When you’re in college, far from home, balancing that bank account can suddenly be monstrous and overwhelming. If you are not careful, you can lose control of your finances very quickly. Managing your money in college takes some skill and willpower, but you can do it with these proven tips.
The cost of living and studying in the UK while you are at university varies depending on the lifestyle you choose and also on your personal needs.
The city you live in also plays an important role. The costs incurred can be classified into two categories: tuition fees and living costs.
Tuition fees are applicable for each year you study at a university and living costs are what you will spend annually during your stay in the UK as a student. And you can even save for tuition fees.
While college students may roll their eyes at the thought of budgeting, knowing how to manage money is vital to the college experience.
As a parent, now is the time to talk to your child about personal finances. As a parent, you have the opportunity and obligation to prepare your freshman on budgeting and smart spending strategies before he or she arrives on campus.
Whether your child pays his or her own expenses, receives your help, uses financial aid, or a bit of all three, college is an expensive experience made more expensive by poor spending practices.
Not to mention a few words of wisdom, you can give your freshman the tools they need to start college on the right financial footing.
This post gives you helpful tips on how you can manage your funds as a student in the UK. Check out the table of contents below for an overview of all that this post entails.
Personal Finance Tips for College
Here are some tips on how you can manage your funds as a student in the UK;
1. Create a budget
Carefree high school students often spend whatever it takes in their bank account, living off the generosity of their parents or the spoils of a part-time job. Once the student moves to college, a budget becomes crucial.
Whether your child has been exposed to a budget or not, it’s important to sit down together to look at finances. Determine your various sources of income, including money you will provide, income from a job, and money from student loans, grants, and other types of financial aid.
Then show your college freshman how to classify expenses so they know where it all goes. While you can’t force your student to stick to a budget, you can be sure that they know how to use it and have a clear idea of what is and isn’t affordable.
As said, the trick with any budget is to stick to it. Once you and your child are over the budget, take some time to talk about how to make smart money decisions that stay within the budget. For example, help him navigate free or low-cost social activities, such as outdoor concerts, city-sponsored events, or school-sponsored adventure trips.
You know your child better than anyone, so if you like spending money on cappuccinos or the latest designer clothes, take some time to talk about shopping for clothes at discount stores or brewing beer at home.
While it’s tempting to take control of your teen’s finances, let him or her run the show—it’s time for your college student to manage a budget, after all. You can check in to make sure he or she is on track, but let your freshman continue to be in charge.
2. Use online services
College students aren’t likely to sit down and review finances in an Excel spreadsheet, especially when better options are available. Instead, set your student up with an online service or smartphone app that makes money management easy and convenient. After all, that smartphone is practically glued to your hand anyway.
Some apps, like Mint, make money management easy for a busy or forgetful college student. Mint allows users to upload bank account and expense information so they can manage all their accounts in one place. The app makes budgeting a little more accessible for a busy, on-the-go college student. This ensures fewer missed payments and penalties, as well as easy access to account balances.
In addition to money management apps, be sure to take the time to set up your student with online banking so they can transfer money online or use mobile deposits.
3. Minimize student debt
There are several ways to minimize student debt. Make sure you cover all the bases before you send your freshman off to school.
- Spend on the right things. Of course, college students shouldn’t use financial aid to fund pizza nights in their dorm rooms, but the temptation is a powerful thing. Take the time to impress on the importance of using debt wisely. Even if loans seem like “free money” now, they’re coming back to bite you. It is your job as a parent to define what is okay and what is not okay for your child to use the loan money. Tuition, books, housing, and maybe meal plans, no social outings, new clothes, or help for a party keg.
- Borrow only what is required. Not all students go to school with a fully funded university trust. If your child needs to obtain student loans, remind him that the amount borrowed must be commensurate with the type of salary available once he earns a degree. Even if your student chooses to borrow money for school, it should be for school. Taking more money to finance an extravagant lifestyle on campus may seem important now, but it could be a serious problem later. Freshmen should start living frugally now so they don’t pay interest on things like a bigger dorm room or frat fees later.
- Finance Extras with a Job. If your coed wants to finance a social life, it should be done with a part-time job, instead of student loans. Work-study positions generally offer the flexibility a student needs with the convenience of location, while off-campus positions often pay more. Either way, teach your child to have a “pay now” policy for non-essential purchases so they don’t. very pay for them later
- Extra profit funnel for loan payments. Try adding additional loan payments to your child’s budget by using funds from a part-time job or monetary donations to help pay off student debt. While the loans technically don’t come due until after graduation, paying them off while you’re in school can help your student save a lot of money when it comes to long-term interest.
