9 money tips for the First Year Fresher! 0

Continuing on on Lydia’s countdown theme, I figured that it would be good to share some tips with you for your delectation! This time it’s to do with moolah, money, cash…err, bare peas as my friend Pav would say. Now these are only my tips, not hard and fast rules, so feel free to disregard any and all that you don’t like! But please don’t as that would make me sad. Anyway, onto the tips!

1. Avoid the early splurge.
It’s quite tempting, when seeing a nice sum of newly acquired grant/loan money in your account, to go on a massive spree, the likes of which Hollywood stars might think excessive. Not a good idea, mainly as that sum has to last you for the term, possibly even beyond. I’m not saying don’t treat yourselves, just don’t blow it all early on.

2. Pay off your bills ASAP.
All joking aside, this is a big one. Friendships can be lost on this if someone doesn’t pay what they are supposed to and all sorts of legal hassles can arise. It’s unnecessary and can cause so much stress if a money saga continues on for ages. Get it done as soon as you get it(remember to take readings) and you’ll feel all the better for it.

3. Shop around.
Companies love students. Particularly those who just settle for what they see first. There are tons of offers out there for you to take advantage of so don’t settle, do a big of homework and you can save yourself some cash for designer hats or whatever! If, for example, you spend a lot of time on trains, see if any companies over deals for students peripheral benefits for trains, rather than go with one that gives you £20 up front. You’ll save more in the long run going the other way.

4. Discount shops are king.
Yeah they’re not leading brand goods but putting aside the snobbery can save you lots on the weekly shop. Not only that but the same goods can sometimes be found in discount shops for a lot less than other stores. You can live very cheaply if you’re not choosy!

5. Book your return home in advance.
This is probably more applicable to those living quite far away from home, but still, it bares mentioning. I know you’re just coming up to those final teary eyed goodbyes(or might have had one. I had a reassuring paw from my dog before I left) but it’s a good idea to book your return home as soon as you can. Firstly, it can work out cheaper by booking in advance and it also means you’re not scrambling for cash come the end of term and trying to book flights home that have now risen to crazy levels of expense.

6. Avoid the overdraft.
Yes it’s there, yes it’s useful at times but never forget that an overdraft is debt and debt eventually comes with a cost. If you get too cosy living in your overdraft then that breeds bad habits, which will impact you in the future. It’s hard to get savings together when you’re still paying back your overdraft and banks start decreasing your credit when you graduate. An overdraft should be an emergency resource, not a way of life.

7. Your first few weeks will come with hidden expenses.
Maybe hidden is the wrong word, but still, in the first few weeks on uni you might have to pay for things you didn’t expect. For example, we have a Theatre Trip Fund of £50 that we pay at the beginning of each year, while others need another £50 for a DBS check. If you avoided splurging, you can cope with these costs, if not then you might end up a little bit more short of money than comfortable.

8. Budget. No excuses.
Seriously, budgeting is as easy as, “right, I have X amount of money, Y goes on food per week, Z on bills and the rest I can use to buy copious amounts of marshmallows.” The more you budget, the longer you can go without panicking about money. I know a lot of people who had literally no money to even feed themselves properly come end of term because they spent it all carelessly. It’s not fun, it’s stressful and you can avoid it by just giving a few minutes to budget.

9. Get a job…but be careful.
I’d encourage most people to get jobs, more so in First and Second Year to supplement their income and also earn some skills to transfer to the real world once you’re done with uni. You don’t get taxed either, which is nice! But. And it’s a big but(stop sniggering you at the back). In no way, shape or form should your job detract from your studies. If you’re a 2.1 student and you’re being dragged down to a 2.2 because of work commitments then you need to reassess and seek advice from people. Once your degree is done, it’s much harder, and costly, to go back and do another one, unlike finding another job. If you strike a balance between uni, work and social life then you’re good to go!

So there we have it. My 9 financial tips, most of which come from first hand experience. Like my stupid overdraft. Made a mistake in Second Year of splashing the cash like it was nobody’s business and I am still paying for it now. It ain’t worth it to be honest. There’s not much of a market for novelty soaps in the shape of David Cameron. Oh well…

Till next time!