Starting university is an exciting time, but it’s also a very expensive one! Here’s a few suggestions that can help you stay on top of your finances and save you from the debt monster.
- First and foremost, the most obvious solution is finding a part time job that fits alongside your studies. This can be easier said than done! Finding a job as soon as you turn 16 can help you to build on your experience, and let’s face it, that’s all employers want to see these days. If you already have a job your employer may be able to transfer you to a branch near your university. Volunteering is a successful way to increase your chances of finding a job – all experience counts.
- I know shopping at Lidl or Aldi can be a little embarrassing or frowned upon but saving £20 a shop is well worth it! And you can take your M&S or Waitrose bags into Aldi to pack your shopping in. No one will ever know.
- Organise your income – I hate checking my bank balance, but I found the more you do, the more aware you are of how much money you actually have. Calculate your spending and try and stick to a realistic budget – this will really help you in the long run.
- Track your spending – online banking is a must! Instead of wasting paper ordering bank statements, the banking app on your phone can help you to check your balance whenever you want to. Always check your receipts, you’d be surprised at what items may have been added on to them! Compare prices in different supermarkets and don’t take out more cash than you need to. It will all help you keep control of your finances.
- Use your student discount wherever you can! That’s what it’s there for. Apps such as Groupon and Wowcher will definitely help you bag a bargain.
- One person’s trash is another’s treasure – sell your unwanted items on apps such as Shpock or Depop to earn a little extra cash. Buying or selling textbooks on Ebay or Amazon is another way to save a pretty penny.
- You will be offered student overdrafts, credit cards and store cards but the best thing to do is AVOID these at all costs. They sound amazing, but look out for hidden fees and interest rates written in the barely noticeable ‘terms and conditions’.
- Make your money work harder. Look for student bank accounts that have decent interest rates, or offer freebies. Some throw in a 3 year railcard which is handy to save on train journeys home.
- Avoid unnecessary expenditure – if you don’t need it, don’t buy it! (words to live by).
- Every penny makes a £1 – don’t throw out your coppers, collect them in a jar. You’ll be surprised at the amount you collect over time.
Babita is a graduate from Newman University in Birmingham, where she completed a degree in Early Childhood Education and Care. She enjoys reading and has a pet dog, Ty.