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Personal Finances: The Student Learning Curve

We’ve all been there. Admittedly some of us more recently than others. We’re talking about going to university and potentially savoring your first taste of independence living away from the overly familiar family unit. And we know; you simply can’t wait to relish this new-found freedom, where for the first time you don’t have to answer to anyone, be responsible for anything and essentially do as you please (providing you attend a few lectures and hand in coursework on time). Only that’s not, technically, true. As – boring as it sounds – you will have people to answer to (student loans companies, banks, bank of mum and dad even).

Personal Finances: The Student Learning Curve

So, effectively you will be responsible to any one of the aforementioned to a certain extent; a financial one, predominantly. So, with this in mind, just how do you go about making (what will typically be) a restricted budget stretch to cover everything you want/need?

The simple answer is, courtesy of a little forward-planning and the deployment of some common sense. We appreciate, not necessarily the first words which spring to mind when remembering your student self (for those past masters of the dark arts – humanities, sciences, languages, maths, etc).

But you must approach student life with a degree of sense and sensibility if you’re to survive not only initiation ceremonies, a raft of ingenious drinking games and a serious of both early career and relationship knockbacks; as essentially it’s all part of the student learning curve. Hereabouts we afford you a few rudimentary pointers on how best to make your limited funds work hardest on your behalf. Leaving you the required time to immerse yourself in this rites of passage educational experience. Notepads and pens at the ready….


No, not the one the politician presides over, before holding aloft a battered red briefcase on the steps of No 11 Downing Street. But rather your personal one; and the making of and adhering strictly to, thereafter. It may well be that you’re planning on supplementing your student grant or loan with a part-time job, however, that doesn’t mean you can be flippant about your expenditure this term, or indeed next. Ergo you need to remember the following bits of advice;

  • DON’T take your plastic cards with you on student nights out (by that we mean bank and credit cards, not your student ID examples, obviously). This way you won’t be tempted to overspend if you’ve already pre-limited your money for what entertainment awaits
  • DO remember to take – and moreover, wield – the abovementioned student ID card whenever and wherever you may roam, so as to receive all the discounts you’re entitled to
  • DEFINITELY ask yourself three key questions prior to reaching for the readies. Those being, ‘Do I really need this? Can I actually afford it? And is it available cheaper anywhere else?’ If the answer to any of these questions is a no, then reconsider your options

Be smart with your phone – Be sure to research the best deals for your mobile phone before heading off to uni, to ensure you’re striking the best deals and tariffs with your existing network provider; and if not, shop around for something more competitively priced. If you are already receiving a decent deal on your contract, then fine. But there’s no harm in shopping around and/or running the rule over changing your contract to pay-as-you-go (when your current deal expires, of course).

Turn a Blind Eye to TV Licensing at your Peril

Really, don’t do it. It’s not worth the punishment if you get caught watching your telly (or streaming live TV programmes via any other device) having not paid your license first. £145.50 annually might sound like money better spent in the student bar, but trust us, the bailiffs won’t share your opinion if you get found out. And then realize you can’t foot the bill for being illegal. Which could result in you hastily getting in touch with a cash loan company such as Cash1Loans to help bail you out by lending you the required funds to appease all parties. Which, incidentally, they’re incredibly good at doing, along with helping those in financial need with pretty much any other requests; but that’s another story.

Don’t Give Yourself too much Credit

Following on from the above, always side-swerve credit cards and unauthorized overdraft facilities when of student years, otherwise prepare for ridiculously high-interest rates, bank charges and repayment terms which could quickly escalate and subsequently require urgent assistance from Cash1Loans and their ilk.

Content yourself with your Parent’s Insurance

No need for inflated standalone insurance policies to safeguard your belongings in your halls of residence/student bedsit, as the majority of providers will honor the ‘content away from home’ section of your family’s household policy. Just as long as you furnish them with a list of your prized possession that is. If you are looking to be more knowledgeable, then you should also check out this tool that you can use to get a better understanding of English teaching in Spain!

And finally……

It’s OK to Dodge tax!

But not soap and water. Yes, UK students can avoid paying taxes if they’re in full-time education (and only hold down a job during the holiday periods and earn less than £7,475). If not, and they work during term time, you’ll pay income tax and NI contributions like everyone else, we’re afraid.

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