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Graduate insights: How to save money as a student

Hello! I’m Chris, recent Leeds uni graduate and current SEO. After reading Nielsen’s blog and noticing the “posts from other students who want to have a crack at blogging” clause in his sidebar, I thought I’d get in touch and offer a post. He nobly obliged.

So here I am, offering my insights into simple actions students (and indeed anyone) can take to:

a) Save money
b) Eat healthily
c) Get fit

Tip one: Buy a bike

The initial expense of a bike may seem counterproductive to point a), but if you add up the cost of the bike and the basic equipment and divide it out over a year, it almost certainly works out cheaper than alternative travel:

£500 (bike) + £30 (helmet) + £20 (lights) + £10 (high-vis) + £30 (lock) = £590, or £11.35 a week

Often you can break the repayments up over a year (or longer) as well, and depending where you buy from you can get 0% interest so you’re not getting stung on the repayments. Not only that, but cycling is fun, social (if you participate in cycling groups or events like Critical Mass), and great exercise (point c)).

Tip two: Spend thrifty

Fairly self-explanatory on the surface: spending less equates to saving more. Knowing where you can save money is the skill, though. As a student I spent a lot of money on microwaves, kettles, toasters and whatever else when I moved from halls in first year to houses thereafter (stingy landlords, you see). In retrospect I could have saved a lot of money by shopping at stores who have special student deals.

You can also save money by pausing before each purchase and asking yourself ‘do I really need this?’ – another relatively simple but surprisingly effective technique to achieve point a).

Tip three: Eat soup

Soup is great. Get pretty much any combination of vegetables, perhaps some lentils, a sprinkling of assorted herbs and spices, blend it up, and you’ve got soup. You can either follow recipes (my favourite) or experiment and come up with your own. Depending what you include, you’ll be on your way to point b) if you make your own soups, and also well on your way to point a) – 8 portions worth of the soup I gave the recipe for previously cost me just over £3 – that’s a week and a half’s worth of lunch for around 38p a day.

Souper (if you’ll pardon the pun).

Chris

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Locals Lynsey and Laura learn to cycle for charity

If the London to Oxford bike ride is enough to make me, a regular cyclist, squirm, I can’t imagine what the feeling must be like of taking on that route when you’ve just learned how to hop on two wheels. A few of my friends who can’t cycle (the urge to namedrop is strong) will probably laugh at any suggestion to even attempt a 1 mile ride in the safety of Kensington Gardens.

You have to be crazy or brave to even think it. Or both.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Or you can be Lynsey and Laura, two newbie cyclists in their twenties who have “decided it was about time we got our act together” and learn how to cycle (It’s never too late to learn!) in order to with tackle a 260 mile cycle ride across Romania all in the name of charity. They are hoping to raise money for the kids who are chronically ill in Romania, where they have to endure a poor quality of life and treatment.

In preparation for their ambitious trek, they’ll be doing other rides in the UK such as SkyRide London, London to Cambridge, London to Oxford and New Forest.

And you all thought I was the mad cyclist in London. Tch!

Catch their updates on their fab looking website.

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Novice cyclist or lacking confidence when on the road? Kensington and Chelsea offer free cycle training whilst Hammersmith & Fulham ask a measly £5 to boost your cycling abilities. 

Get cycling tips and tricks with some added chic with Bikeminded.

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Coldplay at the Emirates

Nielsen, I’m going to kill you!” was the first sentence uttered as me and my friend, Christine, stared for the first time at Arsenal FC’s Emirates Stadium. I don’t blame her. Around the stadium, roughly 300 people were queuing out of a possible 60,000+ people at 12pm. The initial plan was the queue at that 10am. If we did follow that initial plan, Christine would have queued up with the tumbleweed and my mangled corpse.

But if anything were to die on concert day (Friday 1 June) it would be my feet and larynx from all the jumping, (bad) singing and the sheer excitement of being inches from the front. Quite few acts have the songs to construct a stadium gig and keep up with its demands. Clocks, Yellow, In My Place, Charlie Brown, Paradise, Viva La Vida, The Scientist, Violet Hill, Fix You – when you’ve got songs like these, you’ve guaranteed yourself a roaring response. The new songs, too, managed to blend naturally with Coldplay’s warhorses. Unsurprising as Mylo Xyloto sounds like a more layered and polished version of 2008’s Viva La Vida and Death and All His Friends.

