Hey guys! As a second year university student, it is perfectly normal to have to find innovative ways to spend your money wisely, especially as there is no one to tell you how to spend it. Temptations really can spiral out of control. Here are the methods I use to ensure there is still money in the bank at the end of the month.
1) Get a credit card
Now these sound incredibly daunting I know, but honestly, it was one of the best decisions I made. When I first got the card a year ago, my credit limit (the amount that was available to spend) was £1,200, and during that year, I have managed to increase my credit limit to £4,700. Depending on how much you spend on that card will depend on your compulsory monthly payments, mine started at £5 and gradually increased as I spent more. Even if you already have money in the bank, this is the best way of increasing your credit rating. A year ago, mine was at 310/700, and now it is at 470/700, better than the average in my area. This is ideal when it comes to buying things on finance or getting a loan as you are more likely to be accepted.
Consider services like SoFi which operate independently from a bank – offering services such as student loan refinancing, mortgages, personal loans, investing and banking. An important aspect of what they offer is to manage your money in a simple way – whether your intention is to invest or consolidate.
2) Balance Transfer
This is a fairly new concept to myself, but an absolute life saver. As a student you will get a lot of incentives to join particular banks, and it is your job to take the opportunity to get the best offer for yourself. Many banks offer a 0% balance transfer which means for a certain period of time (usually 12-24 months), you can transfer the balance of one / or several credit cards to your balance transfer account with no additional interest. This reduces the payment for your original credit card and ensures you are not paying for interest on your balance, saving you money.
3) Save Pennies
Saving pennies literally says what you need to do in the name – Save Pennies. Although this may not seem much, copper coins really do add up, and although not much value in a purse, put together they are worth it. I have a little pot in my room to store coppers, and when that is full I empty them into a bigger tin. At the end of the month, simply put them all into a coin machine and take your earnings, I usually get between £10- £20 a month.
4) Meal Plan
For me, this is one of the best ways to save money. When shopping, do not aim to fill your trolley with everything under the sun and aim to buy only what you need. This can be achieved by making a list with the ingredients for every meal, plus a few additional snacks to complete your weekly shop. Stick by the motto “If I don’t put it in the trolley, I won’t have it when I get home”, and compromise.
5) Do not carry excess cash
This is one of the easiest ways to run out of money, and fast. If you carry more money than you need with you, it is easy to be more inclined to spend. Find hiding spots for your money or stick it in your bank and leave your card at home, anything to stop spending on wants rather than needs.
6) Manage your expenditure
The BEST way to save money is to keep track of how much you spend. Start by keeping receipts, adding them up at the end of the month and comparing them to past months. Control when your money comes in, and what needs to be paid, aim to get bills direct debited the day your money comes in, for you to track how much money you have for the rest of the month. It is okay to treat yourself every once in a while but make sure that 1. it is not all the time 2. it is something you can afford 3. it is worth the money. Saving is only a burden if you want it to be, but in my opinion it is definitely worth having something to fall back on for a rainy day.