Survival guide to life as a budgeting student

Life as a student teaches you more things than academic study. Most students get their first taste of independent living as a student, and this means cooking for yourself, cleaning for yourself, doing your own washing and managing your own budget. Follow our handy guide to surviving as a budgeting student and ensure that you aren’t feasting like a king for two weeks out of a month, only to spend the remaining two weeks living like a budget-bean munching church mouse!

‘Free overdrafts’

Beware of financial products like ‘free overdrafts’ offered by lenders like Barclays, the Halifax and Santander, as these can end up dragging you in debt unexpectedly. Try to remember that old curmudgeon economist, Milton Freidman who wisely grumbled ‘there is no such thing as a free lunch’. What lots of students just don’t realize when they take out a student overdraft is that this will one day have to be paid back, and if you have not paid off your overdraft by the time you finish your degree, guess what? It gets converted into what it really was all along, something you have to pay interest on. Point number one in the survival guide to being a student. Free overdrafts are only free if you can afford to pay them back when you graduate.

Open a savings account

Opening a savings account is essential to help you manage your student budget. This is a safe place where you can pop your cash so that it won’t get spent on beer and skittles. It is far handier than the empty coffee can in your food cupboard. This is so, because when you and all your mates come in from the freshers’ ball, starving and wanting to order more beer from the ‘dial – a drink’ service, an empty can full to the brim of cash will just get spent. Even if it is your hard earned cash, spending it will inevitably seem like a good idea when it is not. That is a fact. Survival guide to being a budgeting student point number two: stash your cash in a savings account, not in an empty coffee tin when your mates, and you can get their mitts on it in a moment of weakness.

Budget and plan

Life as a student can be full of extremes. At the start of the university term, you feel so rich. There is literally hundreds of pounds right there in your bank account. It seems like a gold mine, but what many students just don’t get is that if you spend it all at once, this means you will be burning the Yellow Pages (trust me not a good fuel source!) when you are too poor to pay for gas or oil in the last few days of the semester. You will avoid this terrible fate if you work out how much cash you have and divide it by the number of weeks you have to live on it. Suddenly you gain a sense of perspective and this helps your survive the tougher times that lie ahead to test you. If you do get in trouble, don’t stay in the corner shivering with cold- give a call and ask them if they can help you out until payday!

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