Keeping on top of finances can seem secondary to getting through heavy reading lists, meeting deadlines, attending lectures and, of course, going to the bar – but adopting a simple accounting routine could save you thousands in the future.
The following tips should help you keep on top of your student finances and safeguard you against money worries.
Make sure you know how much money you have coming in and how much you have going out every month. Take note of any loans, grants, earnings and gifts from parents and other family members. At the same time, keep track of how much you are spending. Your spending habits at University might be different to your previous habits. Are you drinking more? Eating more? What about library debts? Bills? Living within your means is paramount to avoiding debts and bank charges.
2. Ignore your overdraft
It’s simple: pretend it isn’t there. Don’t use it to supplement your lifestyle; save your overdraft for real emergencies. Once you go into it, you will find it increasingly difficult to get out. It is not free money and you will end up paying interest once you graduate.
3. Don’t blow it
It’s a nice feeling to see all of that money go into your account at once. Just remember that your loan has to last the whole term – don’t be tempted to buy that car you wanted, or the clothes you think you need. Don’t forget your rent and bills. Any left over money can be used to pay your loan back so you don’t collect more interest then necessary.
4. Take part time work
It can be hard to balance a heavy University workload with part-time work, but it can be done. 50% of students now take paid work during term time to supplement their living loan. The trick is to find a sensible balance – sacrifice your social life before you sacrifice your studies; after all, you are there to get degree.
5. Make the most of student discounts
Apply for an NUS card and make the most of discounts in clothes stores and cafes. You can often get more than 20% off if you ask, and if you don’t ask you don’t get!
For more information on how to manage your money, head over to Personal Finances.
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