Staying financially afloat whilst studying isn’t easy; you’ll need to budget effectively, spend carefully and manage your time wisely to be successful at both. From earning money in between lessons to increasing your financial literacy, there’s multiple angles to master when it comes to managing your money.
Here, we take a look at the best ways to afford living expenses whilst at college or university.
Whilst student loans can help cover the costs of your tuition and living expenses, you’ll probably need to pick up a part-time job to help pay for everything you need to live comfortably. Hospitality and retail roles such as bartending, waitressing and shop assistance are perfect for students, as the shift patterns and hours can fit in well around your lectures.
If you’d rather work from home, look for remote freelancer roles that offer flexible hours. Or, for those who are both creative and business minded, you could look to start your own business selling crafts or other novelty items.
Be smart with credit
When you’re first able to receive offers for credit cards, the temptation to overspend can be very real. Learning how to safely use credit and build a good credit score will pay off in the future, as it’ll make it much easier for you to get a mortgage and other important financial agreements.
Short term, try not to spend more than you can afford to pay back. Interest rates on credit cards can be very expensive, and if you only pay back the minimum each month, you may only be paying off the interest rather than the debt.
If you get into trouble with debt and end up needing to default your accounts or take out other debt management schemes, it can impact your financial borrowing abilities for many years to come.
Learn to budget
Last but not least, learn to accurately budget for all of your monthly expenses. Keep track of your income and be frugal with your spending, by avoiding impulse purchases. Meal planning is a great way to help cut the costs of your meals – by planning ahead you can save time and money, as well as reducing food waste.
Rather than spending on the latest trends, look for sustainable options such as thrift shopping, upcycling and recycling items to help your money stretch further. Be sure to set some funds aside for emergencies, as well as a small pot for when you want to have a takeaway or go out for a meal or fun activity.
Try not to become too stressed or obsessive about managing your finances throughout college, as it’s normal to have ups and downs.
Reflect regularly on your spending habits to see where you can make positive changes, and plan ahead for festive periods or social events where your leisurely activities are likely to be a little more expensive.
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