When you’re in college there is nothing worse than trying to figure out how to save money at the same time as spending it on literally everything from school books, to new tech, to mandatory software necessary, as well as partying and food. You know what we’re talking about if you’re a student. Need some help to get your finances under control? The following are some top tips that you can start to implement today.
If you are having issues with money while at college you can usually approach the bursary or the student finance department and there is usually some sort of assistance you can get either from the college directly or from your student’s union. In order to get that assistance, however, you will have to prove you know what a budget is and how to operate it to make sure you already have this information in your back pocket in case you need it.
Budgets can be as simple as writing a list of income and expenditure or you can use fancy mobile phone apps and widgets to plug your banking details into. It all depends on how much big data you want to give away to be perfectly honest. At the end of the day the important part is make sure you know how much money is in your pocket and how much you can afford to let go on something like a night out.
There are all sorts of ways to borrow money and, as a student, you are an ideal candidate for most lenders because you are seen as a liability that will overspend and not make repayments. You can cheat these lenders at their own game by getting something like a student credit card and buying, for example, a week’s worth of groceries before you get your next student loan or bursary come through. That way you can build credit while taking advantage of the situation.
If you are more seriously in need – and this could be for any reason, from your landlord kicking you out because they haven’t paid their insurance, to you needing an extra amount to fix your car – a loan may be more optimal than you think. Check out options from private lenders and use a student loan calculator so you can know what your repayment will be when you graduate. Also speak to your bank as there may be options like an interest-free overdraft available as a result of you being a student.
Something that happens at 18, as well as being able to apply for all sorts of credit, is that you can take out your own mobile phone contracts. If you are one of the lucky people that has had their parents’ paying for the bill up until now, it may be worthwhile letting them carry on paying it for a little bit. The reason being is that while you may want to be financially free from your parental units, a mobile phone contract is something that appears on your credit score quite prominently.
This is because that while, in theory, a mobile phone contract is an agreement between you and your network provider that says that you will pay X amount at $X per month for X number of months, the nature of it is a little bit more complicated. Due to the fact that you have taken out a device with a promise to pay it off over a period of time, some credit reference agencies view this the same as if you were to take out an appliance on credit. The best option is to keep it simple and let your parents pay it for a couple more years. If they question your data allowance, learn to use hotspots in Starbucks.
There is not a landlord out there who doesn’t love a student because not only are they not going to have to pay council tax, as most students are exempt from various property taxes unless they own the property, but also because they have a guaranteed rental for a few years. Okay, so the cleaning bill may be higher but students are less likely to complain, as their standards for accommodation are generally lower compared with a family or married couple.
Look out for agencies, developers and freelance landlords that are looking to take advantage of you. There are all sorts of deposit schemes you can get involved with, and insist your landlord is involved with. Keep an eye out for agency fees and if you have a recommended guide from your college, find out from them who’s good and educate yourself on your rights as a tenant.
Some health insurance policies cover all family members regardless of age and location. Some accident and life insurance policies cover family members even when they are in different countries. Some family car insurance policies even cover a family member who is away at college.
Before taking out all of the insurance in the world because you have moved out, it is a good idea to speak to your parents regarding their insurance coverage and whether you are still covered under their policy. It may require an update to their policy if you’re not. Just make sure to have the conversation in advance of going to college because there is nothing worse than going about life under the assumption you have a safety net and discovering that, when you fall, the net is not there.