Paying my Bills in the UK as a student

Moving to the UK from Nigeria and paying my bills in the UK as a student was super tough. Before I came here, I had three good jobs back home in Nigeria: two in digital marketing and one as a Customer Success Manager. When I got to the UK, I thought it would be too hard to manage all those jobs while also going to university and settling into the new country. So, I decided to quit the two digital marketing jobs because they didn’t pay as well. I stuck with my CSM job and tried to figure out how to balance work and school while also thinking of paying my bills in the UK as a student

paying my bills in the uk as a student
Paying my Bills in the UK as a student

I was trying my best to manage the salary I earned as a CSM but there was the big problem of bills. I had to pay for tuition, pay for rent, for food, clothing, etc and also send money back home cos well, people back home do not really understand. It was really tough. Here’s why:

  • I was a student, so I had to go to classes. It’s compulsory
  • I could only work 20 hours a week because of my student visa.
  • I still had my Customer Success Manager job, and I had to work even harder to prove that moving abroad hadn’t affected my performance.
  • But because I was employed as a Nigerian employee, I was still getting paid in Naira.
  • I couldn’t switch my contract to a UK employee yet because I was still a student, and the 20-hour limit would affect me if I changed contracts.

So, I was earning money in Naira but spending it in pounds, which was pretty crazy.

Paying my Bills in the UK as a student
Paying my Bills in the UK as a student

With so many bills to pay, I very well needed extra money. At first, I didn’t want to do Care work because I’d heard some bad stories about it and I just knew I wasn’t up for it. So instead of Care, I signed up with a hospitality agency and started doing late-night shifts in hotels, restaurants and bars. I would do my normal 9-5 job remotely and then go for the night shifts in the night and on weekends. I did different jobs like waiting tables as a waiter, helping out behind the bar as a bar assistant, and washing dishes and cleaning the kitchens as a kitchen porter. It was physically and mentally exhausting, the 11 hours of standing and walking up and down the bar waiting on tables or assisting behind the bar, the 11 hours of standing and washing dishes and cleaning the entire industrial kitchen equipment, with little time to get rest, it was infact simply horrible and I lost so much weight.

The hospitality shift helped for a while, but then I stopped getting shifts. For more than three months, I relied solely on my Naira salary and had to borrow money from friends just to get by.

Paying my Bills in the UK as a student

All the while, I was still applying to part-time digital communication roles, trying to see if I can get anything that could help boost my skills and something in line with my career path, but it was all to no avail.

Finally, I had to give up and I had no choice but to try Care work. I registered with an agency, got the trainings I needed and started getting shifts. Yes, Care jobs are not easy, but as someone who have had my share of different experiences with hospitality, I can tell you that Care is easier and more rewarding.

With the Care job and my Customer Success Manager job, I was able to clear out my tuition and finish university. I would basically convert my Naira salary to pounds and maybe add a little bit extra change on top and send to school each month. one strategy that helped me greatly was not waiting to save a chunk of the Tuition. I paid whatever I could raise per time. 2k, 5h, 3h, 1k, etc. whatever pounds I had, I sent to school until the entire fees were paid out.

After I graduated, I applied for and got my Post-Study Work visa. and then immediately asked for my work contract to be changed to a UK one.

Now, I’m happy to say that while I have not exactly gotten to half of where I wish to be, I am in a much more better place. And gaining back my weight gradually😀