This week has been National Student Money Week (8th February 2016 – 12th February 2016) so there has never been a better time to be financially aware as a student. We understand how students already face financial difficulty and with the proposal to scrap student grants can see how this will only strain the student purse further.
Don’t worry! Fair Money Advice is here with some money tips for students!
Bills, bills, bills
The transition to university life can be difficult for students; often their first time living away from home missing family will not be the only issue as students now find for the first time they are in charge of their own budget and have to pay bills.
When your student loan hits your bank account it may seem like you suddenly have plenty of money but don’t forget this has to last you all term meaning you will need enough for rent, utility bills, council tax as well as all the other expenses of student life! Remember don’t feel pressured to spend it all in one go!
There will often be lots of tempting offers for students around the time of ‘student loan day’ but try to resist! Try and be smart with your money and question whether you really need to buy something because there’s a limited time 10% discount for students.
Be wise when it comes to things like store cards. They may seem great as you can spend on them until you receive your next student loan instalment but did you know that they are one of the most expensive ways to borrow! Store cards often have high interest rates so you could end up paying more than you bargained for.
Be smart; prioritise and budget to ensure your student loan lasts you throughout the term. It’s so simple you can even go to Brightside and use their student calculator.
Another consumer tip is to resist tempting offers from banks. Many banks will offer accounts for students with overdrafts however don’t feel you need to get an overdraft and if you do decide to get one make sure you get the best deal. The student market is a big deal for banks because once they’ve got you you’ll probably be a customer for life so choose wisely.
Some banks may try to pull you in with freebies which are nice but it will probably be better in the long run for you to look at who is actually offering the best deal for you.
A lot of banks will offer 0% interest overdrafts which sounds like a good deal. It may be wise to opt for an account with ‘tiered overdraft limits’. Tiered limits will let you access a certain amount of your overdraft each year. A tiered limit may mean you are not be able to borrow as a high an amount in one year as you would be able to with another account however it protects you from getting stuck if you overspend in your first year and use up your whole limit.
There are some downsides to student accounts too which should also be noted such as high interest and penalty fees which can be incurred if you exceed your overdraft limit. Don’t feel tied down to the bank you decide to go with as you can switch at any time if you see a better deal elsewhere.
If you take out a tuition loan and a maintenance loan you will already have a high level of debt when you finish university so why not try to accumulate as little extra debt as possible.
By following the simple tips already mentioned you can help ensure you leave university with the minimum debt.
By budgeting and being aware of your financial situation you can stay on top of your money to ensure you don’t overspend and you live within your means. Being consumer conscious will also help you live within your means for example what we have already mentioned about student discounts and store cards. Question the deals that are being offered to you and if they are really worth it.
You could look at it this way; retailers want you to spend money on their products therefore it is good for them to hook you in early in your consumer life by offering student discounts in the hope you will remain a loyal customer.
Remember being smart with your money as a student does not necessarily mean finding the shop which offers the highest student discount but being aware of your financial situation and what you can afford so you accumulate as little debt as possible.
Taking on a big chunk of debt from tuition and maintenance loan may make you feel like debt is normal and a necessity but it doesn’t necessarily have to be. If you are able to review your income and make a budget you may find you don’t need to take out further debt whilst at university such as an overdraft.
Pursuing university studies you want to get the best degree possible so you can get into a good job afterwards and secure your financial security for the future. There is enough pressure from coursework, exams and deadlines so staying on top of your finances can give you one less worry and help you focus on your studies.
Remember you can often get help and advice from your university if you are facing financial difficulty they will often have a team that deals with these specific issues.
You can also seek money advice and to find out more about how Fair Money Advice may be able to help why not contact us on; 02089880627. You can also connect with us on our twitter and facebook for more money tips and advice.