If you are a first year student getting ready to go to University, you are probably thinking about how much fun it will be to be fully independent. There is no denying that University is a great time to learn how to live on your own and have a great time doing so. It is important that you have fun, but it is equally important to consider the responsibilities that come along with independence. The biggest responsibility you will have is managing your finances wisely.
When you receive your student loan, there will suddenly be a large amount of money at your disposal. Now, you may have had varying degrees of experience with living on a budget while you lived at home, but you may not have had this much money at your fingertips. It is tempting to see it as spare cash that can be used on anything you want. However, you must remember that this money needs to cover your living expenses, which may be higher than you expected. Deciding to be strong and resist the temptation to go on a shopping spree is the first step to spending your student loan wisely.
During the first few weeks at university, there will undoubtedly be plenty of activities and parties to attend as well as a lot of new people to meet. Just be careful that you consider your budget and do not end up using all your money in the first few weeks before lectures even start. You do not want to be forced to scrounge around for food and live off of your new friends’ generosity for the rest of term.
Here are three ways you can spend your student loan wisely and still enjoy being a student.
What Accommodation to Choose
Chances are you’ve never had to pay for your accommodation before and it can be quite a shock to find out how much it costs. Most universities you attend will have a range of housing options you can choose from including student halls, off-campus housing, and private shared housing. While the fancy accommodation with en-suite and Wi-Fi may be appealing, it will also be expensive. Remember you have to live off your loan too. It may be a better idea to choose a cheaper place to live. Rooms with shared facilities are typically a much cheaper option and if you couple that with a location slightly off-campus you will probably be saving yourself a lot on rent expenses. Plus you can get a little exercise walking to lectures.
What About my Transport?
Depending on the university, and of course where you live, you may find that you need to ride a lot of buses. Bus passes and rail cards are the cheap option if you need to travel on them every day, especially if you are planning on going home at weekends. A bicycle is the cheapest way to travel to and from your lectures. You can bring one from home or find a second-hand bike once you arrive at university. Do not forget to use a padlock. If you know someone at university who has a car you might want to consider contributing to a car share. By helping pay for petrol you have more flexibility in your travel and can save a lot on public transport.
I Need Software
Depending on your course you may find it necessary to have particular software to help with your studies. Although software for pupils is usually a very expensive necessity, it does not have to be so detrimental to your finances. There are a number of online student software stores that provide huge discounts on software like Microsoft Project Professional 2010 which will help you manage your resources to stay on time and budget.Be smart and look for deals. Just keep in mind that you are borrowing this money and sometime in the future you will need to pay it back. Be careful, spend wisely, and enjoy your university years!