Managing your finances as a student can be difficult. Even if you take out the maximum student loans available to
you, and qualify for all the grants and bursaries, you will find you have to budget effectively to manage your money well. Just because you are young it doesn’t mean that you can spend your money irresponsibly, or you might find it difficult to pay off your debt once you start to work. Moreover, if you learn to manage your money wisely, you will not have to bother your parents every time you run out of money.
One of the hardest aspects of managing your money is the fact that your student loans and grants are paid to you once every term – in September, January and then following Easter, usually in April. This means that, while you are given an attractive lump sum into your bank account, you have around 14 weeks in between payments.
Pay your rent
One useful way to manage your money is to divide your rent into segments corresponding to when you are paid, and pay the lot at once when your loans and grants are paid to you. Although this may seem a huge amount to pull out all at once, it will save you scrimping and saving for future rent payments. If you are in Halls, you will probably find that payments are calculated per term anyway, to correspond with your payment schedule.
Buy tins and packets of food in bulk
Buy food that keep well in bulk when you are paid. Tins of beans, tuna, corned beef, vegetables and so on are reasonably priced and keep well for long periods. Also stock up on pasta, rice and oats, and if you have a freezer, a variety of frozen foods.
Take advantage of your interest-free overdraft
Use your overdraft but don’t empty your account straight away, running the risk of returned direct debits and so on, causing your bank account to be in jeopardy. Remember that your mobile phone bill, along with any other direct debits, will still need to be paid monthly.
Avoid splurging on big purchases such as a laptop
Although tempting, avoid buying a top-of-the-range laptop with your first payment. It might seem like a necessity but in a month or two, when you’ve spent your money, you will be regretting it. Similarly, be careful on overspending on textbooks – you are unlikely to need every book on your reading list, and those you do can be bought second-hand.