5 Super Money Tips That Every Student Should Know
Ah Uni days. Even though they are definitively in my rear-view mirror, September often makes me think fondly back to my time as a student.
Still I sometimes wonder what would happen if 30-something me could go back and give the carefree teenage Ms Contented some sound monetary advice and steer her towards thinking of finances beyond, "I’m so buying those boots when I get a job".
Since mastering time travel is still on my to do list I will instead pass this to you MoneyNoters to share with the students in your life. Here are five money managing tips that I wish someone had told student me:
Money Tip #1 Down with the debt
University will likely bring about your very first brush with debt; student loans (Technically this is a graduate tax not debt but you will still feel like it's one), overdrafts and credit cards. While most students will have no choice but to take these on to manage the spiralling costs of university, the key is to manage your debt carefully. Be careful about the cost of debt (i.e., interest rate) and make sure you’re getting the best offers with your overdraft. A lot of universities have some hardship funds to help students facing financial difficulties, so don’t be afraid to ask for help if things are getting out of control.
Money Tip #2 It’s never too early to start investing
Yes, spare pennies are hard to find as a student, but it’s not as hard as you think if you download MoneyBox. MoneyBox rounds your debit card purchases up to the nearest pound and invests the pennies into a fund depending on your stated level of risk (for example, it rounds your 75p purchase to £1 and thus invests 25p). Depending on your spending, it could help you invest around £1 per day. Imagine how nice it would be to get to the end of the year, and find an unexpected £300 tucked away? The world of investing is an exciting one and there are other ways to also invest as a student. Drop us a line if you are interested in exploring further.
Money Tip #3 Begin the budget
Yes, it sounds boring, but forcing yourself to set a realistic budget and stick to it really will make a huge difference. Set aside money for essentials like rent and food first (I had a friend who would set aside three months’ rent once she got her student loan to make sure that accommodation was always covered) and build from there.
Money Tip #4 Find the freeness!
Most of us like a good bargain, but everyone loves free stuff! Make friendly with the Milk Round, the term given to describe companies touring universities every year to promote their opportunities and coax students into their various graduate schemes. This includes offering tons of free giveaways, including, food and toiletries. A certain Chief MoneyNoter can reveal that he once attended the milk round and collected enough laundry detergent to happily wash his clothes for an entire year! While I wouldn’t advocate going to these lengths, see what bargains you can pick up while perhaps taking an important career step at the same time? Win/win!
Money Tip #5 Take advantage of student perks
There are so may perks and discounts you get as a student. From your NUS student discount card to your National Rail Young Person’s Card, there are a ton of ways to save money everything from nights out to day trips simply by producing a student card. There’s a fantastic list of all the stores where you can get discount and tons of other offers on the Save the Student.
Let’s be honest, long terms DIBs (debt, investing, budgets) are three of the things that a lot of students are least concerned about, they certainly weren’t my priorities. Still just by taking these very minor steps, I could have saved myself a lot of money woes. What tips do you wish you could give your student self? Tell us in the comments or tweet us @MoneyNotesUK using #studenttips.