The early stages of a person’s time at university are perhaps some of the most defining moments in a student’s life. It’s a time when a young adult becomes independent for the first time in their life. With this comes a series of challenges and there’s no greater learning experience than being able to cope by yourself financially. For many people, it can be a shock going from the security of financial support from parents to the real world of independence. University life is all about learning and it’s in the hands of students to take necessary measures that will safeguard their financial stability.
In this article we will look at some of the best essential steps that a student can take to help manage their budget and keep their finances in check.
Search Around for Deals Before Committing
Welcome to student life and welcome to adult responsibilities like paying the bills! When you move out of your parents’ home to a student home, depending on your accommodation situation, you will have several monthly bills to take care of. This includes things like rent, energy, water, broadband and TV fees. Several of these bills will have various options available. Before you commit to a service, look around for different packages and consider your options. Comparison and advice websites such as Money Saving Expert can help you find a deal that fits you.
Cut out Purchases That Drain Money
When was the last time you seriously evaluated your regular purchases? It can be easy to fall into the habit of purchasing items that you have little use for or could do without. If you are a regular smoker, cutting down can help you save money in the long run. Choosing to drink more water as opposed to coffee can be healthier and cheaper. Do you find yourself getting carried away with too many nights out? Cut down on your lively lifestyle or opt for budget-friendly establishments. If you own a car but find yourself using it little or only for short journeys, it’s worth questioning whether it is worth the money. Reducing unnecessary purchases and selling anything you no longer need is an essential tip for keeping your finances intact.
Choose to Eat in Rather Than Out
Students have a bad reputation when it comes to dining. There is a common perception that students only indulge in bland dishes like noodles, tinned food and ready-made dishes. Not to mention takeaways can be a popular but extremely costly option among the student community! Another tip is to avoid shopping when hungry or you might end up indulging in something that you don’t need. Choosing to eat in rather than out, and cooking meals from scratch with fresh ingredients, will prove to be more cost-effective in the long run. Simple products like salt and pepper seasoning can do wonders for transforming the taste of a meal without blowing your budget.
Take Advantage of Student Discounts
Students have access to a wide range of student discounts. It’s definitely worth taking advantage of these exclusive offers while you can. Even the smallest discount can save you a lot of money in the long run. Several retailers will typically have exclusive discounts for students where all you must do is display your student ID card. You can also get a NUS (National Union of Students) card which provides access to a huge range of savings. Discounts are not only available for retail and leisure products and services, but also ones necessary for your day-to-day life, such as public transport. There are plenty of websites dedicated to highlighting the offers and discounts that students can make the most of.
Borrow Books Instead of Buying
In all the excitement of starting university and being eager to get off on the right foot, many students fall into the trap of buying their reading list outright. Student books can be extremely expensive. While the idea of owning a book for life may seem like the ideal option, chances are you won’t have use for it in a year’s time. For any books you require, you should be able to borrow them from the university library.
Seek Cheap Accommodation When Travelling
We all enjoy a break every now and then, even if it’s just a quick weekend visit to another city in the country. Luxury accommodation at a chain hotel can seem like a preferred and secured choice, but it can also be more than it’s worth. If you are travelling and just require a room for a night’s stay or two, there’s an abundance of budget options available. One popular choice amongst students is that of a hostel. There’s a lot of misconceptions about hostels when in truth they can be quirky, safe and provide a communal vibe. In fact, some hostels now boast luxury features that make them a suitable alternative to hotels. One such example is Sleep Eat Love, a luxury hostel in Liverpool.
Plan Your Budget
Whatever steps you intend to take to keep on top of your finances as a student, it’s important to plan your budget as best as possible. Using a budget planner, and by keeping track such as regularly updating a spreadsheet, you can manage your finances effectively. It’s important to assess how much income you have, how much you spend on a monthly basis, and how much money is available until your next payment date.
With these tips, you will be able to manage your finances and make the most of your student experience. Oh, if these tips are still leaving you with a need for more money, why not get a part-time job?
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