It’s October, Fresher’s week is now just a hazy memory (if it was ever even that!) and the day to day routine of being a student is taking hold. Yes, you now have to feed yourself, do your own washing and get to lectures on time!
Becoming a student can be a huge step towards independence for most young people. For me, it was the first time I’d lived away from home and managed a budget – or not as the case may be. I was lucky in that my parents were able to support me and paid for my accommodation but everything else came out of my own pocket as subsidised by a student loan, part time job and my overdraft.
|This picture makes me glad that 1999 wasn’t the age of the smartphone . . .|
Looking back on my university days I made some big financial mistakes and so I’m sharing these with you now in the hope it saves someone else from doing the same thing . . .
Your overdraft is not for spending!
Most student bank accounts come with a free overdraft. This is not free money. Ok so they’re not going to charge you for borrowing it whilst you’re at university but you will have to pay it back eventually and you probably will have to pay interest on that too! Leave it alone, it’s there for emergencies – and emergencies are not beer or new jeans honestly.
Credit Cards are BAD m’kay
That might be a tad over dramatic, credit cards do serve a purpose – safer online shopping being a big one. However, they are not free money! (Do you spot a theme here?) You will be charged interest, you will have to pay it back and when you do it’s going to eat into your future spending (or even affect your credit options at a later date when it matters more – I promise that buying a house when you’re older is already stressful enough without trying to clear swathes of student credit card debt.)
It’s boring I know but its so important. Work out what money you have and how long it’s got to last you, then work out what you need to spend. (Notice I say need not want). Check that everything adds up – have you actually got enough money? Can you cut back on anything? If there’s a bit spare then you can play with that!
Do your research
There’s all sorts of websites out there full of tips and suggestions for being careful with your money – for example the Savy Students Guide or MSE (which is still my ‘go to’ now in my mid thirties) and all manner of places to hunt down discount codes and vouchers for meals out or online shopping.
Get a job
Getting a part time job is probably the last thing you want to do – who wants to add additional responsibility to their student lifestyle, however I worked for 3 of the 4 years I was at university and aside from giving me a regular income I also made friends and gained valuable life skills (and a whole array of useless Disney trivia!)
*This is a sponsored post*