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How to take control of your cash

By TheStudentGuide
How to take control of your cash

Stick to some simple money Dos and Don’ts to keep your bank balance healthy

Being a student is expensive, but with a bit of planing you can keeping control of your finances.

DO

  1. Work out your budget
    Work out how much money you actually have to spend each week to give yourself a clear idea of how to spend sensibly.
  2. Write it down your outgoings
    It is all very good working out how much you should be spending but a very different thing entirely sticking to it. To keep track, write down what you spend each day and you’ll soon be surprised of how it all adds up. This will then influence you to make more sensible choices which do fit in with your budget.
  3. Compensate
    If do you spend more one week or one month, then to balance the books you should spend less the next. If there are 10 birthdays in March then go out less in April!
  4. Take responsibility
    When looking at figures on a cash point screen, your money doesn’t actually seem real . It is very easy to spend ‘plastic money’ but instead imagine that your £60 weekly budget is cold hard cash in your purse/wallet/pocket. Would you really blow £30 of it in one night and give yourself just another £30 for the rest of the month?
    There is also a good chance that your parents or family are helping you out financially. If this is the case then think about explaining to them how you have spent £ 500 of their money in a couple of weeks! Awkward.
  5. Open a separate account for your rent
    Your money will come into your account in block sums whether that is from a loan instalment or from a summer job.  It can be a bit tricky to keep on track no matter how good your intentions are. To best manage that big amount you should take out the set expense of rent and put it into a separate account, which you don’t use for your everyday expenses. This way you will ensure you always have enough money set aside to pay your rent.  

Don’t

  1. Blow it
    Spending your whole loan instalment on a new wardrobe, a holiday in Ibiza, and Christmas presents for your extended family is FUN for the short term but then very un-fun from then onwards when you are eating scraps out of bins to survive. 
  2. Open multiple accounts
    Opening three student bank accounts and caning each one of its overdraft may seem a good way of getting more money. But it just means that you’ll have to pay even more back and also have no overdraft to fund the fun of 2nd and 3rd year.
  3. Get a Credit Card
    Credit cards are BAD. Very bad. They’ll give you money but then not only will you have to pay it back, you can easily clock up charges and interest and then the whole situation can spiral out of control. This isn’t your money, it is lent to you, and lent to you very expensively. An interest rate of 20% means that if you spend £500 a month, you’ll have to pay back another £100 in interest on top of the £500.
  4. Bury your head in the sand
    If you are overdrawn or worried about money, ignoring it can’t help. You can go to your university Student Services for help and specific financial advice. If you are going to go over your overdraft or are at risk of doing so then call your bank and let them know as they may waive the charge fee if it is the first time you have done this.  
  5. Try to play the overdraft game, unless you are very, very organised
    Some students may take out all of the money from their overdraft and put it into an ISA or a savings account, to make some money.  This is only a good idea if you can guarantee that you won’t go into your overdraft EVER. The return rates on saving accounts and ISAs are so low at the moment that any charges you incur would wipe out any profit you make, and could even work out with you losing money.

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