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Am I mad to think that I can study full-time?!?!

(14 Posts)
StellaBrillante Mon 10-Jan-11 14:28:21

Just met up with a friend for coffee and she raised all sorts of questions around my ability to cope financially once I start studying as it'll involve a significant reduction to my working hours.
I don't have huge savings so I will be going from my full-time pay of ca. £40,000 to 50% of that potentially topped up with some weekend work which is not likely to pay much. Other people do it though, don't they?!?!
We don't live in London, ds has started senior school (so I'm no longer paying before / after school care etc) and with other things we will just have to adjust. I know that for example I will have to apply for financial assistance for ds to continue having piano lessons at school (currently £150 per term) but we will also be living a much more frugal lifestyle by rarely using the car (fuel is a big expense), moving houses which will bring down general expenses such as council tax & bills.
What have I missed and how come other people cope? It must be feasible!

aslongassheishappy Mon 10-Jan-11 14:37:06

it will be fessible but like you say it will need some changes made. i have gone from 20k a year to not working at all and it is much harder financially but it is working as i am able to study.

can I ask your circumstances, ie are you single parent, home owner, university study? as this will all make a difference to what financial support is avalible to you.

StellaBrillante Mon 10-Jan-11 14:59:58

hi 'A' :-)

I am a lp, with a mortgage and this will be my first higher education course. The financial team at the uni have been very good and I had of course looked into all the financial assistance available before I applied for a place.

I have had the occasional doubt and feeling of guilt thinking that I should just stick to my miserable job which provides us with a reasonable lifestyle. I mean, that's what a lot of people do, isn't it? It's not always because they haven't got the guts to change their lives and take risks but because they know they have to provide for their family. I look at it and think that perhaps I am being incredibly selfish and indulging myself by embarking on this student lifestyle when I made my choices when I decided to become a parent. Obviously, I didn't sign up to be a lp though!

But then I need to take my friend's views with a pinch of salt. Even when I pointed out that I will get discounts on cinema tickets and lots of other things, she kept saying that I probably won't able to afford those to begin with. Is this true? It can't just be me who has to pay their way and support a child on a low income?!?! I will probably still earn more than a lot of brave single mums out there, on their own and with more than one child to care for...

aslongassheishappy Mon 10-Jan-11 15:55:16

i think you have just aswered your own question.

goodluck and well done for being so brave to make a good change for you and your dc.

Prolesworth Mon 10-Jan-11 21:42:15

Message withdrawn

aslongassheishappy Mon 10-Jan-11 22:18:50

what are you going to be studying? i never asked. smile

tammybear Mon 10-Jan-11 22:22:40

You'll be fine, just budget your money well. I'm coming to the end of my final year and have loved doing it, and don't regret it. It's only in the final year that I've realised I didn't plan/budget my money well, so after doing so, I found it a lot easier. Good luck!

StellaBrillante Tue 11-Jan-11 11:55:13

Thank you very much for your support! And well done to everyone who's taken the plunge and decided to further their education - it's a huge commitment but like many have said, it brings personal fulfilment and it sets a great example to our dc. smile

My degree is in tourism management and my intention is to focus on the more specialised / cultural sector of the tourism industry such as art festivals, heritage management and so on. I will finally be able to put my language skills to good use too, which is extremely exciting!!! smile

tammybear - did you work whilst doing your degree? And did you find that you were able to do little things like use the pool at the leisure centre and the occasional trip to the cinema?

tammybear Tue 11-Jan-11 16:26:10

I didn't work during it, although I always had an eye open for a job that would fit around uni and DD. Even now, I'm still looking, although since this will be my last semester in my final year, I think I'll wait until it's all done! But I was still able to have luxuries. I was with the gym during the first two years and we still went away on holidays (Sun holidays btw). You'll be able to get a discount at the cinema, it's only a couple of pounds, but it all adds up! Some shops say you need an NUS card, but I have found usually as long as you have a student card, you can still get a discount. Which often means 10% off in places like Ryman, New Look, etc.

I found the best thing to do was find out how much student loan I was getting, so make sure you check out the grants and bursaries you may be eligible for. Then I calculated my rent and bills. Then the remaining amount I would divide into how many weeks I had to go until my next installment. That way, you know how much you have a week to play with, which is ideal if you have a savings account or another account where you can put all your loan in and then transfer what you need each week when needed. I didn't really do that the first year and a half, but when I started to, it made things far more easier.

There may be times when you will think "why am I doing this? I should just quit and get a job", I've had those thoughts many a time, but as long as you stick with it and really manage your money, you won't regret it! Good luck with it grin

ManateeEquineOhara Tue 11-Jan-11 22:03:12

Hi, I am studying part time now, but throughout my UG degree I studied full time and managed to get 16 hours a week work in, so I got tax credits and wages. I don't have a mortgage, but I am single and got no help in benefits for my rent.

StellaBrillante Wed 12-Jan-11 09:55:43

I am feeling so positive about it all, the only minor (?!?!) issue being that my boss wasn't impressed with my request to reduce my hours. He's not one to be supportive of jobshares or part-time arrangements so I was pretty much expecting it. On a MUCH more positive note though, I had applied for a weekend / casual position elsewhere which is related to my studies and although I felt that my interview had gone really badly, I received confirmation yesterday that they want to offer me the position!!! I am so, so pleased!!!!! I hadn't had an external interview in over 10 years and althought the money is pittance (less than a third of my average hourly rate now), it's a fantastic environment and it's a bit of a safety net if it all goes pearshape with my main employer! Oh, hard work does pay off, doesn't it!!!

tammybear Wed 12-Jan-11 12:28:54

Ooo well done. And if it's related to your studies, all the better! Good for you being positive and productive too

StellaBrillante Wed 12-Jan-11 14:42:24

thank you tammybear and well done to you for seeing it through to the end. Also, thank you for your advice in ref. to student loan - I reall MUST be very careful with it. wink

manateeEquineOhara - I am very impressed and reassured by the fact that you are getting by without further assistance!!! smile

Ephiny Sat 15-Jan-11 09:33:16

I went from a well-above-average income to living on a PhD stipend, not in the same situation as you with having to support the family, but it's been surprisingly easy to adjust. The way I think of it is that I'm still getting a lot more than people on minimum wage, and they seem to manage somehow, and there are advantages like discounted council tax and travel costs that make a difference.

I don't think you're being selfish at all, sounds like you're making a sensible move and you have everything thought out and under control. So go for it and good luck!

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