Managing Your Student Finance…
For many of you University is the first time you’ve ever really had to manage your finances without the bank of mum and dad to help you out when you slip up. It’s a tough learning curve and everybody ends up down and out at some point in their University life. More often than not students will live like kings for the first month before realising they’re going to be on Tesco basics for the rest of the term because they’ve spent all their money. Even the best of money savers may bow to peer pressure when all of their friends are persuading them that the night won’t be that expensive and they’ll be missing out. Saving is about give and take. It’s just as much about allowing yourself to spend some money every once in a while as it is about saving. Allowing time to spend money (as long as it’s within budget) will make you feel better about those times when you have to say no and make it much easier not to splash the cash. However, it’s also about being strict so here are a few things that may help you limit your spending:
Stop using your card
It’s much easier to keep track of how much money you’re spending when it’s physically going out of your pocket. Work out a reasonable weekly budget and take it out of your account at the start of the week. This is your money for the week now so you have to stick to it! Once you’ve taken out your budget give your card to a friend who you can trust and ask them not to give it back to you until next week to avoid temptation. Be reasonable and don’t try to be too ambitious or you’ll just end up taking out more money. Having the cash in hand will help you keep an eye on what you’re spending and make it easier to budget throughout the week.
Take out an overdraft
Now I know what you’re thinking. Shouldn’t I be trying to save some money? Well another good way to limit the amount of student loan you’re spending is to put it away into a savings account not to be spent. Instead, take out a student overdraft with a limit less than your student loan payment and try and live on this. By doing this you force yourself to live on less money and when you get to the end of term you can pay off your overdraft with your student loan that’s been stashed away. This will hopefully mean you have a little bit left over. Having an overdraft but paying it off is good for your credit rating and being in the red is likely to help you save as it feels much more like being in debt. If you’re lucky you might even make a bit of interest with your student loan in your savings account as well.
Get a job
You may well be thinking that getting a job is going to put a downer on your University fun. In some ways this can be true, there’s no denying that every so often you might have to say no to a social event so you can go to work. However, having a job at University has many advantages and doesn’t have to limit you too much. Having a job means you’re earning money but also saving it as whilst you’re at work you don’t have the time to spend money. You may think you’re missing out on the time of your life but most of the time what you’re actually missing out on isn’t all that exciting. It also sets you up well for later life as, with the job market being so competitive at the moment, employers will recognise it and it will put you way ahead of your friends who chose to just sit at home.
Look out for those deals
No doubt you’re already aware of every voucher website the internet has to offer and you have a keen eye for the reduced isle in the supermarket but every once in a while you might need to buy something for the house that you don’t really want to spend your money on so make sure when you do need to pick up things you keep your eye out for a deal. Discount shops can be a great place to start. For example The Original Factory Shop is a great place to pick up household items cheap.
Have a project
University isn’t all about drinking and no matter how much work you think you have you will also have more free time than at any other point in your life so make the most of it. Start a project or learn something new, something creative. Whether this is learning to sew, writing a blog or even trying to read the top 10 novels ever written having something to do in your free time will give you something else to do except going out (hence saving you money). You may even find yourself saying no to the odd night out to pursue your project and it’s a great feeling knowing you’ve used your time productively.
Go out – just don’t drink
If that student night you’re going to means you have to be half cut to enjoy it, it probably isn’t worth going to in the first place. Go to nights where you actually enjoy the music. This means you won’t need to drink as much to enjoy yourself. Another tip if you do decide to drink is to alternate alcoholic drinks with water (lime and soda is also a cheap option!). If you do want to drink allow yourself one alcoholic drink every hour (preferably a long drink) and then get a glass of water after half an hour rather than another alcoholic one. You’ll find that if you’re drinking less, you’re not only saving money but you’ll feel a lot fresher for your lectures the next day.
Allow yourself a treat
Saving money is hard, no doubt, but it’s something that will get easier. Don’t be too tough on yourself and allow yourself one treat a term. Make sure this is something that you can appreciate, whether it’s an actual physical thing or a day trip with your friends. So long as it’s something you wouldn’t normally spend your money on.