Many people think that student life is a breeze. They look back fondly on the days before work and family and responsibility took over their lives, and they forget that sometimes it can be pretty tough.
Yes, you have a lot of freedom and spare time on your hands, but you also work incredibly hard, are under a lot of pressure to do well, and must exist well below the breadline.
It is this last issue, in particular, that causes serious problems for some students. For most young people, university will be the first time that you’ve ever been fully in control of your own finances, and it can be a pretty steep learning curve. To help keep you in the black, here are three tips to live by.
Tip One: Budget
As simple and unexciting as it sounds, budgeting is a necessity for every student. During your university years, you’ll be living on almost nothing, and if you don’t watch where your money is going, you’ll find that it runs out pretty quickly.
Although it’s hardly rock and roll, it’s really important to sit down, work out all of your necessary monthly expenses, and then only use what’s left over for drinking, partying, and all of the other perks that undergraduate life has to offer.
Tip Two: Check Your Bank Balance Regularly
Formulating a budget is the easy part; sticking to it is much harder. The best way to spot any overspending warning signs is to always keep an eye on your bank balance. Sometimes, it may be that your phone bill costs more than usual, or that you have to pay towards replacing damaged furnishings in your home.
Whatever the reasons for this extra expenditure, it’s easy for it to spiral when you’re living on such a tight budget. The best way to prevent this from getting out of hand is to check your bank balance regularly, keep your spending in check, and exercise caution when it’s needed.
Tip Three: Know Your Borrowing Options
Our third and final tip is this: even if you have no intention of overspending, make sure that you’re aware of your various borrowing options, from overdraft extensions to credit cards to loans from companies like Smart-Pig.
Even with the best will in the world, plenty of students muck up from time to time, and when it comes to either going without food for a week or borrowing money, the latter is an infinitely better option.
However, different borrowing methods vary in terms of their suitability so, in case of emergency, it’s a good idea to know where to turn beforehand so that you can make an intelligent, informed decision.