5 Tips on How to Be a Financially Savvy Student at University (And Have Fun at the Same Time!)

Being a student doesn't mean that you cannot be good with money, even if you receive the basic maintenance loan.

Can you have fun while living as a student in receipt of little payments? Over course you can!
I receive the basic loan at university and I still manage to socialise and treat myself once in a while! You don't have to have lots of money to have a great time socialising at university but you do need to be smart about how you handle and manage your money, so here are some pointers on how to be a financially savvy student.

1. Budget!
This is my most importance tip. If you attend university now, or if you are planning to go to university in the future, take on this piece advice because it is essential and necessary. It is very tempting for many students to blow their maintenance loan and overdraft, but do not do this! Use your overdraft for emergencies only, and a maintenance loan is there for a reason: to help you survive and cover (some of) your needs while at you study at university.

Budgeting is pretty simple. Calculate your costs for a social activity (e.g. shopping, eating at a restaurant or going to a cinema) then set your limit (and stick to it).

Pay for things in cash instead of using a card, because you can manage your budget better when you see what you are spending, and exercise self-discipline, self-control and willpower. Don't feel tempted to purchase an item as soon as you view it without thinking about it first. Never buy on impulse, think more than once about purchasing a product, and understand the value of money. You can make your money go further.

2. Save, save and save!
Don't just spend your money, save it! Get a money pot and start putting in coins and notes regularly. You'd be very surprised how much you could save over a period of time but it all adds up. Whether you have a goal to save for (e.g. a holiday) or you don't feel as though you have anything to save for, just do it! It is highly motivating to have something to save for but you don't need a reason – just save for a rainy day, and while you are at it, open a savings account with a bank or a credit union.

3. Get a job.
Get a job so that you can have more money in your purse, pockets and bank account. Some students prefer not to work while studying for their degree and this is understandable but working can be so rewarding and could help you to gain extra experience in employment. Plus, having a job means that you can fund your lifestyle and buy nice stuff you want without having to touch your student loan or overdraft.

In my case, I have not had a long-term job since I've been at university, but I have had odd jobs doing casual work.  I've worked as a student ambassador for my university, and a couple of summers ago I worked in fashion retail for a month.  Before university I was on a gap year and during that time I worked in retail and I was a paid freelance writer a a student company's blog, and I worked in that job from the beginning of my gap year till halfway through my foundation year.

If you can, try to get work as an ambassador, or if you have special talents try to get freelance/casual work.  Getting work like this can help you to gain skills and experience, as well as adding extra cash to your bank balance!

4. Keep a lookout for sales, offers and discounts!
As a student you are entitled to so many discounts, sales and offers from your favourite brands, so always keep an eye out for deals. You can easily save money by searching for bargains. Get discount cards (e.g. NUS Extra) and sign up to discount websites (e.g. UNiDAYS) and pick up a loyalty card if you use a particular brand regularly.

5. Don't get a credit card.
Don't bother getting a credit card. You can easily fall into the trap of temptation and overspending if you have one. Some companies will offer credit cards at the start of the academic year during Freshers' Week but don't accept (unless you have a steady job and can 100% make the payments.)

No comments