flooring rather than carpeting can help ensure a better chance of getting the deposit back. It will also cut down on the amount of time needed to get all the dust and dirt cleaned up, leaving more time to get down to studying.
Students who need to revise rarely have time to take care of the garden during finals and in the rush to find jobs may overlook the basics of taking care of their lodgings. Getting in a professional end of lease clean as well as an eco-friendly firm to take care of the garden and dispose of garden waste properly is probably the best investment to put into the budget, right from the start.
Living Better On An Eco-Friendly Budget
One of the most difficult things most adults have to learn is learning to live on a budget. Making sure that there is enough cash to handle an emergency or a needed night out or splurge is something which should be in the budget.
Here are some ways to get control of your budget, whether you are preparing for university, attending, and even if you have already left.
- Pay for essential bills ahead of time. Pay the rent, rates, utilities ahead of when the bill becomes due. That way there is no excess cash to fund a splurge and undermine sticking to a budget.
- Food choices: Think nutrition rather than just flavour. Switching to tap water rather than sodas can save up to £500 a year for those who drink a bottle a day.
- Bulk buy food essentials so they are available when you need them. Buy them on sale, and read the label to make sure that they are eco-friendly. Like minded students can often split the cost of a bulk buy so they can all benefit.
- Cook ahead and freeze. For those who can, do a big cook on the weekend so a few days ahead. This will reduce cooking costs and eating out. Make sure any food which can be composted is separated and disposed of properly. Invest in a set of plastic storage boxes which are BPA free and microwave safe. Also invest in a good leak proof water bottle.
- Green clean from top to toe. Anti-bacterial soaps which contain triclosan and other chemicals which are not good for environment and have shown they alter the way some hormones work in the body. If switching to bar soap is a step too far, make sure
- Back to basics in the house. Again, anti-bacterial cleaners can be avoided altogether as there are many ecologically friendly alternatives from the bath to the kitchen and beyond.
- Set up a kitty for takeaways and put some cash aside for nights out. If there isn’t enough in the kitty, dig out the bulk buys and get creative in the kitchen. Sticking to “mad” money, for specific purposes is a good habit to establish.
Keep A Record
The best way to develop good habits is to celebrate your achievements. Keeping a record of all the ways you managed to stay within budget and being eco-friendly will develop skills and life choices which can help your career and future happiness.