For many of us, money becomes a major preoccupation while at university. Not only do you suddenly have rent to pay for the first time but unless you are lucky enough to have some very generous parents, you are also responsible for paying for everything else.
Let’s examine ten tried and tested money saving tips for students to help you make your money go further than expected.
Sort Out Your Credit
As a student, it’s almost inevitable that from time to time you will go into the red. In fact, if you’re like some of my uni buddies, you might actually *live* in the red while a university so it’s well worth getting lines of credit sorted out before you go.
While you’re still working and your credit is reasonably healthy look into the bank accounts that are available to you to see what sort of an overdraft you can get, and for what cost. Ideally you will get a substantial overdraft with no fees up to a certain point.
Also look at student credit cards and loans to help you through. Some student loans don’t need to be repaid until well after you finish your course and credit cards can be a useful (if expensive) way to cover short-term issues.
When I was at university, for example, I used my credit card extensively during the term, clocking up thousands of dollars of debt, then worked my fingers to the bone each summer paying it off. It worked and I managed to survive university using that simple process.
I recommend that even if you think you will be fine, have done all your budgeting and have money saved up that you *still* sign up for these various facilities even if you never actually use them because they can be very handy to have pre-approved in times of emergency.
Buy In Bulk
We all know that you tend to get discounts for buying in bulk so make the most of it. Get your parents to do an initial food shop for you when you get to uni for the first time and buy in bulk which may provide you with weeks or even months of supplies of certain food items.
Thereafter, consider banding together with friends and housemates to buy larger packs of food (rice, pasta, beans etc.) and then split them between you. By doing this you will likely save a considerable amount of money, but just be careful that you do this with people you trust. The last thing you want to do is to spend a considerable sum of money on food only to find one of your housemates eats all the food while you are away one weekend leaving you out of pocket and hungry.
Enlist the Help of Your Parents
Parents are great and shouldn’t be underestimated as a source of potential savings. No matter how well or otherwise you get on with them, now is the time to start subtly building up that rapport. Get into the black when it comes of favors and politeness so that if and when you need their help, your parents will be more willing to lend a hand.
For example, your parents may be willing to drop you at university and then ferry you home again during semester breaks. They may be able to lend or give you supplies too. For example my parents gave me all my kitchen equipment crockery, cutlery, pans etc. They were also willing to go 50/50 on books and loaned me money from time to time if I really needed it.
In short, try not to go too far and start taking your parents for granted, but they can be a real help to the penniless university student.
To be continued…