Congratulations for surviving the stress of packing and painful goodbyes to arrive at university! Welcome, and well done on your financial progress so far. The fact that you've got here, in one piece and with some cash in your pocket must mean that you're pretty clued up when it comes to budgeting, right? But even studious budgeters could use a little help sometimes, especially when the challenges of Fresher's Week and household management lie ahead...
Fear not: CampusLife Money Modules have all of the advice you could possibly need on how to survive the above with your wallet intact.
Read on to gain a better understanding of the things you ought to do before settling in and grabbing a beer. A little more effort now will hopefully future proof you for the year to come.
How to Future Proof Yourself against Expensive
1. Stay secure over the semester break:
Keep valuables out of sight and ensure that your room and flat door is locked when you leave.
2. Keep the kitchen in a clean condition to come back to after the vacation:
Blitz the dirty dishes and throw away any perishable food items. You may actually have one housemate who is staying over the holidays; it wouldn't be fair to leave them with your mess for 3 weeks!
3. Don't leave your electricals on standby:
Only millionaires and idiots pay for energy they're not using (you can quote us on that!). Unplug all
appliances at the wall; you won't be there for 3 weeks anyway. And whilst you're at it turn off all dripping taps
and lock all windows.
4. Ensure you Insure:
You wouldn't drive a car without insurance so why would you own hundreds of pounds worth of tech gadgetry
without insuring it properly? Contents Insurance is one of the most important purchases you're
likely to make this year, so be wise when it comes to sourcing the best premium. check out our slideshow
below for advice on how to find the best deal for you:
Be Mindful of Mindless
The ultimate money pit, owning a car is the surest way of planting yourself in the red before you've even started at university. If you're a young lad under the age of 20 your insurance costs are likely to be MASSIVE, and if you're bringing the car with you to university you will be unable to get away with being a named driver on your Mum or Dad's cover.
Hefty insurance premiums aside, there are the added costs of annual maintenance (MOT, Tax, Servicing, Repairs and Tyres), plus petrol and parking to consider. So unless you have a very definite reason for bringing your car to uni (due to commute to and from placements, etc) then we suggest you leave it at home and bring your bike instead.
Don't believe us? Check out This Is Money's Car Calculator to add up the true costs.
And if you've got an old banger, think about selling it for scrap. In so doing you'll top up your savings and probably be quids in in the long run.
Mobile Phone Contracts
Probably the second biggest money pit after cars, your desire to own a flashy new smartphone is likely to have serious side effects on your finances. Unfortunately not many of us are capable of making smart choices when it comes to our smartphones. We're shamelessly tempted by the lure of new tech, and our phones are fast becoming like PA's - capable of managing our lives, organising our time, music, photos & messages on our behalf. But stop and think about it for a second and you'll be surprised: Does your brand new iPhone 6 really do much more to assist you in life than your iPhone 5 ever did? Go on, really think about it for a second; make a list of pro's and con's if you must do, and you'll be surprised to see that the answer is a resounding No.
So take heed: If you're nearing the end of a contract try forgoing the shiny new phone offered to you by a salesman on commission. Opt instead for a cheap SIM only tariff and you'll be surprised to note that the same data allowances will cost you about a third of your previous monthly rate. That's a saving of over 65%. Definitely a No-Brainer.
The *Best of the Rest...
*(Best offenders against money that is!)
Why pay extortionate Taxi rates when you can invest in a student bus pass? If you find yourself commuting into campus from your halls of residence a bus pass can pay dividends in the long run. First Group offer some great discount rates for students, including termly or bi-termly passes: click here to find out for yourself. But remember the golden rule: if you're not going to use it don't buy it!
We're not saying that it's not important to keep yourself fit and healthy. But there is such thing as a balance of healthy body/ healthy mind, and if your gym membership is draining your finances you need to be careful that the health of the latter does not suffer. It's quite common for students to get caught in extortionate, fixed term gym memberships that they hardly ever use. So if you're thinking seriously of joining a gym than consider the University's gym first. The key difference is that the uni gym offers flexible memberships that mirror the length of the academic year - they understand that most students are unlikely to live in Swansea for 12 months of the year, and make it possible to buy termly memberships too. Click here to compare rates.
We love animals here in Money@CampusLife (our mascot is a piggy bank after all!), but pets have their place and uni isn't one of them. Yes we appreciate that your dog/ cat/ bunny/ hamster/ goldfish is like a 2nd sibling to you but being a student means putting yourself first, and if you're scrimping on meals so that you can afford organic carrots for Thumper then your priorities are fundamentally wrong. Jokes aside, if you're seriously homesick for your furry friend then BorrowMyDoggy.com is a great way to engage with animals without the responsibility of ownership.