Coping With Your Student BudgetJuly 26, 2012
For many Students University represents their first real taste of freedom, the ability to make their own decisions about when they go out and come in. This may also be the first time they have had to deal with paying rent and keeping to a household budget, so many first-year students find themselves burning through their loan before they know it and living on their overdraft.
The best way to avoid this is to find a job while studying, but this is never an easy thing to do. Your timetable will change each semester and, while some employers will understand, many will expect you to keep the same hours regardless of personal circumstances. Working weekends is often a good way to overcome this but it is unlikely that a student will be able to earn enough to keep themselves with a weekend job.
Students who move a long way from home for University face the additional challenge of finding a job that they can still commute to if they are staying in halls of residence and must move out over the summer. Those who find private accommodation may be able to stay over the holidays if this is discussed with their landlord when first negotiating the terms of their rent. If one cannot commute back to the town one is studying in outside of term time then one is going to find that getting work is very difficult.
Another problem faced by full-time students who work is balancing their jobs and their studies. While at University, one’s main focus should be one’s studies, especially now students have to pay tuition fees and should feel a need to achieve a first or 2:1 to make this investment worthwhile.
If one’s job makes it difficult to study and achieve the grades you need then it is worth asking for fewer hours and learning to live on less money or asking for support from friends and family. Even if they cannot provide cash they may be able to pay for food and other essential items, especially now many supermarkets provide special cash cards that parents can load with money and send to their children, assuring them that it’s going on food and not nights out while you starve!
Those who are fortunate not to worry about these issues should not get complacent; even if your family can support you fully it is important that you learn how to budget and spend money wisely. It is shockingly easy to go overdrawn and be drawn into a spiral of debt that will be difficult to escape from.
Never be afraid to ask for financial assistance from others; it is understood and often accepted that students struggle with money when they first leave home. With careful budgeting and support from friends and family one can enjoy university without getting into debt with companies who are less lenient that the Student Loan Company on repayments.