Image courtesy of Susan Ruggles
Image courtesy of Susan Ruggles

Student life can be quite tough, having to live away from home for the first time for many, means that a lot of adjustments need to be made. They need to responsible for themselves, do their own shopping, cooking and washing and manage their finances. It can be the finances that is one of the most difficult parts, particularly as the money a student can get, perhaps through grants and loans, is rather small and it may not be enough to manage on. Even if they get parental help and perhaps a part-time job, it can still be very tricky. There are things that they can do though, which will make things easier.

It is good to start by making sure that you take everything that you think you will need from home. So as well as clothes, consider whether you will need kitchen items, stationery, rugs, posters, lamps, electronics, books etc. If there are things you find you need when you arrive, then think about whether you can fetch them from home when you next visit rather than buying them.

You may need specific books or resources for the course that you have chosen to do. It can be tempting to just go out and buy them right away so that you have them. However, it can be wise to wait a little while. You may be able to borrow things from the library and then decide whether you really need them. If you do decide to buy them, see whether you can get them for a good price. Do lots of research to find out where is the cheapest.

It is worth doing research on prices with everything that is bought. This is good practice anyway but particularly important when money is in short supply. Once you get used to comparing prices of things, it is really easy to do and you will be able to get faster at it. You can often compare prices online, but also when you are in the shops. Look for special offers and sale prices but only buy things that you need. It can be tempting to buy things because they are a bargain but then if they are not things that you would have otherwise bought then it is a waste of money getting them.

It can be wise to ask for practical gifts when birthdays and Christmas come along if you do not have much money. Toiletries, cash, stationery and things like that could be requested if people are happy to buy things that you ask for. They will all save you money and although they may be a bit boring, there is a lot to gain from practical gifts.

Budgeting is really important as well. It is likely that money will come in big chunks, but bills will come monthly. This means that it is necessary to make sure that the money lasts the whole year and is not all spent right at the beginning. It can perhaps be wise to put most in a savings account and put a certain amount each month into a current account.