In the blink of an eye, Christmas will be over, and we’ll all be back at uni. You know how it goes by now. Your phone vibrates, you look down and see the message you’ve been pining for since about the start of October. It’s from SFE and it’s announcing the impending arrival of your student loan.
You feel like a million dollars, although there aren’t quite as many zeroes after those numbers as you would like. But instead of blowing your new-found wealth on a full wardrobe and drinks cupboard, here are some top financial New Year’s resolutions…
Sometimes the old advice is the best. Even having a rough idea of what you’ve got to spend each week can help make sure you don’t run out by week 10. Factor in expected bills (remember heating will be higher in winter), a food allowance, transport, rent, some cash to treat yourself and some contingency money just in case.
Put some money aside
If you’re able to, try putting a small amount aside as soon as your student loan comes in and budget with what’s left. It’s then available if something unexpected comes up, or you find yourself short by Easter.
But if not, you’ve started to create some savings for the summer or beyond.
Find next year’s house
Fairly near the top of many people’s financial list of priorities for 2018 will be finding a house. The Homerun list from SU approved landlords is released on the 20 January, but there’s no harm in looking at other options beforehand.
The key advice here is not to panic, there are plenty of houses to go around. Attend one of several SU housing socials if you want to meet new housemates. View your potential new house, use the SU’s services, and get them to check over the contract and deposit arrangements before putting pen to paper to avoid any nasty surprises and make sure you’re not stung by unexpected fees.
Look for internship opportunities
Now is the time to look forward to Easter (17 March-15 April) and summer (15 June- 2 4 September) and try to arrange some invaluable internships, work experience or placements. CareerCentral, located in the Street and online, is the place to go to find out all about the best opportunities, and they can also tell you whether you might be eligible to apply for financial support to undertake placements.
Look at charities
If you’re in the fortunate position of having a small amount of money to spare, January could be the perfect time to choose a cause you feel strongly about and sign up to give a couple of pounds a month.
Compare bills and bank accounts
Have a surf online to check out the best bank accounts, which offer a variety of perks and benefits. If living off-campus, ask your landlord if you’re allowed to switch utilities providers and shop around for the cheapest gas and electricity. Don’t be afraid to call your existing providers to ask if they can match another offer – they’re keen to keep your custom!
Leave your card at home on nights out
The LCR. VKs. 10 please. Contactless payment. You know the rest.
Investigate cheaper travel
Do some sums based on last semester’s journeys and work out whether it would save you money to buy a Railcard, National Express Coachcard or First bus pass.