Freshers week is over, the student loan is in and there are number of special student shopping events going on throughout the country. Whilst the first loan instalment can seem like a godsend (and you will feel like you are blown in) but believe us, you are not rich and it won’t take long for you to realise that you have to adapt to the student budget.
Second and third years are already likely to have this down to the ground but for those just starting there are a few things that you can do to save money and help you budget, this doesn’t just apply to freshers either even experienced students need a few hints and tips along the way.
5 – Pay your overdraft before you graduate
This applies more to third years than freshers, but it is something to think about as a first year as your university experience will go faster than you could ever imagine. For those of you in your third year, you could try to save some of each of your third year loan instalments so that it is done and dusted before you graduate. Remember, as soon as you finish uni your student account will become a current or graduate account and you may start receiving overdraft charges.
For those of you just starting, if you take a bit of money from each loan instalment and transfer it into a savings account you should hopefully have enough to pay off your overdraft and you might even get some interest added if you choose the right account.
4 – Don’t get a credit card
As a student you should view credit cards as the devil in disguise. One second it can seem like a great idea, you can buy that coat, dress, pair of trainers or bag and not have to pay for it straight away. Whilst this true, if you haven’t got the money now, what make you think you’re going to have it in three weeks when the bill is due? Plus by the time the interest is added, what seemed like a bargain at the time is now the equivalent of full price. The same goes for store cards and catalogues; they’re a dangerous area for students.
3 – Takeaways are the enemy
One important thing you need to do as a student is learn how to cook, even if it is the humble pasta and sauce or beans on toast. Whilst the odd takeaway is okay they will wreak havoc on your bank balance if you eat them on a regular basis especially the more expensive Chinese and Indian take-outs which cost around £5 for the main alone.
Takeaways are usually best when purchased as a group therefore the cost is split. If you and your housemates decide to have a takeaway together it will work out cheaper than just one or two people having a takeaway especially when purchasing large pizza deals and set meals. Also make sure that you look online for deals and promotional codes as this will often save you quite a bit of money, some takeaways also offer student discount which will be even more beneficial.
2 – Get a job
Your student loan will provide you will some of the money that you need to live on but in order to live comfortably it will be better to get a part-time job. It is honestly amazing how much of a difference as little as eight hours’ worth of work per week will create for your bank balance.
Just that little bit of work will provide you with your alcohol money for the night out and you can save your loan money for the essential things that you actually need such as rent and food. This will also be of help if you do need to buy something new and if you work in retail you might even get staff discount, which is of course a bonus.
1 – Have a set budget
It doesn’t take Carol Vorderman to calculate a budget to live on so after you have your first loan instalment, sit down with a pen paper and a calculator and work out how much money you will have before your next loan arrives. When you have that figure, calculate how much you will have per week, withdraw that from your account and don’t draw out any more until the following week. Be strict with yourself and any money that you don’t use you can save for treats, clothes and special occasions such as birthdays, Christmas, Eid, Diwali or simply a girls/boys night out.