Updated: Feb 3
They say College/University are the best years of your life. We can confirm this is true, but it is also the time of your life where you get your first real hands-on money experience. You move out of home, make new friends, and deal with all the money learnings that go along with the journey. Here are a few we think that you should avoid.(we’ve been there and have the t shirt).
Racking Up Credit Cards
Now, the big banks love to entice us in with free travel cards, discounted food deals and everything else to get students to sign up for their credit card accounts. Whilst credit cards are a convenient way to pay for things, the banks that may entice us are designed to make us not immediately think about the high-interest rates and unfavorable terms of payment that are attached to many credit cards. Whilst it’s good to have one for emergencies, always take the time to research the best one for you.
Not Using a Budget
A budget consists of incomings and outgoings, and as a student the outgoings section of a budget can be volatile at college. College is one of the best times to get into the budgeting habit. As a student, you don’t have major outgoings - no mortgage, no children to support, or other significant money worries and your incomings aren’t regular because you’re studying. A bit of a problem, you may think. Well it shouldn’t be – start by taking the time to analyse your income and track your spending at a lighter level.
Misusing Student Loan Money
A big chunk of money that is all mine? It can’t be true. Student loans are a vice to support you through your education and help pay chunky living costs such as rent or study materials. Rule number one, student loans should not be blown within the first weekend of receiving it. A great tip is to treat it like a wage and pay yourself a bit each month rather than using it to fund your holiday to Ibiza.
Not Exhausting All the Scholarship Options
This is one bit of free money we will not be saying no to. Don’t miss out on free money to fund your education. Apply for as many scholarships as you can, look at the avenues of your university, institute, high school, the alumni foundation, if you’re from a target background, there are also pockets of money there. Even if you think you don’t qualify for it, apply and hope for the best.
Disorganisation can really cost you. It’s getting late, you haven’t eaten but the flyer for Dominos Pizza takeaway just happens to be on your kitchen table. That’s £20 gone when you could’ve just meal planned for the week and had spaghetti Bolognese made with from your mums’ secret recipe – and that’s only a small thing. If you are in your overdraft and forget to pay due to disorganisation or laziness there are fees and late charges will cost, your money and possibly hurt your credit.
Refusing to Work
We completely get it. Some degrees simply do not allow you to work. However, university is supposed to teach you time management skills, so if you are in a degree where you can work part time, do. It’s a great way to boost your student income and provide you with greater flexibility to do the things you want to do; it also provides a great way to build your CV.