The countdown is on to Christmas – but before the party season kicks in now might be the time to look ahead to the New Year and put together some resolutions that will keep you in pocket in 2016.
The team at luxury student accommodation Riverside House in Salford believe now is the ideal time for students to take stock of their situation and make some strong financial resolutions.
With the expense of Christmas being felt in the wallet the need for good student budgeting and well thought out, creative moneysaving measures is as important as ever.
And to help you get started here are some simple resolutions that you can make to help have a more prosperous 2016.
- Making and sticking to a budget is vital. It’s a simple but important process in managing your finances. Just looking at your account balance and working out how much cash you will need every week can make a massive difference and keep you on the straight and narrow.
- Leave your bankcard at home. That way you won’t be tempted to visit the cash machine to pay for that kebab on the way or home, or to head for another round of drinks. Just take out the amount of money you can afford to spend on a night out. Leaving the card at home during the day will also stop spur-of-the-moment purchases that you haven’t budgeted for and don’t really need. Take a look at what you’re spending your cash on – and then act. Stop buying that extra drink or treating yourself to the lunchtime sandwich you can’t afford.
- Plan your meals. Shop on a weekly basis and look out for supermarket offers and own-brand foods. With a shopping list you are less likely to make impulse buys. Also if you plan your meals for the week, you are less likely to hit the phone to order a takeaway. Cooking at home is cheaper and it’s also a more healthy option. And why not cook with your friends and flatmates, it’s a fun way to socialise.
- And while we’re on the subject of food, cut back on takeaways altogether. Don’t order a pizza delivery; instead buy a frozen pizza during your weekly shop. Walk past the kebab house or takeway and have a bowl of cereal when you get home instead. Some statistics suggest UK students spend on average £54 a month on takeaways – it’s a sobering thought!
- Boost your finances. If you are looking to make extra cash, selling old textbooks through sites such as Amazon might be a help. You can also make cash by selling off other unwanted items, such as DVDs and CDs, through sites like musicMagpie or by using eBay.
- Take advantage of discounts. Make the most of your NUS card, and look at if it’s worth signing up for an NUS Extra card. Also keep an eye out for discounts in individual stores and seek out vouchers. All can help save the pennies. And if you haven’t got a Railcard consider if getting one might save money on those trips home.
- It also pays to look at price comparison sites, to make sure you are getting the best deal. However, before buying anything ask yourself the question: Do I really need this?
- Create an emergency fund. If you can, put a £5 note aside at the end of every week. Collect your loose change in a pot. Some people collect £2 coins. By this time next year you’ll have money that you can dip into if that unexpected bill drops. As all students know – every penny counts, even when it comes to buying a round of drinks in the Student Union bar. Count the pennies now and at least you’ll avoid suffering a financial hangover.