If you spent Christmas at home with your family, like most university students did, we’ll bet you’ve consumed your body weight in chocolate and mince pies.
Whilst Xmas is all about eating, drinking, and being merry – surrounded by your nearest and dearest – it can also be one of (if not) the most expensive times of the year, leaving you feeling strapped for cash in January.
As a student, you’ll more than likely have a hectic schedule of studying and socialising when you return to uni. And that means you’ll have to carefully manage your money to ensure you have enough to cover the essentials, such as food, toiletries, bills and books – not forgetting the occasional night out to celebrate someone’s birthday!
Luckily, there are a few ways to make your student loan go even further – including simple things, such as sitting down at your student accommodation in Liverpool and figuring out how much you can realistically afford to spend each week.
Here we take a look at them in more detail.
5 budgeting tips for university students
1. Compile a list of your incomings and outgoings
It sounds really boring, but look at how much cash you’ll have coming in at the start of, and during, the term. This includes everything from student loans to grants, cash handouts from Mum and Dad, income from part-time work, savings, etc.
Then, work out how much money you’ll have going out during the term (i.e. rent, bills, food shopping, toiletries, course supplies and new clothes), and subtract this amount from your incomings.
Once you’ve done that, divide the total by the number of weeks in a term – and that should help you calculate a budget.
2. Use a separate bank account for everyday spending
Most students will have a student bank account with an interest-free overdraft, providing a safety net for short-term cash flow problems.
The idea of taking out credit cards may have crossed your mind numerous times – especially after spending so much at Christmas – but it’s often not the solution, as they charge high-interest rates and affect your credit score if they aren’t repaid on time.
Instead, we recommend opening up a separate bank account with Monzo, for example. This will help you to track your daily spending, by taking the money you spend out of your account immediately. And if the money isn’t there for you to spend, you can’t get yourself into debt.
3. Take advantage of discounts
Who doesn’t love a bargain?
Thanks to UNiDAYS and Student Beans, you can enjoy up to 20% off at your favourite high street shops, restaurants and fitness centres, and get your hands on loads of freebies. You can also benefit from discounted rail travel and cheaper subscriptions. Perks of being a student, hey!
So, if you’re feeling skint in the new year, be sure to see what discounts are available before you pay full price for an item and burn a hole through your wallet.
4. Monitor your bank balance regularly
After a wild night out in town or taking advantage of the January sales, checking your online banking is enough to fill you with dread.
However, you must pluck up the courage and log in to check your bank balance as, if you’re slipping behind, you can tighten your belt and curb unnecessary spending.
Perhaps not at the beginning of the year, but if you’ve somehow got more than you expected, you could treat yourself to a little something – be it a new top for that night out you’ve got planned, a cheeky takeaway at the weekend, or a couple of beers.
5. Limit spending splurges to the day before you get your student loan
The best way to manage your money at uni is to create a budget and stick to it. Of course, there’ll be times when you’ll be tempted to overspend and splurge, but our best advice is to hold off spending until the end of your budgeting period.
For example, if you’re due to get your student loan at the beginning of the month, wait until the end of the month to do some much-needed retail therapy or present buying. At least then, you won’t have to wait too long for your bank balance to be topped up.
Though we might be slightly biased, here at Caro Lettings, we believe the best thing students can do to save their money is secure a room at our student accommodation in Liverpool.
Our modern accommodation comes with all the latest mod-cons – including an en-suite bathroom, TV and gym access – yet doesn’t break the bank. What’s more, bills are included in the monthly rent, so you know exactly where you’re at.
To find out more about our student lets in Liverpool city centre, don’t hesitate to get in touch. You can either call us on 0800 008 7888 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll get back to you.