As a third year student I’m in panic mode that this is the last year of receiving comfortable loans, paying bills three times a year and well, living a life of Riley I guess. And after 17 years, this could potentially be my last year of education, eek. Anyone else stressed about only a few loans left before no income at all? Well, no need to be.
After having the taste of freedom for almost three years, one of the biggest fears is moving back home to the parents. Although I miss the cosy life of home cooked meals and having clothes washed and ironed, we never really want to go back. So here are my top 10 tips for standing on your own two feet before it’s too late.
1) Start saving now and plan long term
It’s easier said than done, I know. Try keeping a jar of spare change; it’s amazing how much it all mounts up in the end. Think about what you’re plans are for after university and whether they are achievable, because those monthly bills are nobodies’ friend.
2) Apply for that weekend job
Now is the perfect opportunity to apply for those Christmas positions, it’s probably the best time of the year to get a job (although it still isn’t easy!) while the temporary positions are open. Even if you don’t get kept on, it’s some pocket money for over Christmas to buy those extra presents and a quick update for the good old CV.
3) Say no to the takeaway
I find that I can spend so much money on takeaway when sometimes I don’t even fancy it. Convenience is not the answer here. Try having flat meals a few times a week. Sunday dinners don’t seem so expensive if everyone chips in, and breaks up a lazy day if everyone helps cook in the kitchen.
4) Set a weekly limit on what to spend
Budget per week with a realistic amount to aim for, if you spend less one week, put it into savings or treat yourself the week after. You won’t feel as guilty and you’ll be able to see exactly where your money’s going.
5) Budget a night out
For starters, leave the bank card at home guys. You’ll end up spending way more than you need to without even realising how drunk you probably are already. Take a set amount of money, and separate taxi fair home. After all, you can’t spend money if you physically don’t have it.
6) Suggest a night in
In my eyes I find a movie night in always works a treat. Popping out for a few goodies to stuff your faces with and popping on a horror or a good classic film. They always turn out to be the funniest nights and much cheaper than a night on the town!
7) Ask yourself if you really need it
Then ask again, and again. It’s OK to treat ourselves once in a while, but sometimes it’s time to put down and walk away from the new purse. Heartbreaking I know.
8) Use cash
We all know that it’s so much easier to turn down a new bag and matching shoes if we’re coughing up the actual pennies as opposed to a quick swipe of the debit card.
9) Don’t pretend overdraft is your money
It’s easy to get caught up in thinking that extra few hundred from the bank is yours to spend and because it comes directly out when the moneys there, it doesn’t feel like you’re paying it back. But trust me; come the end of third year, you don’t want to be so far overdrawn with no income rolling in at all. That last loan is crucial!
10) Transfer money to savings immediately
As soon as loan comes in consider moving some money over if you can afford to. You’ll be less likely to spend money if you don’t have as much at hand and there’s the added guilt if you dip into savings for something you don’t need.