When you’re a student you usually don’t have much money coming in, especially if you’re completely reliant on your student loan. Even if you have a part-time job it can be hard to make ends meet and so you really have to be careful what you spend your money on. However, that can be easier said than done, especially when there are so many events and organisations you can get involved with. You might start out with good intentions, but quickly find that the amount of money you’re spending far exceeds the amount of money going into your bank account, thus proving to be a recipe for disaster.
Although you’re likely to come away from university with a significant amount of debt, as you will probably have had to take on a loan, you don’t want to make the situation worse by picking up extra debt. You don’t want to discover that you’re overdrawn and have to start paying interest on this debt as well. Thus, you have to make a budget and ascertain how much money you have available to spend each week or month while making a list of all the things that you have to buy. At least this way you’ll get some idea of where all your money is going.
Clearly, you have to prioritise essentials, such as housing, utilities and food, since you can’t really do without these things. When looking for student housing it is a good idea to find other people to share a house with, as this will make paying the bills less of a stretch. It usually works out cheaper to live together with your friends in a student house than it does to live in halls of residence, although it may be slightly less convenient. When it comes to the food you eat, it makes sense to buy in bulk and to opt for own-brand products, rather than going for the most expensive ones.
Once you’ve got all the essentials out of the way, trying to get as much value for money as you possibly can, you should then have some left over to spend on all the fun things you want to do. You will probably want money for drinking and clubbing and other social activities, as well as for clothes and music and so you have to limit yourself to a certain amount of money to spend on each of these things. Hopefully, that way you’ll be able to avoid overdoing it.
Ultimately, as a student it’s up to you to learn how to manage your finances if you’re going to live away from home for a few years without getting into serious debt.