At the start of term it’s common for students to feel rich. After all, when the loan first comes in it can be tempting to go out and splash your cash on everything and anything that you want. But take time to stop and think about some of the pitfalls that all freshers make with their money.
So take a look below, and you may be able to spread your pennies across the whole year as opposed to blowing it in one go!
Live off takeaways and ready meals
We get it. If you’ve never cooked a meal in your life, the prospect of cooking in a tiny uni kitchen can be quite daunting. It’s easy to slip into a Maccies habit, but for the sake of your bank account and health, try making meals in bulk for the week in order to save money.
Subscribe to services and then don’t use them
Does your flatmate have Netflix? Or perhaps a friend that you can split your account with? Because if so, then you won’t really need an account of your own. Think twice about what you’re signing up for, it’s only good if you actually use it.
Bring a debit card on a night out
If you’ve only got your card, then you’ll probably lose track of how much your ordering on your night out. Especially after a beer or two. Take enough cash for a taxi, drinks and (if necessary) a post night-out takeaway. That way you won’t be able to overspend.
Not putting aside a certain part of the student loan in an untouchable account
Out of sight, out of mind. Set up a savings account and make sure you put aside a little bit of money every month to put in it. Treat it like your very own secret vault of treasure, and one day you’ll open it up and feel rich.
Scoffing at the ‘basics’ supermarket range
We promise, the supermarket value range bits and bobs are just as good as the branded ones. Shopping at value supermarkets like Aldi and Lidl are also lifesavers. If you think you’ll be able to eat M&S Finest every week on a student budget, think again.
Buy textbooks that are not touched for the rest of the year
Secondhand = the best hand. Textbooks come at nearly the equivalent cost of an arm and a leg, so definitely wait a bit to get them at your uni’s secondhand book sale. Better yet, check out the library before you buy. You never know!
Not keeping track of weekly expenditure
If you don’t know what you’re spending on, you won’t really know which what you should really be cutting down on. Services like Monzo or Cleo help you track your spending by type like ‘Eating Out’ and ‘Transport’, which will help you form better spending habits.
Not getting a railcard because the initial cost is too expensive
We get it, the initial investment into a railcard is a little steep. But you really can’t argue with a third off train tickets, and you’ll quickly make that initial investment back. Plus if you live in London, you can connect your rail card to your Oyster card.
Not getting a part-time job/side hustle
Bar work, becoming a teaching assistant, starting a Depop or Etsy business, writing some freelance articles – the list of things you can do to supplement your maintenance loan is endless. As a bonus, this teaches you transferable skills you can totally talk about in a job interview.
Ignoring your bank balance and going deep into your overdraft
We’ve all winced looking at our bank balance after a night out. The worst thing you can do is to actually ignore it, as you could spiral into debt if you don’t keep an eye out. It may be painful, but force yourself to check your bank balance at least once a week.
Agreeing to the first second-year house they see
This may seem premature, but the second-year house hunt commences sooner than you think. Don’t reach the ‘OMG, we don’t have a house’ panic stage in third term and start your house hunt early so you get a better, cheaper deal for next year’s accommodation.