Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Managing Money As A Student

Students and money don’t really go hand-in-hand (a bit like students and revision as well!) The only time you really talk about the two in the same breath is when you discuss student loans and the ever-increasing amount of debt being acquired while they complete their studies.



This figure has grown over the years, especially since the Conservative government in the UK got their way in increasing tuition fees to a £9,000-per year limit. As such young people are coming out of University with excellent qualifications, but crippling debts which they feel they will never be able to pay off without the help of a lottery win!

As parents, and as graduates ourselves in many cases, we are well aware of just how difficult it can be to get through the academic year with what little money you have available. By the time you have paid for your accommodation for the year along with tuition fees and study materials that are deemed to be “essential” but you barely ever open, you’re struggling to keep yourself in the black and you have little option but to visit the Bank of Mum and Dad for a loan (by loan, we of course, mean donation!)

This made me think about how things could be improved. There isn’t enough money available to just give them, but giving them the advice to make what they do have last could be key.



 Copyright Marcos Mesa Sam Wordley Shutterstock

One idea I had was to get them in for a meeting with an accountancy firm so they can be given expert advice by someone in the industry who can give them the “inside knowledge” on how to make every penny go further. There are some excellent accountants in Manchester and London (and all over the UK actually), who would be willing to spend some time with you and your son or daughter, to offer advice on how to manage money.

Managing money doesn’t come naturally and it is a skill that is best learned early on, to avoid the inevitable and costly mistakes that can take a long time to put right. Simple tasks such as knowing your incomings from your outgoings can pay dividends in a very short time and isn’t necessarily as obvious as you might think. I often wish I had started young, learning to prepare for the unseen costs in life, rather than spending everything by the end of the week and hoping for the best!

An accountant will probably begin by suggesting a simple spreadsheet to track how much money is left and where it needs to be spent. We all know that it is easier to manage money if you can see it, and being organised is key. However, when I was a student, I used to have two columns; ‘Got’ and ‘Gone’, which worked for me. As long as ‘Got’ was higher than ‘Gone’, all was well with the world!




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It is also invaluable to learn how to make a small amount of money stretch and to be realistic about how much they have. If they can get to grips now with shopping with a limit, like £10 or £20 for example, it will put them in a good position when they go out on their own. Own-brand products and special offers will become their first choices and “luxuries” will have to be just that rather than being taken for granted and added to the trolley each time they go with you.

Finally, we all know how important a social life is to a student. Going out for a few drinks is common practice and quite often a spur of the moment decision, but teaching them that blowing all of their money in the Student Union will have a knock-on effect for their bank account. While the drinks might be much cheaper on campus than in a typical town or city centre bar, it’s still money they won’t be able to spend on the genuinely important things - like a train ticket home to see Mum and Dad!

What advice would you give to students on a limited budget?

* A collaborative post 
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14 comments

  1. OOOH great advice for when my son goes to uni in a few years

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  2. What good advice not just for students x

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  3. Great advice and not just for students as well, although my uni days are well behind me I could still benefit from learning how to manage my money better x

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    1. I love Money Saving Expert. They always have great advice on how to save money.

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  4. I used to be terrible with money, the best thing that I did was to open two bank accounts, one that all my bills went out of and one spending account. I worked out how much money I had left over each month and transferred this into the spending account, this stopped me over spending and helped me massively.

    Leanne - A Slice of My Life Wales

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    1. What a great idea Leanne, so simple too.

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  5. In Scotland students don't have to pay fees. I think it's great that Scottish students don't have to pay for their education. If Scotland can give free education why can't the rest of the UK. All of these MP's got their education free, now they expect students today to pay for theirs. Thankfully I went to uni before the fees went up to £9,000. I haven't even started to pay it back and I don't think I will because I don't think I will ever earn enough.

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    1. I still owe a lot on my student loan and I went to uni years ago. My son was worried about debt when he applied this year. It can be such a worry for students as well as parents.

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  6. Great advice - it's so hard to manage money as a student (what with loans, parties, tuition, and the dreaded shopping bug) - grrr!

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    1. Ha Ha, It sounds like you had great fun as a student Savi!

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  7. I am awful with money as a student as I love beauty and go out waaaay to often!

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  8. I think I was a bit of an unusual student - I did keep a note of everything I spent in a ledger and I was also very strict with my weekly allowance (I wouldn't ever spend more). I know, I sound really dull! But it meant I left uni without any debts, but then this was before the days of tuition fees. I feel so sorry for students today. I think it nigh impossible to graduate without debt. Some great tips though, especially the idea of speaking to an accountant. Tx

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