How to manage your money at University

How to manage your money at University

When you’re studying at university, it usually involves living on a tight budget and it can, at times, seem daunting when understanding how to manage your money at University.  Whether you’ve got a student loan or you are relying on support from your parents, the chances are you will not have huge amounts of money to play around with.  For many students, moving away from home is part of the process.  It is often the first time they have to manage their own money, and it can seem like a mind boggling task.  There are several ways to get through your student days without facing a crippling financial future, here are some of the best ones. 

  • Choose your bank carefully.

Banks are often falling over themselves to offer student accounts, and provide many different incentives to get you to sign up with them.  Don’t opt for the first good offer you get, do research on all the different accounts on offer, and weigh up the pros and cons of each.  Make sure you check the small print for fees such as a monthly payment just to have the account open, you don’t want to pay for what you can have for free! 

  • Avoid overdrafts, credit cards and store cards.

Many students find themselves in possession of an overdraft at some point due to financial necessity.  However, don’t opt for one straight away, ask your bank not to provide the facility unless you specifically ask for it.  Credit and store cards are to be avoided at all costs.  As a student, these cards simply allow you to rack up high interest debt that you’ll still be paying off in years to come.

  • Get part time work.

Many students find that part time work relieves any financial strain and can provide useful work experience and references for the future.  You could get work stacking shelves in your local supermarket; performing telephone sales for good commission; or tutoring secondary school pupils in the subject(s) you are studying. 

  • Set yourself a budget.

Allocate a certain amount of money each week for food, books, clothes and other essentials. Cook meals from scratch as often as possible, and try to share the cost and effort of cooking with your flatmates.  If you’re new to cooking, search online for basic recipes like Chilli con carne or Shepherd’s pie.  Dishes like these are great for sharing, and you can freeze leftover portions for other meals.  Learn to shop carefully, taking advantage of special offers and opting for budget brands where possible.  Bring packed lunches with you when you’re attending lectures; buying a takeaway lunch every day will eat away at your cash.

  • Find low cost ways to socialise.

A Friday night doesn’t always have to involve a trip to the pub. When learning how to manage your money at University, consider cooking a meal with friends and share the cost of some wine or beer.  Join a university club or society, these almost always involve meeting new people and having fun while spending very little money.  If going out for the evening is essential, do your research on places that have special offers or discounts for students.