Being a student can be a challenge. Not only are you likely to be living away from home for the first time and tackling big intellectual issues as part of your degree, but you also have that other thing to take care of… whisper it… finances.
University can be tough on your bank account and so many students look for ways to cut back on their expenditure and make the most of their money. With this in mind, here are a few ways you could make the most of your student finances.
Look to the future
It might be a bit odd to start with a suggestion about making an investment, but students need to plan for the future like everyone else. Whether you’re looking to fund a post-university gap year travelling, save for a house or put yourself through an internship, it makes sense to save what you can. And, even though the idea of getting something like a share ISA might initially sound scary, if you want to make the first steps into owning shares, it’s a good way to go.
One of the benefits of a shares ISA is that the dividends are tax-free. This might not affect you very much while you’re a student, but it’s a benefit you’ll still be able to enjoy once you become a taxpayer. There is a risk involved as there is with any type of investment, but if you look for a stocks and shares ISA you can find and invest with the long term in mind, there’s every chance your investment will grow over time.
Pool your resources
One of the great things about university is that everyone is pretty much in the same boat. Everyone is in a new situation and most people are going to be having the same money worries as you. This is why pooling your resources can be a good idea. For instance, living with other people will dramatically reduce your share of the bills, and even adding one extra person to your group of housemates will help significantly. Queues for the bathroom might be a small price to pay for a smaller cut of the gas bill.
Also, other students can be good for resources such as books. Many universities offer places – on and offline – for students to sell unwanted textbooks and other items, and this can be a good way to get what you need for your course for a fraction of the retail price.
See where your uni can help
Since you’re paying to be at university, it also makes sense to make use of what it has to offer. For instance, the students’ union bar is likely to be subsidised, making it a more affordable option for a night out than the expensive clubs in town.
You can also make use of the library to avoid having to buy so many books – the library will probably also have good internet access, and increasingly universities are offering Wi-Fi, so if you don’t fancy stumping up for your own internet connection, you could just make use of the university facilities instead.