One of the major issues affecting students from day-to-day is money and managing this effectively can be a worry. For many students there are two problems when it comes to their finances. The first is not knowing how to properly budget and the second is knowing how to manage it but, like a seasonal diet, getting bored and blowing all your hard work! So here are a few tips to help guide you through the rest of the term:
Know your outgoings (times three rule)
The first thing you need to do once your student loan enters your account is to work out how much expendable income you really have. It’s really simple: add up one month’s necessary outgoings (food, rent, phone contract, travel) and so on and then times this figure by three (January, February, March) or by four if you don’t go home for the holidays, as you’ll need to include April. This is the figure you absolutely have to keep aside – the next step is to deduct this amount from your loan and voila, whatever is left is what you may afford to shell out. The logic behind this is even if you completely run out of money, all of the important stuff is covered!
Now, here’s how to manage and limit that expenditure:
Plan your meals and make a ‘necessaries’ shopping list
This makes a huge difference when you walk into a supermarket as it can stop you from wandering around licking your lips and being tempted by food and niceties which are too expensive, you don’t really need, or will inevitably sit in your cupboard for the rest of the year!
Think to yourself ‘do I really need this’
When you’re out and about it can be really tempting to buy this and that…sometimes all it takes is walking past lush, but it’s time to put an end to that! Put in a pot the value for whatever it is you wanted to buy and add this up at the end of the term!
Put that triple chocolate caramel extra cream macchiato down!
However tempted you may be, a cup of tea at home will cost you around 30p, a huge difference to the £2.90 from the coffee shop. Don’t waste money or time buying drinks out – invest in a flask which will allow you to make that homemade cuppa portable!
Use the library!
Books are expensive and while you’ll be advised to buy a main coursebook or two it is always advisable to do any subsidiary reading using library resources – there are so many resources available online too where you can find a free version of the text you require!
There are so many helpful tips available online if you ever feel stuck but the important thing, like with anything, is to stick to your plan. Even these five simple tips will help you to manage your money if done properly. So while they might not make you rich, you might find it’ll be the difference between being buried in your overdraft and remaining in the positives!