Here are our Top Ten Budgeting tips that you can share with your year 13s for when they become first year university students:
1. Make a budget
List all your expenses (food, accommodation, bills …) and income (loan, grants, salary…) and be realistic about your requirements. Take note of the due dates too to make sure you avoid any late charges.
2. Student bank accounts
Look for an interest free overdraft. Some accounts also offer freebies like Rail Cards. Always read the small print so you know when you need to repay.
3. Scholarships and bursaries
Check with universities to see what extra money or discounts you qualify for. Every university will have different packages and remember to check if you have to apply or if you are automatically allocated it.
4. Shop around
Is it available elsewhere at a cheaper price? Is a second hand copy okay? Remember to ask for student discount.
5. Plan your meals
Even if you pay for catered accommodation you will still need to organise lunches. It is much cheaper to buy supplies from the supermarket to make your own sandwiches and to have a refillable bottle than to buy food and drinks when you are out.
6. Impulse buys
Do you need it? If you don’t really need it put it back! Having a list when you shop helps you keep on track. Also, eat before you shop. It is easier to resist those snacks by the tills when you are not hungry.
7. Get a job
Your focus should be on your studies but many students have a part time job during term and/or a full time one over the summer. Not only will this help your finances but it will look good on your CV.
8. Separate accounts
When you receive your student loans and grants transfer enough money to cover all your bills into a one account and have a separate account for your ‘play money’. This will help you make sure that you are never caught short for your bills. Missing payments for bills can damage your credit history and cause you problems later on.
9. Don't steal from yourself
If you dip into money that is allocated to your bills you will get yourself into a financial mess. Try to be strict with yourself and don’t take your debit card out with you on a night out!
10. Reward yourself
If you have stuck to your budget and you have a little money to spare get yourself a present!
Student Finance: A Student's Perspective
My top tip would be to write everything down and try to plan and budget when you can. I always try to shop with a list too which stops me from getting distracted and just chucking everything in! If you have a bad week it’s not the end of the world as it happens to everyone! Just be extra strict with yourself the next week.
Budgeting definitely comes with experience and in no time at all most students will feel like they’ve joined the real adult world of responsibility and bills. The joys!
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