A student with a job in the hotel industry


In our How I Manage My Money series we aim to find out how people in the UK spend, save and invest money to cover their costs and achieve their goals.

This week we are talking to 19-year-old Joseph Gibbons, who is at the University of Bath and has a quarterly income of £ 2,968.72.

Quarterly income:

Maintenance loan: £ 1,500; Parents: £ 880; Shifts using the Stint app: £ 500- £ 600 depending on the hour (£ 8.92 per hour).

Total: £ 2,968.72

Regular outings:

Rent (including utility bills): £ 550 per month; Groceries: £ 172 per month; Entertainment and outings: £ 160 per month; Other (including stationery, clubs and companies, travel expenses and Amazon Prime): £ 322 per quarter

Total spend per quarter: £ 2,646 (based on the 15-week University of Bath semester)

My attitude towards money comes from my parents, who were always careful about their spending. From an early age, they encouraged me to find work so that I could save money. I used to do a paper tour, then I worked in a garden center to put some money aside before I left for college.

In all fairness, when I got to college in first year, I was careless with my money. I didn’t want to miss out on anything my friends were doing that was fun, so I ended up spending a lot of the money I had saved.

Now I do ad hoc shifts at local hotel businesses using an app called Stint. The app basically gives me the option to sign up for short and flexible hours (usually 2-4 hours) in places like restaurants and cafes. I help out full-time staff during peak hours, doing tasks such as polishing glasses and cleaning the kitchen.

I like it because I can earn money on top of my studies to cover the cost of my hobbies and my college life. With the extra money I earn, I no longer have to worry about missing something. During school term, I plan to work between two and four shifts a week – working at noon or in the evening if I have classes during the day.

So far, I have worked in four different companies, including a fish and chips, a hotel and two restaurants. Before using the app, I had never worked in the hospitality industry and was a bit shy but it allowed me to broaden my horizons and become more confident. My social skills improved dramatically and I made a lot of friends in the process.

Thanks to this work, I was also able to save to buy the electric guitar that I always wanted!

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Financial struggles

There is no doubt that most students have experienced financial difficulties in the past year. Many of my friends, myself included, have struggled to find work as many hotel outlets had to close during the lockdown. I am delighted that pubs, restaurants and bars are now open, not only because of the social opportunities, but also because I can earn more money to become more financially secure for the coming year.

It goes without saying that Covid has been a particularly difficult time for students. A lot of my friends have really struggled over the past year to socialize and make the most of college life. Fortunately, I was very lucky as I lived with roommates who I got along with.

My first expense is rent. In my first year I only had to spend around £ 500 per month on rent. Now it’s over £ 550 a month because we left the hallways to move into a house in central Bath. Surprisingly, it’s the little things that really add up. For example, laundry was such an expense in my first year, costing £ 6 each time. My friends and I ended up doing group washes to save money.

Besides looking forward to living with my friends, we are all very happy to have our own washing machine and not have to go to the expensive laundromat.

To save money

When it comes to saving money, my main goal is to be careful with grocery shopping. I have a Tesco Clubcard and a Nectar Card to save money on my grocery stores, and I do my best to buy from Lidl and Aldi. I also promised myself this year that I will make my own packed lunch to save money.

When I plan my expenses, I think about how many hours I would have to work to pay them. This has always been a useful way to determine if I really need to buy something. For example, when something costs £ 27, I think ‘it would cost me three hours of my life’. It is a great deterrent.

I have a Unidays account which is great. Anyone with an account has access to many offers from major brands. The last time I was home in Worthing, I also took advantage of the Student Discount Day at Churchill Square Shopping Center in Brighton. The Railcard 16-25 is also a great money saver that I use all the time.

For fun, I like to play basketball. I used to play once a week, taking a 40 minute bus ride to play downtown. We successfully campaigned for two hoops to be installed in our campus parking lot, which has now allowed us to play three times a week.

Of course, no student experience would be complete without the nightlife. My friends and I love to go to the pub and enjoy clubbing nights. Other than that, I play my guitar a lot and I’m thinking of starting a band with my roommates.

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