You’re a student, so you aren’t flush with cash, but you still want to have all of the fun that’s supposed to come with university life. It’s a tricky conundrum, but how do you overcome it?
Managing your money effectively during your university days is a real issue – according to the Save the Student site’s Student Money Survey 2015, a whopping 80% of students worry about having enough money to get by.
To minimise your chances of spending your entire student days in that 80%, here are some of our favourite tips for being savvier with your cash.
Budget, budget, budget
This has to be the most important advice of all for becoming savvier with your cash – set a budget so that you know in advance how much you’ll be paying out and how much you’ll be putting in each month. This mainly includes your groceries where you can get things like a sam’s club coupon to save even more money on your food each month. This will allow you to get help early if you know there will be a shortfall.
Account for day-to-day expenses like rent and food along with occasional or seasonal costs such as the buying of presents for Christmas and birthdays.
Turn termly payments into monthly or weekly ones
One of the most frequent problems that higher education students have is their money running out before the end of each term, due to their loan and grant payments being made on a termly basis, as opposed to the monthly or weekly basis on which they need to pay their bills.
A good way of managing this is to transfer your grant and loan payments into a savings account, setting it up to make monthly or weekly payments into your current account. This will enable you to better save money for the later weeks of each term.
Be open to unusual ways of boosting your funds
No, we aren’t referring to those horror stories about some students being forced to do adult web cam work or gamble their student loan.
That’s because there are unconventional ways to make money that won’t threaten your entire sanity or well-being. These range from getting paid to drink (moderately!) by becoming one of Serve Legal’s mystery shoppers, picking up paid blogging gigs or generating a few hundred or even thousands of pounds per month with a matched betting site like Profit Accumulator.
Naturally, there’s always the more traditional shop or bar work to consider as well!
Make sure you aren’t paying for things unnecessarily
Don’t throw away potentially hundreds of pounds a month due to a failure to cut out those things you don’t even need to pay for. One of the more obvious things to check out is whether you have to pay council tax – full-time further and higher education students generally don’t.
You should also ensure that you equip yourself with all of the cards and memberships out there that are dedicated to saving you money, such as the NUS extra card that gives you discounts at many retailers and even on services like mobile and broadband. For slashing the cost of travel, meanwhile, the 16-25 Railcard is a must, as long as you meet the age requirements.
Gaining and keeping control over your finances as a student doesn’t have to be fiendishly complicated – much of it is simply about closely following basic, proven principles of good money management. It’s certainly a skill that you will appreciate having in later life!