How to prepare your finances for starting University
Starting University is an exciting time in anyone’s lives. It’s the opportunity to go into the world on your own, learn new things and meet many different people. It is a chance to set off on a journey and although nerve wracking, it’s something most people want to do at some point in their lives. The only downside of going to University, is that it can be very expensive. There may be tuition fees to pay for but even if you don’t have this expense, you will still need to be able to handle the cost of living. There will be all sorts of costs which you won’t be used to and it important to prepare yourself for these, so you can enjoy your time at University and not get bogged down with financial problems. These are some ways to prepare your finances for starting University.
Start a budget
You can still have fun at University, even if you don’t have a lot of money – you just need to get really good at budgeting. Work out how much you will need to be able to enjoy things like Fresher’s week and other nights out and try to keep this money aside. You will have less to spend during the week and you will probably need to spend a few weekends at home, but it will be worth it if you still get to enjoy good nights out. Make sure you can pay your bills first and you can ensure this by keeping track of your incomings and outgoings. It’s not a particularly enjoyable task, but it is extremely useful for good financial management.
You can significantly reduce your bills by sharing accommodation – either in the halls of residence or private rentals. It makes much more sense to share with someone else when you are at University and this is the one time you can get away with it – so make the most of it. If you choose to share, you can cut the cost of your rent, as well as all of your other bills. Everything will usually be split down the middle, so this will be much better for your finances.
Use student discounts
One of the major plus points of being at University is the fact that you can save money on just about everything! Most major stores will offer discounts for students and you can also usually get it for travel and other day to day expenses. Take full advantage of discounts wherever possible as this will help improve your financial situation when at University.
One of the problems with being a student are that companies are willing to throw money at you. This probably doesn’t seem like too much of an issue – but there is a huge temptation to take everything going, without really having the cash to pay it back. It is important to be careful with your spending when at University and don’t just take out as much as you can. You may be offered thousands of pounds on your overdraft on your student account, but you’ll need to pay it back – so don’t spend what you don’t need. University is about having fun; however, you don’t want to leave with massive amounts of debt.
Part time work
Regardless of whether or not you have a student loan, you should also aim to earn money while at University. There isn’t really an excuse not to work, as there are always plenty of opportunities available for students. Taking on a part time job can help support you at University and can also save you from getting into too much debt, before you even join the workplace. Money doesn’t tend to last long at University, so the more you can earn – the better.
If you want to keep your finances in check, learning to cook is a good way to do it. If you learn to cook, you can make your meals go much further. You can freeze what you make at night and enjoy it for days afterwards. Making meals from scratch is so much cheaper than getting takeaways and it’s also a much healthier option. If you can cook your meals, you can even make your own lunches, which will instantly save you a lot of expense.