The first year of University is a daunting prospect for most young people, having to move away from your parents for the first time and being independent can seem scary. One of the biggest things that I see my fellow students struggle with is controlling their finances. For some people this just comes naturally, or maybe they will have a lot of help from their parents. However for the rest of us learning to live on a very small budget when you have never previously paid too much attention your cost of living is quite a challenge. I have written this article to provide you with some tips on a few areas in which students often struggle with money.
The first piece of advice I will give you is not to buy anything silly with your student loan when you get it! This might seem obvious but many people find it hard not to go and treat themselves the second they see that £1500 sitting in their bank accounts for the first time (or even the second, third and eighth times!). This is compounded by the fact that most students have a fairly sizeable overdraft nowadays, which means you could have around £3000 of available funds, possibly for the first time in your life. If there is something you really want to buy then the best advice I can give is wait until the end of the semester to buy it. This lowers the risk of any nasty surprises causing you to run out of money before the semester is up.
Remember that your overdraft is not bottomless. If you get £1500 and you are doing a 3 year course then that means you really only get £500 of loan per year! The main use of your overdraft should be to act as a buffer in case of emergencies. I would not take it into account for my normal spending. I’d also highly recommend against getting a credit card. There should be no situation for a student in which your student loan, overdraft is not enough. If this is the case then it means you are spending too much and you most definitely should not have a credit card in this case! If you are really struggling then you should get a part time job as this will give you money instead of costing you money like a credit card. You can also get financial advice from your university and many students are eligible for certain grants without being aware of it.