If you're planning to attend university in September, you should start thinking about your student budget now. You may think it is too early to start, however, this early preparation will allow you to begin university with no worries about anything other than where your lecture rooms are.
By creating a student budget, you can calculate whether your student loan will provide you with enough money for you to live on and if not, you can look at part-time jobs and other forms of income which will aid you in university. To make sure you're prepared, you should take a look at these top budgeting tips which will allow you to get the most out of your student experience.
Choose the best student account
One of the main advantages of being a student is your loan, so to make the most out of it, you should try to find the best bank account deal out there. You want to avoid making the mistake that many students have in the past, which is using their current account for their student loan. Unlike a student account, current accounts charge for overdrafts, while the majority of student accounts have 0% overdraft deals, which means you can borrow up to a certain amount in times of need without the drawback of interest.
Another great thing about student accounts is that many banks offer freebie deals, such as a free railcard or Amazon gift vouchers. Before choosing a bank, you should weigh up these options along with the overdraft limit, instead of just picking a branch just because it's around the corner from you. Once you have picked the right account for you and your student loan is available, try to avoid spending it all in one go. You should also stop yourself from reaching your overdraft limit and as a lifelong rule, never go over it, as this can be costly.
Pick the right accommodation
Although you can't choose where you live just yet, as your place at university is yet to be confirmed, this does not prevent you from having a look around. When searching for student accommodation, you need to consider several things, including price, because although the rent may seem low, you need to also look at other costs such as utility bills, Wi-Fi, TV license and more. You should compare these expenses with your expected student loan to establish whether you can afford this for the entirety of the student term.
Location is another massive thing to consider, as you want to make sure that you are close to your place of study without having to pay ridiculous prices. If your university is located in the city centre, nearby accommodation tends to be costly, so some students tend to move outside of the city and travel by public transport. This may be too much hassle, especially if you have a lot of 9 am lectures, so the best thing you can do is look early. If you're planning to attend a Liverpool-based university, you should take a look at the student accommodation available at RW Invest. These apartments offer great deals to students who are looking to live near their chosen university, while also providing an element of luxury to make you feel more at home.
Calculate your living expenses
Once you're settled and living in your chosen accommodation, this is when your budget really counts. To help you survive each term, you should make a plan which includes everything from food and household bills to clothing and leisure funds. You need to create a balance between your needs and wants because although you're living on a budget, you should still be able to have enough money to go out and enjoy yourself.
Just because you're a student does not mean you have to live in squalor and eat beans on toast for the next three years. Instead, you need to be smart when food shopping and choose essential items that will last you at least a week. To avoid spending your money on expensive and unnecessary items, you should make a shopping list, or better yet shop online. If you find that your student loan is starting to run low, you should start to cook in bulk and make lunches to go, which will prevent you from spending your money when you're at university and out and about.
With so many groundbreaking medical advances being revealed to the world every single day, you would imagine there would be some advancement on the plethora of many female-prevalent diseases (think female cancers, Alzheimer's, depression, heart conditions etc.) that women are fighting every single day.
For Anna Villarreal and her team, there frankly wasn't enough being done. In turn, she developed a method that diagnoses these diseases earlier than traditional methods, using a pretty untraditional method in itself: through your menstrual blood.
Getting from point A to point B wasn't so easy though. Villarreal was battling a disease herself and through that experience. “I wondered if there was a way to test menstrual blood for female specific diseases," she says. "Perhaps my situation could have been prevented or at least better managed. This led me to begin researching menstrual blood as a diagnostic source. For reasons the scientific and medical community do not fully understand, certain diseases impact women differently than men. The research shows that clinical trials have a disproportionate focus on male research subjects despite clear evidence that many diseases impact more women than men."
There's also no denying that gap in women's healthcare in clinical research involving female subjects - which is exactly what inspired Villarreal to launch her company, LifeStory Health. She says that, “with my personal experience everything was brought full circle."
“There is a challenge and a need in the medical community for more sex-specific research. I believe the omission of females as research subjects is putting women's health at risk and we need to fuel a conversation that will improve women's healthcare.,"
Her brand new biotech company is committed to changing the women's healthcare market through technology, innovation and vocalization and through extensive research and testing. She is working to develop the first ever, non-invasive, menstrual blood diagnostic and has partnered with a top Boston-area University on research and has won awards from The International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering and Northeastern University's RISE.
How does it work exactly? Proteins are discovered in menstrual blood that can quickly and easily detect, manage and track diseases in women, resulting in diseases that can be earlier detected, treated and even prevented in the first place. The menstrual blood is easy to collect and since it's a relatively unexplored diagnostic it's honestly a really revolutionary concept, too.
So far, the reactions of this innovative research has been nothing but excitement. “The reactions have been incredibly positive." she shares with SWAAY. “Currently, menstrual blood is discarded as bio waste, but it could carry the potential for new breakthroughs in diagnosis. When I educate women on the lack of female subjects used in research and clinical trials, they are surprised and very excited at the prospect that LifeStory Health may provide a solution and the key to early detection."
To give a doctor's input, and a little bit more of an explanation as to why this really works, Dr. Pat Salber, MD, and Founder of The Doctor Weighs In comments: “researchers have been studying stem cells derived from menstrual blood for more than a decade. Stem cells are cells that have the capability of differentiating into different types of tissues. There are two major types of stem cells, embryonic and adult. Adult stem cells have a more limited differentiation potential, but avoid the ethical issues that have surrounded research with embryonic stem cells. Stem cells from menstrual blood are adult stem cells."
These stem cells are so important when it comes to new findings. “Stem cells serve as the backbone of research in the field of regenerative medicine – the focus which is to grow tissues, such as skin, to repair burn and other types of serious skin wounds.
A certain type of stem cell, known as mesenchymal stem cells (MenSCs) derived from menstrual blood has been found to both grow well in the lab and have the capability to differentiate in various cell types, including skin. In addition to being used to grow tissues, their properties can be studied that will elucidate many different aspects of cell function," Dr. Salber explains.
To show the outpour of support for her efforts and this major girl power research, Villarreal remarks, “women are volunteering their samples happily report the arrival of their periods by giving samples to our lab announcing “de-identified sample number XXX arrived today!" It's a far cry from the stereotype of when “it's that time of the month."
How are these collections being done? “Although it might sound odd to collect menstrual blood, plastic cups have been developed to use in the collection process. This is similar to menstrual products, called menstrual cups, that have been on the market for many years," Dr. Salber says.
Equally shocking and innovative, this might be something that becomes more common practice in the future. And according to Dr. Salber, women may be able to not only use the menstrual blood for early detection, but be able to store the stem cells from it to help treat future diseases. “Companies are working to commercialize the use of menstrual blood stem cells. One company, for example, is offering a patented service to store menstrual blood stem cells for use in tissue generation if the need arises."