Saturday, 9 February 2013

5 things that students should know about money

Before we start discussing how to earn some money, probably we should mention ways of how to save money or in other words how to not lose money. Since the start of university is the first step to financial independence, here are five things that one new student need to know about money. 

1. Banks are not your friends
Often bank staffs’ primary aim is to sell you their products, and they will only do it from their own, usually poor range. Often the person you're talking to is paid based on how many things they can tie you into. Ask yourself: do you want to be the loyal customer whose business is taken for granted, or the customer whose business is hard won with better deals? Do your own research before getting any financial product. Ask yourself whether you need it, is it worth it, and have you checked whether it's the best deal on the market.

2. Be boring - stick with the monthly budget
Yes, it's boring, but if you're going to live on the money you've got, and afford a social life too, you need to learn to budget. Make a weekly or monthly budget and stick to it. Try using an online student budget calculator, such as the one on the Ucas website, which allows you to key in all your income and outgoings. Other tips:
  • Try not to use your debit card to pay for things. It's easier to keep track if you pay cash. When going out drinking, only take with you the amount you're happy to spend that night, and no plastic cards.
  •   Before you buy something, ask yourself: Do I really need it? Can I afford it? Can I get it cheaper elsewhere? If any one answer is no, think again.
  •   Don't use cash machines that charge for withdrawals. Find out which ATMs charge and which don't.
3. Mobile phones are another expense
Don`t waste money for nothing – if you've already got a smartphone, or can get hold of one from a sibling who is upgrading, you can save by switching to a sim-only tariff. You can get free call minutes, unlimited texts and 500MB of data for less than £20 a month from almost any mobile company. 

4. …and travel bills also

One of the biggest surprises students report is how much they have to pay on trains, buses and tubes. So get a 16-25 Railcard – it costs £28 for one year, or £65 for three, and gives you a third off UK rail fares. Sadly, NatWest has made it harder to get one for free on its student account… or take the bus – check Megabus for low-cost deals.

5.  Pre-loading to save on a bar cost

We're not endorsing this, but we can't deny that it`s “profitable”. Pre-loading is about buying cheap alcohol from the supermarket or off-licence and drinking it at home before you hit the pub/club. "Drinking while getting ready with your mates might seem normal, but drinking a lot of alcohol before you go out could make your night take a different direction from what you've all got might be too ill to get in the taxi or even worse – in the club!

source: The Guardian

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