4. Look for student discounts
College students need to become masters in exploring the ways their educational status can save them money. Vendors, local places, restaurants, and services near college campuses often offer student discounts that could save your freshman a lot of money during their first year.
You can also get discounts on flights, tuition fees, and even accommodation. Also, by looking for discounts, students learn the value of looking for great deals.
5. Be careful with credit cards
If going to college is like sailing on a vast ocean, then credit card companies are the sharks. They specifically prey on new and inexperienced rookies, relying on the idea that rookies have little money and are excited about the prospect of “easy” money. They also expect freshmen to be sloppy with credit cards, racking up late fees and high-interest payments. Credit card companies often lure students with college-focused offers, like the promise of free concert tickets or free college swag.
Make a rule with your freshman: If he or she wants a credit card, the two of you can choose the best one together. Freshmen should never sign up for a student credit card on a whim. Instead, you can talk about the pros and cons of different cards, set a reasonably low spending limit, and look for cards with points or cash-back rewards.
Your child may also want to use a debit card while in college. While it seems foolproof, make sure your student’s bank doesn’t allow a large overdraft.
In fact, turn off overdraft protection so your student can only spend what they have in the bank and won’t be hit with overdraft fees. You can prepare your child by preparing them with a prepaid debit card at home; You will soon realize that when the money runs out, it runs out.
6. Set financial limits
One way to help your child reduce expenses in the first year is to set financial limits on unnecessary items. Setting a spending limit doesn’t necessarily prevent your freshman from making impulse purchases, but it should give her pause to assess whether or not the new iPhone is really necessary.
By setting a fairly low limit, say $50 to $100 per month, he or she has some leeway without having a carte blanche when it comes to purchasing power. Add non-essential money to your student’s proposed budget, separate from essential expenses like gas and food.
While you can’t spend time hanging over your student’s shoulder, making sure he or she sticks to the plan, you can remind him or her of its importance.
If possible, you can also help lighten the load: If you know your student is strapped for money and has the means, send a care package with non-perishable food or a prepaid gas card to campus.
7. Avoid full-price textbooks
Ah, the textbook: the budget breaker for college students around the world. While it is true that some teachers change and update the texts practically every year, the vast majority use the same books year after year. That means your student shouldn’t have to pay hundreds to buy books before class.
There are many ways your student can save money on college textbooks, like looking for postings in campus newsletters or shopping on eBay and Amazon. Or have your child visit websites like Chegg, where many common textbooks can be rented. Some schools also offer textbook rental programs, so ask your bookstore and library about available options.
Unless absolutely necessary, steer your student away from the campus bookstore, where prices are likely to be highest. Also, keep in mind that some teachers add “suggested materials” to the book list, many of which may not be necessary to pass the class. Help your child review his syllabus to eliminate the required texts from the suggested ones.
When the school year ends, suggest that your student sell used textbooks to others who need them the following semester. School bookstores, online book retailers, and social networking sites are good places to advertise textbook sales. Your student can recoup some of the cash spent on book purchases and make it available to pay off student loans, pay off credit card debt, or add to savings for the next semester.
8. Protect personal information
When it comes to identity theft, college students are some of the hardest hit and the most oblivious to the crime. According to Javelin Strategy and Research, the 18-24 demographic is at the highest risk for identity theft. Not only that, but it took the average individual in that demographic 132 days to detect and report fraud.
Warn your student not to share personal information. Simple things like giving a friend a password, providing unnecessary Social Security numbers, or leaving personal documents lying around can expose your child to identity theft.
To catch theft before it goes too far, students should check their credit and bank accounts regularly, reporting any suspicious activity immediately. While identity surveillance services are available, the monthly fees may not fit a college student’s budget.
Instead, teach your teen to pay attention to his bills and suggest he order a free annual credit report from all three reporting bureaus through AnnualCreditReport.com. However, there is an argument for an identity security service like LifeLock if your student thinks her identity has already been compromised.
It’s an unfortunate drawback to college life, but if you’re vigilant, it doesn’t need to color your freshman year’s college experience.
When you send your freshman off to college, you’re not only ushering in a new era for your family, but you’re also looking to see if all the advice and financial training you’ve given your child is really worth it.
No one always makes perfect financial decisions, but if you’ve established a solid training foundation, your child should get through the first year without making too many financial mistakes.
What advice would you give a new student about heading off to college this fall?
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