And then there’s the four men. Will Champion, Guy Berryman, Johnny Buckland and Chris Martin – all four friends solid and energetic as their frontman. Martin engaged, jumped, crooned, swore, sweated (a lot), danced, pranced and skipped like a child let loose in a toy store and we, the crowd, ate it up.

It would be foolish for any Coldplay fan who hasn’t caught them on the road to miss out on their live performances!

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COLDPLAY SNAPS ON TUMBLR

Oh and of course I took snaps of the concert. You think I only took the two on this blog post? I took around 100+ snaps but like most shots taken by  amateur photographers, most of them were a blur and just a fraction was suitable for publishing. Yeah, need to upgrade my 5MP Kodak cam/ iPhone 4.

Peruse, like it, reblog it, tweet or just kindly nod and imagine you were there or something. Enjoy them!

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Things I’ve done on my gap yah | Tweet of the day

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Being Bikeminded

You can follow my day to day cycling activities on my bike blog, beingbikeminded.tumblr.com

Sorry but allow me some time to compose myself.

A little more time, please.

…and a little more.

OK, never mind. I can’t anymore. This is my last week with Dorothy, my Brompton. Over the past 2 months, it has climbed the hills of Richmond Park, strolled around Imperial Wharf, circulated around Kensington, enjoyed many stops and breaks at various cafés in Chelsea and always left me a sadistic smile on my face every time I weaved through London’s traffic.

What more can I add to my brilliant bike? It has already got a starring role on my Bikeminded blog and has relegated my other bike, Murray, to second fiddle. Instead, here’s a breakdown of the numbers during the my time with my bike.

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My 2 Months of Cycling In Facts & Statistics

Name: Dorothy

Average fold-up time: 13 seconds

Can

Number of people who have ridden my bike: 8

Someone

Most common route: Home to Notting Hill/Westbourne Grove and back.

Cafés visited: 32 approx

Times when I cycled in the dark: 2

Spare

Miles cycled: 80 

Road I hate the most: Fulham Road. It loves the kill.

£600

Days when I cycled in the rain: 1

Number of Borough’s cycled to: 3

Haircuts during the two months: 1

Please?

Cost of bike: £600 after discount

Will be updating on Wednesday when I send my bike back!

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Like always, you can follow all my cycling shenanigans on Tumblr, beingbikeminded.

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For my previous entry, click here

Bikeminded is a 3 year cycling initiative that is raising awareness about the benefits of cycling and encourage more people to swap four wheels for two. Follow the hashtag, #bikeminded, to follow the campaign and other Bike Heroes.

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Being Bikeminded

You can follow my day to day cycling activities on my bike blog, beingbikeminded.tumblr.com

A very short update this week since I’ve just started uni and all. You could say travelling there by bike cycle would be a good idea but really? Really?!

HAHAHAHA.

Yeah, not doing that. Unless someone payed me £100,000 to do that for a year which I’ll use to pay off my debt and go on a long arse holiday.

But anyway, the real reason why I won’t post more because I’m sorting out a short video for Bikeminded which I won’t reveal until it’s done. Let’s just say that involves a lot of sugar. Lots and lots of sugar.

Like always, you can follow all my cycling shenanigans on Tumblr, beingbikeminded.

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For my previous entry, click here

Bikeminded is a 3 year cycling initiative that is raising awareness about the benefits of cycling and encourage more people to swap four wheels for two. Follow the hashtag, #bikeminded, to follow the campaign and other Bike Heroes.

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Being Bikeminded

You can follow my day to day cycling activities on my bike blog, beingbikeminded.tumblr.com

This is more or less a very brief update because I use my Brompton everyday since I got it. Cycling around RBKC whether visiting my friend or getting a random bout of fresh air, so apologies for the uninteresting nature. But anywho, after 2 weeks I’ve finally gotten used to that thin Brooks saddle on my green Brompton. My other folding bike, Murray, has a typical black foam saddle, so the transition from a seat with a normal surface area to a sleek but at-times uncomfortable leather one has been quite the challenge.

Saddle observations aside, my bike journeys around RBKC have become much, much quicker. The gears and the bike’s light weight make all the difference for me and can turn a 10 mile struggle around Notting Hill seem like one of my aimless Sunday strolls. What’s more, my folding movement has become almost second nature. It’s as if I was just making the bed after I wake up.

So I’ve got the bike. But there’s a little something that could limit my bike usage over the coming weeks. Tomorrow morning, I’m starting university which is all the way in North West London – a different and – I would like to stress this part – far world from south-west London. Will I attempt to cycle there? Let’s just say the bike has to contend with a Travelcard.

