If you’ve recently received your results and have found out which university you’re going to be heading off to later this year, perhaps your thoughts have turned to money. The enormous cost of university education has hit the headlines multiple times throughout the past year which can cause worry for prospective and current students. However, it’s good to know that with careful management of your finances you’ll still be able to afford to enjoy all the things university has to offer. Our team at Loan Pig have put together some top money management tips for students.
Create a Budget
The first step to successful money management is ensuring that you have established a realistic budget. Your budget should take into account any income you have, whether it is from a part-time job or your student loan company, and your expenses. Important expenses to consider include the obvious things such as rent and food costs but also other less obvious expenses such as phone bills and entertainment costs. Be honest with yourself about how much you expect to spend and how much you can actually afford, otherwise you’ll set yourself a budget which is impossible to stick to.
Track Your Expenses
It’s easy enough to decide how much you should be spending on a monthly basis but sticking to it can be difficult. Make sure you get into the habit of checking your bank balance on a regular basis. This will help you to keep track of your spending and make sure you aren’t hitting your overdraft as soon as the semester begins. Another tactic for keeping track of your expenses is to keep all of your receipts or write down exactly what you are spending. There are also plenty of budgeting apps available to download which make this process much easier.
It’s easy to get carried away when you are on a night out. One way of cutting down how much you spend is to take out a set amount of cash each week and use this to pay for things whenever possible. The increasing popularity of contactless payments and card transactions has made it all too easy for us to swipe our cards without really thinking about how much we are spending. Having cash in your hand makes the transaction much more physical; you see yourself parting with your hard-earned cash. For this reason, people are less likely to spend unnecessarily when they use cash instead of their debit or credit card.
Buy Second Hand Textbooks
Textbooks are typically the biggest expense that students encounter. Each module has its own reading list and each reading list is packed full of textbooks which are marked as essential reading. When you’re trying to reduce your budget, the best way to save yourself some money is to buy all of your books second hand. Alternatively, make sure you take advantage of your university’s library and take them all out for free at the beginning of term.