There is naturally great excitement when starting at college or university. It presents the chance to meet new people, move to a new place and enthusiastically start your studies. However, one of the biggest questions on a student’s mind is, “how am I going to survive financially?” Here are some useful tips on what to do and how to manage your money whilst in higher education.
The most crucial factor when considering your student finances is the type of loan you will inevitably have to source, and how to plan for a perhaps unfamiliar style of frugal living. Unless you are lucky enough to have parents with deep pockets or an independent income, you are unfortunately going to have to learn the art of living on the cheap. Before you even reach that stage you must start to make enquiries about the student loans that are available, interest rates and the repayment period – it is vital that you make the correct choice.
Everyone’s personal financial circumstances are different and student loans also come in a variety of shapes and sizes, with differing terms and conditions. When you have found what you consider to be the best student loan for you, the best advice is to forward plan as to how you can clear the debt as quickly as possible once you have graduated. This is not easy, as employment will not yet have been addressed, but paying off the loan as quickly as possible must always be your prime concern. Financial advisors will tell you this about any loan; the longer you keep them the more they will cost in interest rates.
The majority of young students will never have been responsible for their finances before, and suddenly having what seems like a fortune at your disposal can sometimes be problematic. Remember you will have to pay for your rent, food, travel, tuition fees, bills, and that’s before you’ve even thought about entertainment or a shopping spree for new outfits.
To calculate the amount that you will need to borrow, you should first calculate how much money you would need to survive each month – tot up your expenses and see what you’ve got to pay out. From there you can see where you can make savings and cut back on your outgoings. When you start college begin sharing shopping costs with a friend; look out for 2 for 1 bargains, BOGOFF deals and sales. Put any spare change in a jar, it’s surprising how quickly you build up a little fund. You should also use public transport instead of running a car and freeze leftover meals for another day.
Course books and materials can also be quite costly so hunt out graduates who may be selling old books quite cheaply, or checkout online auction sites to see if any are for sale via the Internet. Graduate students are just as likely to be on the look out for extra pennies as well.
Check out the local papers and job centers for part-time work to bring in a little extra cash, although competition for even the most basic of jobs can be tough. It may also be worth looking at online work, there are a myriad of Internet jobs available that can be undertaken at any time of the day or night, leaving you time to concentrate on your studies.
The most important aspect of budgeting for student life is to prepare from the very start, once you’ve run up a debt, exhausted your overdraft and loan facilities it will be that much harder to keep things on track. If you start off by planning and preparing carefully, you will find that you are less likely to struggle during the course of your studies.