I can’t believe it’s been over a month and a half! I’ve been settling in Wales nicely with juggling personal responsibilities, academics, and a social life. Although I feel like time is moving fast, my life has been at a steady pace. It took a while to adjust to the calm atmosphere that Wales brings me.
I always considered myself an independent person. However, I realized I wasn’t as independent as I thought. It was a new challenge for me to start budgeting my life when it came to food, travels, and social events.
Although it’s fun to spend money on traveling and social events, it’s also important to budget money for eating. When I first came to Wales, I was overwhelmed. I didn’t know how I was going to use my money wisely. How was I going to eat and have fun at the same time? I realized I relied so much on a meal plan, that I forgot how to step out of it.
By the next week, I was getting better at budgeting. I began writing my expenses down and focusing on what’s important. I only cashed out money once (even twice) a month. I used the cash when I really needed it or my purchases were less than twenty pounds.
When it came to food shopping, I began comparing prices. There are three (sometimes four) supermarkets I look into. By comparing prices of the items I buy, I’m cutting cost and getting an abundance of items that can hold me for a month or two. Before coming to Wales, I was afraid I wasn’t going to find anything I like. But that fear slowly faded with the variety of choices I was familiar with when I walk the aisle of the supermarkets. Oh poptarts, how I missed you!
With a focus on what I’m buying and how much I’m spending, I have enough money left over for fun stuff like trips, social events with friends, and delicious traditional Welsh food!
I always relied on the advice of my mother or on SUNY New Paltz for so many of things. It’s weird not being able to pick up the phone and call my mother (with the rates for international calling and the five hours difference it’s difficult). It’s also weird that my student id is nothing more than just identification. I never use my id except to let people know I go to Cardiff University or discounts at stores (there’s 20% discount at Krispy Kreme’s!).
From meals to printing, budgeting has become a major adjustment to my life.