Finances are a problem that students can face over the course of a year. This could include costs of rent, food and lots of other issues. There are lots of ways you can look after your money while studying and here I will give you my top tips to help you manage your finances:
Plan out your budget
If you plan out your budget, your income and outgoings, it is much easier to track your spending. Planning out your budget allows you to see how much money you have to spend in each area and lets you keep track if you are going over your budget, helping to prevent debt.
Plan your meals
This will help you save money when you shop as you don’t buy food that you aren’t going to use and ultimately waste. Any food you throw away is just a waste of your money.
Look for cheaper alternatives
Go for the cheaper options or buy in bulk. Most non-branded options are almost the exact same as a branded item (about 90% similar), and are a lot cheaper. Also, if you can buy in bulk, this will often coast you less in the long run and is a great way to save some money which could spend on something else.
Save for unexpected expense
My fourth finance tip is to save a little money in case of an unexpected expense. An unexpected expense, like a car repair or technology repair costs, can really hurt your finances and can make you struggle to pay for the other things you need. That is why I recommend in having a little money saved up in case you have to pay for something you weren’t expecting and it will leave you in a better financial position moving forward. Putting a small amount of money into a savings pot each month will soon add up!
Remember to use your student discounts: lots of stores - especially those which have Universities near - give student discounts or may even give away some free offers. It is always worth asking if they give discount to students as it a great way to save a little money: if you don't ask, you don't get!
Try and avoid using your overdraft, if possible, however have it in case you need it. Lots of student bank accounts have 0% overdraft fees as long as you remain inside an agreed limit, however this is still a loan and you will have to repay this money back. You don’t want to have a big debt on your student bank account if you can help it. While it is maybe useful to have just in case of an emergency, try not to use it too often if possible. Another issue with your overdraft is the fees may increase when you leave University, so you could end up having to pay lots more than you borrowed to begin with.
Never go above your overdraft limit
Going above your agreed overdraft limit will lead you to getting charged fees from the bank. The fees will out you into further financial trouble. Therefore, it is definitely best to avoid.
Be very careful and aware of using credit cards. A credit card is where you borrow money from the bank to pay for something, and you often pay it off at the end of the month. However, you must ensure you can pay it off at the end of the month, otherwise you will start to get charged interest from the bank and can leave you owing lots of money which can take long time to pay off, so be very careful when using them. Not paying off your credit card debt will also affect your credit score, which you may kick yourself for a few years down the line.
Use online banking
While you need to be careful paying for things online, online banking can really help you keep track of your money and what you have spent. It is useful as you can see exactly how much money you have and helps prevent you accidently overspending and going over your budget, which can lead to problems later on.
Stick to your budget
You can plan out your budget as much as you like, but it is just words and numbers on a page if you don’t follow it. So, try your best to stick to the budget and if you haven’t got much left ensure you are saying no to buying what you don’t need and remaining within the limits you have set yourself. If you really do have to go over your budget in one area, try to regain that money by not spending as much in another section. Do these things are the best way to ensure that you don’t go into debt and that your finances are not another thing to stress over.
So, there you have it, my top tips to help you with your finances and help ensure you enjoy your time at University without having to constantly worry about your money.
Hopefully these tips will help you get on track with your spending habit and allow you to get yourself in a better financial state.