Starting the year without financial stress
After a fun-filled summer of vacations, festivals, and tonnes of alcohol, it’s time for students to return home – and university calenders to kick off.
Looking for ways to stay away from financial stress?
O Week is the most fun-filled week on most university calenders, but also the first financial hurdle you’ll face as a student.
Let’s be honest: being a student does mean empty pockets. If you’re not careful, this week of shenanigans can blow your budget for the first semester – if not the whole year. Before O week begins, set aside a realistic amount of money to blow out on O Week activities, and just use that. Spend that and no more, and you won’t find yourself starting the year financially stressed.
Make a budget – it’ll be worth it!
Most students I know make some sort of a budget at the beginning of each new year of university. However, many of them calculate what they can spend in their heads, and don’t take the time to create a proper detailed line-by-line budget. These are the students who usually find themselves overspending because they’ve underestimated what things really cost.
A few weeks ago, I read about a study in America. They found that supermarket shoppers who add up their purchases in their heads spend on average 19% more than people who bring calculators with them.
Have you thought about travel costs?
The two major financial elements to consider when you’re planning your study is course fees and living costs. Course fees are generally fixed, so your budgeting will mainly revolve around living costs.
If you’ve never put together a proper budget, try giving heaps! a go – you may be surprised how much your living costs really are. Knowing how much you can spend before the year starts could save you from getting into financial trouble later.
When you’re making your budget, don’t forget about travel costs. Maybe you’re lucky enough to live on campus and can walk everywhere – but if you’re commuting from a suburb, you could find yourself spending a small fortune on trains and buses. Take this into consideration when you’re looking for a place to live – and remember, you can save on transport by walking, biking, or even car-pooling.
Student Loans – yes or no?
With the exception of a mortgage, a student loan is the biggest debt most people will ever take out. Because they are interest-free, lots of students borrow as much as they can. It seems like free money, but you will have to pay it back when you finish your study! This is why there are so many articles and blogs advising against taking out more than you need.
There is definitely some merit in that advice, but, personally, I don’t agree with them (controversial statement to make, I know!). If you’ve planned your budget for the year and you don’t need to take out the full $163.38 a week, maybe you could consider taking out the full amount out anyway – and have the surplus automatically paid into a savings account each week. This will only work if you never touch the money in this account! If you can do it, at the end of your study you can pay the unused loan back 0 and you’ll have made money from the interest!
Feel free to comment if you have any other good ideas for students about to begin uni for the year!