It’s going to be an interesting few weeks indeed….

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For my previous entry, click here

Bikeminded is a 3 year cycling initiative that is raising awareness about the benefits of cycling and encourage more people to swap four wheels for two. Follow the hashtag, #bikeminded, to follow the campaign and other Bike Heroes.

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Being Bikeminded

You can follow my day to day cycling activities on my bike blog, beingbikeminded.tumblr.com

I’ve only had this bike for one week and I’ve already named my green and white Brompton, Dorothy, meaning if I had the cash to splash £500 or so, I would keep it in an instant!

Instant attachment aside, my bike has already managed to cross many parts of town: from the challenging – and painful – hills of Richmond Park to my local coffee shops…and more hills in Notting Hill.

Sky Ride London, 4 September 

But my most interesting and exciting journey was last Sunday’s Sky Ride, a cycling event where Central London’s streets were closed to all vehicles to make way for the cyclist masses. My friend, Robbin, joined me on the event and he admitted to not cycling much let alone cycling to an event as big and challenging as this.

We set off early in the morning – a crazy idea for Robbin since he usually sleeps at the brink of dawn – and began to cycle the route, meeting eccentric cyclists such as this guy (apologies for the weird dimensions):

Looking at the skies, we were both disappointed with the lack of rain which was repeatedly forecasted. Then in typical British style, the rain came like a water cannon and managed to fog up both of our specs before arriving home looking like the aftermath of a washing machine cycle.

Intelligence Squared Cycling Festival, 8 September

I joined Kathryn, who was on her bulky but bright Electra, to the Cycling Festival at the Royal Geographical Society in Kensington. The event featured 5 speakers presenting their finds and observations on the joys of cycling. I would like to point out that there was no space to lock nearly 100 bikes and it felt particularly muggy in the conference hall.

Will Self, one of the speakers, was particularly engaging and wrapped up the festival by describing himself as the ‘every-man’s cyclist’ and commented that Brooks saddles are an erotic pleasure. Nice to know my Brooks saddle on my bike is comfortable in more ways than one.

Here’s Will Self’s presentation:

Then of course the fun part was cycling in the dark. I would have taken a picture/ video but I didn’t want to meet my maker at that particular point.

See you on the road!

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For my previous entry, click here

Bikeminded is a 3 year cycling initiative that is raising awareness about the benefits of cycling and encourage more people to swap four wheels for two. Follow the hashtag, #bikeminded, to follow the campaign and other Bike Heroes.

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Being Bikeminded

For 6 weeks, this snazzy looking Brompton folding bike, given to me by the people behind RBKC Bikeminded, will be mine for me to take around the hidden streets of Chelsea, the lush greenery of Richmond or up those bloody hills in Notting Hill. This means, I’m now a Bike Hero. Us Bike Heroes, which include Chelsea blogger kingsroadrocks and kingsroad.co.uk co-founder Jonathan Lloyd, have been given the task of raising awareness of the benefits and of course, the fun of cycling.

When I first picked up the bike at West Brompton Tube station from Neill, the previous rider, I noticed how smooth the ride was compared to my own bike (which also a folding bike).

When I got home, I began the fun process of folding the bike. A quick look on Youtube….

…and it a looks like a snap to fold. Or so I thought. I spent more than two hours folding the bike until I got it completely down while earning a few scratches in the process.

So with the folding obstacle conquered, expect to see a lot of bike antics in the next coming days!

I’ll be doing write ups on this website and will post photos on my bike blog, beingbikeminded.tumblr.com.

See you on the road!

Bikeminded is a 3 year cycling initiative that is raising awareness about the benefits of cycling and encourage more people to swap four wheels for two. Follow the hashtag, #bikeminded, to follow the campaign and other Bike Heroes.

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COMPETITION: Free tickets to see Project Nim at Gate Cinema

Notting Hill’s Gate Cinema and your local Notting Hill website, nottinghillgate.co.uk, has teamed up to offer tweeps a pair of tickets to see Project Nim:

This is the unforgettable story of Nim Chimpski, a loveable chimpanzee who was taken from his mother in the early 1970s to be used in a revolutionary and controversial scientific research project. The aim: raise a chimp as a human being and solve the nature-versus-nurture debate once and for all.

All you have to do is log onto Twitter and retweet (RT) the following:

Competition ends on 5 September.

Gate Cinema, 87 Notting Hill Gate London W10 |  nottinghillgate.co.uk launching this autumn.

Good luck!

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