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It’s a little strange that high-street banks are so keen to get penniless students to open accounts before they begin university, isn’t it? Surely their most valuable customers are the ones with actual money?
Well, there’s some pretty solid – and cynical reasoning – behind this. Either you leave university and get a great, well-paying job, or you continue living out of your overdraft (and therefore paying the banks interest) .
That’s why they’re always been keen to reel in students using attractive offers: a free Young Person’s Railcard, 10 free CDs (okay, they did discontinue that one) – any shiny object with short-term appeal. And it works! Dangle the right freebies and students won’t worry about the particulars.
The interest-free overdraft is a classic ‘hook’: it comes in all shapes and sizes, with a variety of delightful repayment plans that kick in after you graduate. If you went on nights out, ordered takeaways, or bought tin after tin of caviar when you, technically, had no money, you could be paying for it well into your late 20’s.
Now, if you land that dream job straight out of the gate, that won’t be a problem (incidentally, that’s what we’re here for). Nonetheless, it’s true that many graduates struggle to repay their overdrafts after university, and only clever budgeting and penny-pinching can help them stay afloat.
Regardless of your post-graduation financial situation, it’s smart to learn how to effectively manage your money – and these five budgeting tips aim to help you do exactly that.
University might be over, but that doesn't mean you need to stop budgeting like a student; if anything, you’ll need to be a lot more precise in the way you manage your outgoings. Leaving the warm embrace of higher education has its downsides: now you have to get up before midday and pay for things – including things you never had to worry about before, like Council Tax.
It’s intimidating, and extremely difficult to get your head around at first, but there are ways to ease the process. For example, online budgeting tools from the likes of Money Advice Centre, the Citizen Advice Bureau, and Mint can be a huge help in terms of keeping your finances in check. Also check the App store for tech tools that integrate with your online banking.
You’re probably not Adam Richman from Man vs. Food. Eating out can seriously put a dent in anyone’s finances, and money spent at a restaurant or on a sneaky McDonald’s all adds up. Do a weekly shop, stock up on the essentials, and limit takeaways as much as you can – it may not make too much difference in the moment, but your bank balance will feel the impact over time.
You may not have a great deal of cash sitting in your bank account upon exiting university life, however, you may have a ready stock of valuable assets sitting on your book shelf gathering dust.
Amazon, Webuybooks, and eBay tend to be the standard choices, but there are several other great websites where students and ex-students can pass on their used textbooks to new owners – for cash. So if you can bear to part with that signed limited edition textbook, dust it off and list it on a site like UniList or AbeBooks – you could see a far greater return.
There are some great tutoring opportunities online – sites like Tutor Hunt are particularly useful, and you can advertise on notice boards at colleges, schools, and universities. Somebody out there could probably use your expertise.
The best advice you’ll ever receive – in this, and many other areas – is to never settle for what you’ve already got. Always compare energy companies: their pricing structures change constantly, and you can snag a really great deal if you’re clever about it.
The same goes for phones, car insurance (if applicable), and even bread – maybe the store-brand is a mite cheaper than that fancy stuff with pumpkin seeds in it.