I’m sure many of you are eagerly awaiting the next loan instalment to land in your bank account. Hopefully you’re not still awaiting the first instalment after the student loans fiasco.
Now seems a good time to post another set of tips for keeping hold of your cash for as long as you can.
Some of these tips will sound like overkill, but they work if money is particularly tight. You have to choose whether to save money any way possible, or to rack up some extra debt in the name of a good time. It’s up to you!
29 More Money Matters
- Work when everyone else is spending money – Friday evenings, for instance. Or one of the popular student nights in your area. You may miss a good night out, but while everyone else is bleeding money, you’ll be dancing to the tune of the cash register.
- Join an inexpensive club to take up some of your recreation time.
- Learn to say ‘no‘.
- Only attend major gatherings and special events. Anything decided off the cuff and all outings just for the sake of it can be turned down.
- Stop being proud and learn to accept money from your parents. If you are blessed with access to the bank of Mum & Dad, don’t turn it down because you want to pay your own way. Seriously, there are some students out there who think they need to prove a point and go it alone. If you have a cash problem, take off your stubborn hat and accept the offer.
- Don’t dwell on money as the reason why you’re not having fun – if you aren’t happy with your situation, blaming money is an excuse.
- Don’t think of loans as free money. You’re more likely to spend the cash if you don’t treat it with extra respect and recognise a loan as a loan.
- Be patient. Even if you can’t resist buying an item, surely you can wait until you can afford it? Unless it’s a limited edition item that’s likely to sell out straight away, what’s the harm in waiting an extra week, or month, or year? Let the initial excitement for the product calm down a little. Not only will the extra time help you gather the necessary funds, but you may also reach a position where the prospect of owning the product isn’t as exciting as you’d previously thought.
- Slap down peer pressure. Your money is precisely that…yours! No matter how much your friends try to persuade you to buy that designer t-shirt, they aren’t the ones looking to buy it. If they’re that bothered, ask them to buy it for you. And don’t fall into the trap of asking mates whether you should buy something that you can’t afford…it’s an excuse. If you can’t afford it, you shouldn’t buy it. But you know there’s a fair chance your friends won’t see it that way. You know that full well!
- Don’t take out cash. For some people, taking out a wodge of cash means the money is already spent. A load of tenners in your pocket can last five minutes if you’re not careful. If the physical presence of money makes you more likely to spend it, use your card when you can instead of taking out the cash.
- Do take out cash. For other people, using a card isn’t like spending money at all. If you fall into this trap, use the cash machine to take out a daily/weekly allowance and try sticking to it. When the lure of spending on the card is too great, don’t take it out with you. Then you can’t use it!
- Get a job. So many students need to work part time while they study. There’s nothing wrong with getting a job to make a bit extra. Work helps some people manage their time better, even if they end up with less time available. That’s even more reason to consider a job.
- Don’t be stubborn…accept help. It’s not just Mum & Dad who can help. Generous family members may also want to boost your bank balance. Bursaries and hardship loans are also available at uni. Ask at uni if anything is available to you and check the government information on bursaries, scholarships and awards. Accepting help isn’t weak, it’s awesome. 🙂
- Don’t buy everything, even if you think you can.
- Consider every purchase carefully.
- Ask for a discount. Be willing to haggle. The worst outcome is simply being told ‘no’. In which case, walk away. No harm done!
- Use your NUS Extra card.
- Compare prices.
- Check the Web for reviews. Read them. Is it a good deal? Does it do what you want it to? Is a better version about to be released? Make sure all your questions are answered before you buy something.
- Use mysupermarket.co.uk and see if you can switch supermarkets to save money.
- Find vouchers. Vouchers and coupons are now hugely popular ways of saving money. If you don’t seek them out, you risk missing out on all sorts of bargains.
- Make MoneySavingExpert a regular destination. With a great list of vouchers, a regular money saving e-mail, a bot to find the cheapest MP3 music, and fantastic forums, I’m sure you’ll save loads. Just make sure you don’t spot too many good deals and buy everything just because it’s too good to miss. If you don’t need it, you can miss it!
- Do you really need to buy the latest edition of a textbook? If not, look for second hand bargain at AbeBooks, eBay, on campus book sales, and via your uni Intranet. Many people want to sell their old books when they’ve finished studying, so bargains are around.
- Sell your old books. Perhaps, like me, you want to keep your books. But if they’re now surplus to requirements, why not sell them to the next lot of students coming through? Even if you bought the books second hand yourself, selling them back on could be even more cost effective. Everyone’s a winner!
- Club together on a big purchase. If several of you can benefit from an item, try and work out a way of splitting the cost. This may not be practical, but it’s worth a thought.
- Swap stuff. You don’t want something, but your friend would love it. Maybe you’ll find something valuable to you that your friend doesn’t want.
- Be Freegle! Give away what you don’t want and find freebies in your local area. Sign up for regular e-mails offering all sorts of goodies…furniture, books, sports equipment, clothes, all sorts! Before you can grab a free item, you need to offer one item first. I think that’s fair enough.
- Consider renting expensive goods for one-off uses. It’s fine to buy something expensive if you’re making a relatively long-term investment. But when you’re unlikely to use it more than once, see if you can rent it instead. Do make sure the rental cost isn’t *too* high, otherwise it misses the point somewhat.
- Borrow stuff. Another cheap idea, because borrowing is free (unless your mate is out to make a quick buck). Why bother keeping up with all your friends, when you can make use of their splashing of the cash? Friends are unlikely to turn you down when you want to borrow something, unless you’re not good at remembering to give stuff back…