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Save vs. splurge: a student summer

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So you’ve done the impossible. Somehow, you’ve scrimped and saved through the slog of final term, and you have a bit of money left in your account at the beginning of summer! You’re all geared up to go on the holiday of a lifetime, and live it up for the next couple of months. But wait – should you be saving up instead? There’s a fine line between treating yourself and being reckless! Here are a few things to consider when deciding what to do with your hard-saved cash.

Liabilities
You may have noticed that I mentioned savings in the above paragraph. At the risk of sounding like your mum/dad/sensible friend, you shouldn’t splurge whilst you’re in your overdraft. It may seem like free money with it’s 0 percent interest rate, but this usually only lasts until graduation. After that, you need to find some way to pay it back, or risk getting hit with charges.
You may have other things to consider as well, especially if you’ve just graduated. Rent, or even a deposit for a house can take a huge whack out of any money you have stored away. If you are planning on going on a spending spree, make sure you’re not jeopardising any future plans.
Income
If you have a job lined up for the summer (or a grad job starting afterwards), you have a bit of a free pass to spend spend spend! As long as your account is in the black, that money is all yours (minus any rent or housekeeping) so enjoy yourself. However, if you’re planning a holiday, make sure to take into account any days off you’ll need.
If you don’t have a job, or one lined up, it may be more prudent to put your money into a savings account. You never know when you’ll need it. New graduates need to be even more careful, as renting a house comes with expenses that may not be immediately obvious (furniture, connection fees for broadband, agency fees, etc.) which can really sting if you don’t have the cash set aside! Of course, the odd night out or a new outfit shouldn’t do too much harm, but maybe the trip abroad should wait for now.
How long does it need to last?
This will be different for everyone. If your student loan is zapped up right away by course fees and rent, and you don’t have a job at uni, your money might have to stretch for a while. However, if you make enough during term time that you can support yourself without your savings, then you might as well have some fun with it! Whilst keeping some cash aside is always a smart idea, you do need to find a balance between having a good time and spending wisely. There’s no point in having a few hundred quid if you never use it!
There will be plenty of time for saving after university, so unless you have big plans immediately afterwards, you should do your best to enjoy yourself, whilst keeping any overdrafts or credit cards at a reasonable level. However, having a few extra pounds in the bank is no bad thing. If you find yourself feeling flush, open up a well-chosen savings account, and keep a little bit of spare cash for a rainy day!
Any saving tips for a student summer? Let us know in the comments below.
Photo: Images Money / Flickr

I’m Helena, a 21 year old recent physics graduate from Warwick university. In September I’ll be starting as a project management graduate with Transport for London. I love cooking, video games and writing, and I’m looking forward to taking the first step in my professional career!
Helena MorettiSave vs. splurge: a student summer

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