Money Management Tips for Students: Surviving in a Harsh Economic World

Wed, Mar 19, 2014

Budgeting, Financial Advice

Student tuition fees have served as a huge source of controversy in recent times, primarily because their exaggerated rise since 2011 is deemed to be disproportionate to the quality of education available. Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg has moved to dispel the so-called myths surrounding student tuition fees, however, by suggesting that university remains an affordable option for students regardless of their background or chosen academic course. Rather than being an over-priced luxury, politicians are attempting to champion higher education as a crucial component of a thriving economy.

Despite this, however, attending university can often present a significant financial challenge to students, not least due to the rise in tuition fees from £3,000 to £9,000 in the last two years. No amount of words or political spin can alter this austere financial reality, so it is crucial that practical help is given to students with long-term goals for advancement. In addition to this, there are also plenty of smart ways to save money if you’re a student, so don’t resign yourself to eating unbranded baked beans for weeks at a time.

Be Prepared for Financial Hardship

Despite the best intentions, you may find yourself very short before your next student loan instalment comes through. The key is not to panic and to make sure that you always have a small emergency fund aside for food, rent and transport. Generous parents will often be happy to help you out, but it’s essential to budget properly at the beginning of each term to make sure that you will have some money left to live on at the end. Don’t be too hard on yourself if your finances don’t work out perfectly every month, remember that you’re still learning good money management skills.

Take Advantage of Discounts and Promotional Offers that are Available

Student discounts seem to be everywhere these days, so make sure you make the most of them. Chances are that you’ll miss the opportunity to use your student discount once you’ve left university! If you have an NUS Extra card, check the website and find out which shops and restaurants accept it so you can plan where to spend your money most effectively. It’s also worth investing in a 16-25 Young Person’s Railcard, as this gives you a third off visiting friends and family on all rail journeys.

Don’t Skimp on the Essentials

Although having an exciting social life may seem like the most important part of university for some students, it’s important not to cut costs where they really matter to fund your nights out. Set a budget for clothes, cigarettes, alcohol and the price of club entries and try not to go outside this, however tempting it may seem. There will always be someone for whom money seems to be no object, who can afford to go out every night and buy round after round of drinks, but this isn’t the reality for most students. You need to make sure that the essentials like your rent, textbooks and food shopping are paid for before you spend on leisure activities.

If you’re at the end of your overdraft and need a small loan to tide you over before your next loan instalment, it may be worth contacting a loan provider that specialises in students like Smart Pig. It’s always best to discuss financial worries with your parents or the pastoral services at your university before taking out a loan.

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