With the world being what it is, there’s no such thing as a free lunch or a free education. It’s a matter of fact that most of us will leave University after completing our degrees and be saddled with student loans and debt that we now have to pay off. When you’re living the care-free life of a student, the day the banks come knocking seems millennia away but as soon as you begin your first graduate job, it’s time to get real about money.
No one likes being in debt, that’s why it’s great to have some tricks up your sleeve to help you manage your finances, pay your bills and be able to live and enjoy your working life. Check out these top Student Debt Hacks and advice on budgeting!
Let’s Get Ready to Buddddgeeeeett!
Ah yes. Budget. An unpleasant yet necessary fiend who will be your number one saviour when it comes to managing both your finances and your debt. You may feel like a millionaire now that you have a regular salary but trust me, graduate pay can only stretch so far. Examine your monthly outgoings, your rent, bills, food expenditure and monthly loan repayments first. Figure out how much you have coming in and how much NEEDS to go out each month. Never prioritise anything else over rent, bills or loan repayments. No, your holiday or that new top is not more important. Now that you know what your expenditure is – make sure that is paid first and set up direct debits for the day after your salary is deposited into your account.
Set a weekly food budget and ensure you stick rigidly to it. Doing your food shop at a budget supermarket may not be as fun as strolling through M&S picking up fancy ready meals or £6 bars of chocolate but every penny adds up. When buying food, look for quality ingredients and fresh local foods for the best value. Sure, that bag of frozen chips may look appealing but you can probably get triple the amount of actual potatoes for the same price. Avoid convenience meals and learn to cook and you will save a packet. Check the sale shelf for reduced items and buy supermarket own brand products for plenty of savings on a similar product. Another top tip is to check out the ‘World Foods’ aisle in your local supermarket – this is where you’ll find foods like rice and tinned chickpeas cheaper than other aisles in the store. It’s a smart shopper secret.
It’s a tried-and-tested method that stands the test of time. Compare, compare, compare. Then compare again. Are you getting the best deal on your phone contract, gas, electricity or your home Wi-Fi? Check out what other companies are offering and you’ll always find a better deal elsewhere. It’s OK to switch providers each year to ensure that you keep your living costs down on your regular utilities. Have a look at the cheapest energy provider in the area and then get a quote from them. Go to your current provider and they may offer to match or beat the cheaper quote for a year. #winning
Spot a Bargain
There are plenty of opportunities to save your hard-earned cash if you look for them. Every city will have a beauty or hairdressing school constantly looking for people to model for their students. Ring up and ask about their offers and you can get a cut-price beauty treatment or hair appointment with a student hairdresser at a training salon. Don’t worry, they’re being watched by an instructor! Lots of salons offer this too to help keep their staff up-to-date on the latest cutting and hairdressing techniques so check if your current hairdresser offers training.
Save on Transport
Running a car or getting the train to the office every day can quickly add up so check to see if there’s a cheaper option for getting out and about. Ask your employer about tax saver train tickets and if they offer them as part of your company benefits. Some employers participate in these schemes which can save you money on your yearly transport costs. Have a look at any cycle to work schemes and whether or not this is possible for you. Biking or walking to the office is a great way to get your exercise in before you hit the desk meaning you can skip your evening gym trip and that expensive gym membership too.