How to make sure you don't run out of money at university
Being a student is hard and expensive.
Being responsible with your money can be difficult especially if you’re moving away from home and have new-found freedom. Here are six tips that will help stop you from blowing your student loan all in one go.
1. Check your bank account regularly (like really regularly)
This tip might seem obvious, but when you use contactless carelessly, you don’t realise how much you have spent just from tapping away. Don’t be one of those people that finds out they have no money once their card gets declined in front of 30 other people.
2. If you LOVE clothes, don’t buy anything full price
Part of being a student is being resourceful with what little we have. Many retailers offer student discounts, and these can be used to take advantage of all the seasonal sales. Websites such as Youth Discount offer loads of discounts across a number of categories—including fashion, beauty, lifestyle, health and fitness and technology. Also, we all know someone who works in retail, maybe you do too! Help each other get discounts at all your stores to really save some dough.
3. Don’t spend your student loan all in one go
It is extremely important to be more responsible with your money once you've moved away from home. For example, if you were to get £6000 from student finance, you will need to divide that into four sections to last your for four months which will leave you with £1.500 a month. This will take some serious discipline—we all know people who have little to nothing within one week of student finance dropping.
4. Having a savings account could be a lifesaver
Not many students put money aside for a rainy day. Imagine you need some extra supplies for a project and don’t have any money? That’s a sticky situation. As mentioned above, stick to your allocated budget. You only use that money for that month and don’t go over. Having a savings account would be helpful as you could transfer the rest of the money to the savings account and that way you won’t go over £1,500.
5. Student accounts: a blessing or a trap?
So you don’t have savings and you don’t have money to pay for supplies for that uni project, what now? You might be one of the many students who have a student account which offers a very generous overdraft. This money can act as a cushion for tough times, but opening a student account is only beneficial when you know how to manage your money. If you don’t it's best you don’t open a student account because it’s a trap. People get carried away and end up spending all of their overdraft, and then have to focus on paying it back before they get charged. This is a vicious cycle that goes on and on.
6. Don’t buy branded food
Seriously, branded food just has a fancy name—don't be fooled. Shopping in Aldi or Lidl will save you so much more money than shopping in your local Tesco or Asda. They all sell the same food. The local branches of Tesco and Asda in student areas always have higher prices due to the demand and because they are more convenient. So, get some exercise and go and grab yourself a bargain. Also, to help you save money, you should plan your weekly shopping list—this will help to stop you buying irrelevant stuff and spending way more than planned.
So, these are some tips that I have I learned over my time as a university student, but this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t enjoy yourself and treat yourself every once in a while. University is a chance to form some of the best memories in your life and this is worth more than money itself—just be sensible.