Uni has started and the student finance has dropped in to your bank account. This is probably the most amount of money you’ve ever seen in your account, am I right? So what is the perfectly normal thing to do? Go out and spend it of course!
But not so fast. If you spend it all now you will pretty much be broke for the rest of the term. Which is probably not the best idea as you may end up eating pot noodles for up to 12 weeks. In the words of Kim K….
1. Budget, Budget, Budget
Now some of us may already be coming to uni with this very important life skill, which is fantastic keep on going! If not, however, in order to survive during term time it is important to budget your student finance accordingly because once it’s gone.. it’s gone.
A handy tip to avoid this, is to always pay your rent first! Afterwards, divide the amount of money you have left by the amount of weeks in a term. That way you will be able to budget your spending for the week, e.g. money for food and socials. Make sure you are realistic with your spending, don’t save a lot of money for pints of beers in one week and only leave £5 for a weekly food shop! Create a spreadsheet or a little reminder note to put on your wall of your spending limits.
2.What to do if the money isn’t enough?
In general, the money you get from student finance is never enough, no matter how much they give us! The best thing to do is get a flexible part time job that can sustain you throughout the year. Look out for roles which allow you to work at any time that suits you. Make sure it does not get in the way of your studies because ultimately you are here to get a degree and have fun! A good example of a part time job would be catering; a large amount of students work in these types of roles and there’s plenty of bonuses.
You can also find other sources of income like selling old clothes, CD’s, any bits and bobs that may be lying around. Carry out surveys, sign up to studies that pay you for participating or complete surveys are just some other ways you can earn that extra coin.
3. What is a student account?
In simple terms, it’s basically an account specifically designed for students which lasts the duration of your course. It generally includes, interest free rates on overdrafts with some additional perks and discounts depending on what account you choose to open up with. Students usually have a difficult time picking the right bank to open up with. Not to worry, I’ve found article. which offers a simple in-depth guide of what banks have to offer this year.
An overdraft is when your bank balance is below zero and you borrow money from the bank. The money you borrow is usually charged at a certain rate but as a student you there are no charges up to a certain limit. For example, banks usually give overdraft limits from £500 -£3000 at 0% interest until you graduate. So is it worth it ?
Well if you do find yourself running out of money it can help you pay off important stuff such as bills and you have the duration of your uni course to pay off your overdraft. Think of it as emergency money.
(GREAT TIP) – If you do not usually run in to your overdraft, you could put the overdraft money in an ISA account and build up savings from the interest the money generates. Then pay the money back before you gain interest charges and you get to keep the free interest money you’ve generated!
5. Final tips
One great thing to do whilst at uni is save any spare cash that you have and get into the habit of doing so. A lot of unexpected things occur during your time here and they’re usually quite expensive. You never know what you may have to pay out for!
Another thing to do is build up your credit score by getting a credit card or store card. You could use it to buy your weekly shop for example but don’t forget to pay off what you’ve bought. This really helps you in the long run for when you want to buy your first house for example.
Happy Financing !