Learning some basic financial management skills as a student is one of the most important lessons you can learn from your college days, setting you up for life. Follow these quick tips to manage your money and get a leg up on the way to a better life in the future.
Budget every penny
One of the joys of college or university is the huge level of freedom that students get. But what income you have from part-time jobs, student loans, bursaries or bank of mum-and-dad will face new pressures that many are unprepared to manage. Living costs, food, socialising, bills and investments, and the pressure from banks to take on more debt are all part of what can become a vicious circle.
A key way to keep on top of things is to not let money just vanish. Use an app or spreadsheet to keep a note of expenditures and figure out where the money goes. Many bank accounts now categorise your spending, and also list your credit card and other accounts, so you can spot financial sinkholes and work out how to mitigate them.
How to earn more money
As you’re lucky enough to live in the gig economy, you can earn money from a huge variety of part-time jobs to fit your educational commitments. Many students work from their laptops, often starting their own business to build the foundations for their financial future or to prove they are a go-getter when it comes to that shining CV and nailing an interview.
Check out this list of practical business ideas, ranging from virtual PA to writer or designer, cake maker, photographer, DJ or dog walker, whatever fits in with your skills. What starts out as an extra bit of cash can easily turn into a career or help you break into the job of your dreams.
Avoid debt or manage it smartly
The interest rates on those student credit card or bank loan offers may seem small, but they can soon build up and if you run into money troubles, can affect your credit rating. Having one small balance credit card for emergencies is fine, and if you use it for regular spending, but pay it off each month, you can help build up your credit rating. Also, switch to new zero or lower-interest cards when you can to minimise any debt you do have.
Start saving early
You might think it is crazy to start worrying about savings accounts or pensions before you even have a full-time job, but putting something away now can make a huge difference to your later years. Even more so if you invest in ISAs and other products that produce a fair return.
Keeping an eye on your money and using it wisely at the start of your adult life is just one way to make for a more comfortable future.
What other advice do you have to help manage your money while at university? Tweet us at @CareerCamel and tell us.