Going to university can be an expensive business and looking after your finances is vital. Our guide to student banking and finance covers banking and budgeting and touches on debt and ways to get help should you be experiencing financial difficulties.
Student debt is a serious issue for anyone considering going to university. Statistics show that the average student leaves their studies behind some £13,000 in the red - a sum of money they could be paying off for more than twenty years. As a consequence graduates are no longer thinking simply about where to go and what to study, but whether they can cope with the financial strain of university life.
However, the fact is that millions do cope and to help your cause banktree.co.uk have compiled a guide to student banking and finance. We aim to point you in the right direction so you can deal with the monetary strain, allowing you to concentrate on your studies and university life. Our guide deals with the basics of banking and finance - here in part one we take a look at banking and budgeting whilst in part two we deal with finance, debt and ways to save.
The importance of a budget
Pre-preparing a budget may help you keep a tight grip on your finances. It's crucial to take everything into account as money will be extremely tight. Think beyond the obvious major outlays such as rent, bills, books and food and think about the smaller expenses that will quickly add-up. Think about the costs of using your mobile phone (including texts), printing, photo-copying, using public transport and factor in those inevitable night-outs. The more you can plan for the better.
Use BankTree personal finance software, to help you to set up your budget. Create categories for your expenses, rent, bills, food etc, and assign a budget based on what you think you can afford. Add income and expenditure items against each budget category. Use the budget report to see how much you have been spending on each catagory. If you have been spending too much then obviously cut down on the few non-essential things.
Budgeting is a vital tool not just at university, but in life. Thinking ahead and sticking closely to your plan is crucial if you are to avoid student debt.
Your cost of living
You can also use BankTree personal finance software to set up and manage your future expendiure, take the following example:
Income for term - This will include parental contributions, a student loan (usually about £1,250) and a wage from a part-time job.
Term expenditure - This will include rent (usually about £800), books, clothes, CDs, etc - larger sums that you will spend over the course of a term.
Weekly expenditure - This should factor in the essentials and non-essentials, so food, leisure, travel, household bills and more.
You can set up schedule transactions within BankTree personal finance software over a 12 month period for example. By having the above transactions reccuring over the 12 month period, you know how much to budget for every month or when to give your self the odd treat, dont forget to reserve some cash for emergencies.
Though many like to claim that students are work-shy the opposite is often true as many young people hold down part-time jobs to ease financial worries in addition to dealing with their studies. Of course work should never come ahead of study, but if you can cope with perhaps a weekend job or even work through the holidays it is a great way to boost your income.
Help is available. Many universities have job shops connecting students to local employers and there are often special initiatives in place. The National Council for Work Experience has details about how your local institution can help. You can also search for jobs online through companies such as Jobcentreplus, and DirectGov.
OK not everyone has rich parents and asking for money is not an easy thing to do. However, any additional support is welcome and will help to ease the student finance burden. Why not ask family members to buy your books for example?
Also look to outside sources for sponsorship. Do you know anyone who works for a large local company? Is there someone in the industry you are looking to join who has spotted your potential and would be prepared to support your cause? Or are you a member of a social group who might be able to contribute? As the old phrase goes, if you don't ask, you don't get - and you might just be pleasantly surprised!