For most students, going to university is their first time living away from home. It represents a major milestone in life. You have your newly-found independence, no parents telling you what to do, and the benefits of a huge sum of money planted into your account at the start of each term. As a result, a lot of students tend to go overboard with their spending, especially in the first year.
It’s no surprise then that students have such a bad reputation for money management. Unless you are receiving a grant, student loans are not free. In many cases, they barely cover the cost of accommodation and food. Living comfortably at university can be a massive stretch for your finances, particularly if you want to enjoy all the social aspects and get involved with clubs and societies.
For students on a budget, there are several ways to save money while still enjoying all that university life has to offer.
The minute your student loan comes in, it’s tempting to go on a big spending spree, but you will regret it later. The first thing you should do is create a budget. Your budget should outline your essential costs, such as rent, textbooks, and food shopping. It will then tell you how much you have left to spend on the things you really want to.
Most high street banks offer student accounts that come with a range of benefits. Shop around to find the one that is most likely to save you money. Many come with perks such as travel cards and store discounts, but one of the most important considerations is an interest-free overdraft. Although this shouldn’t be confused with free money – you have to pay it back – this will give you a helpful back-up if you are faced with any unforeseen costs.
Choosing your accommodation is an area where you can save an enormous amount of money. First off, decide whether you want to live in student accommodation or commute from home. Living at home will be considerably cheaper, but it means you may miss out on may of the social benefits that come with living with other students. If you do choose to move to a student house, don’t rush to find somewhere. Conduct extensive research to find a property that provides the best value. Click here for help finding student accommodation.
Most students value partying and drinking as an integral part of university life, but going out every other night puts a considerable dent in your wallet. Try to limit the number of times you go out per week. When you do go out, only take cash and leave your card at home to put a cap on your spending.
Pot noodles and takeaway pizza is the classic stereotype of students. Break this perception by cooking yourself healthy, budget-friendly meals. Clubbing together to cook with housemates is a brilliant way to save money and minimise waste. Pay attention to discounts and loyalty cards which can cut costs on many foods and household items.
University should be one of the best times of your life. Don’t let poor money management get in the way of that. Follow these tips to get the most from your student finances.