5 things that'll stop you worrying about money
Worrying about money is the worst. Money is one of the few topics that can make you feel terrified and bored at the same time. The goal is to think about it as little as possible. Here are a few ways you can do just that.
You can delegate your worry to others
Time spent worrying about bills is time wasted. You’re not an expert, and it would take you a very long time to become an expert. Energy suppliers have come under fire lately for making their bills and tariffs deliberately confusing in order to stop you getting the best deal.
You’re much better off delegating these tasks to companies that will organise these dull tasks for you, and find the best available suppliers for you, without you having to do a thing. No more arguing with housemates over whether EoN are a better supplier than British Gas or debating whether it’s best to go on an Economy 7 tariff or… whatever the alternative is (believe me, you don't want to learn). If you don’t know what Economy 7 is, or even a tariff, you’re lucky. We’ve spent years learning these terms, when we could have just delegated it elsewhere.
Firms like DividaBill have made finding your own energy suppliers obsolete. As energy experts they will negotiate the best deal out there for you based on your usage and the energy suppliers available. You'll save money and never have to worry about negotiating with an energy supplier ever again, leaving you time to think about whatever it is you like to think about.
Dividabill will do all your bills, leaving much more time for those thoughts.
Remember you have safety nets
If you run out of money at uni you have several safety nets to fall through before you are truly “broke". Knowing that these safety nets are there, and using them, can lead to a much better state of mind.
Safety net 1: Your bank
Make sure you have the right bank account for university - one that offers a large interest-free overdraft. A lot of banks will extend this automatically over your time at university, but you may have to go into the bank or apply online for your overdraft to be extended when you need it.
Safety net 2: Your parents
This may not be an option for everyone, but for a lot of you your parents will be willing to help out with your finances whilst you’re at university - they just might not know you need it.
It’s embarrassing to ask, or to admit that you need help from them, but if you’re really struggling for money they’ll probably help you out. To get over the embarrassment, remember that they have probably been in the same situation as you at some point. If not that’s because they didn’t have nearly as many financial pressures on them whilst they were at uni. Yours is the first generation to pay £9000 a year for your studies, and are paying the most for accommodation any students throughout history have paid. Gently remind them of this when you pluck up the courage to show them your bank balance and work out an allowance.
Safety net 3: Your university
Your university and student union are there to help. Hardship funds are available to you from your university when you are in dire financial circumstances. Hardship funds are lump sums or installments paid to you when you can’t afford the essentials, such as rent payment, utility bills or food. If any of these apply to you (or may do shortly), contact your university or union to ask for their advice.
You may not ever have to pay back your student loan
The Institute for Fiscal Studies has estimated that 73% of graduates will not repay their loan in full. £9000 a year may seem like a huge number, but it's a number you should largely ignore and not worry about. You will only pay back money to the government when you have a lot of it, and even then you will pay it back in small installments and anything you haven't paid off will be written off after 30 years. If you can't pay it back by then, your education is on the taxpayer.
Whilst at university try to completely forget about your loan. It's not a looming debt, it's something future you will have to deal with, and they'll only have to deal with it if they're rich.
A lot of students are put off getting a part-time job at uni because of how inflexible they are, and how much they interfere with studies. Taking a job at a bar messes with your sleep pattern so much that it can impact on your studies, and your manager tends to be annoyed when your exams clash with "Jägerbombastic Saturday" and you choose your exam over going into work dressed as a Jäegerbomb.
But there are jobs out there that are designed to fit around your studies, specifically looking for uni students to fill them. Job sites like Unitemps find jobs at universities or surrounding local businesses which are flexible and can fit around your studies. If Unitemps doesn't operate in your area, there are normally temp jobs listed on your university website, or at the students union.
They're usually much better experience and pay than bar work and waiting tables, and they're also much more flexible because the employer knows precisely who they're getting and the fact that that means sometimes they'll have to shift their work around so that they can study.
They can be a great experience, leading to jobs at university afterwards, if that's what you're into. There are also plenty of "one time" jobs, such as participating in a psychological study or posing as a patient for medical students (which may require taking your top off and have a doctor comment on your "gynecomastia" or "man boobs"). These can be a great quick cash injection, and can usually be found on the university websites also, or within your psychology / medical departments.
You are more likely to get better grades if you're struggling with money
According to a study from the University of California Students whose parents paid for their tuition and living allowance through college were less likely to get better grades than their poorer fellow students.
Consider the dogs below, who have been freeloading off their owners for years:
Note that at no point in the above photo sequence did the dog get a degree.
These dogs pretty much sum up the plight of the rich kids. The study found that they were ‘engaging in leisure activities’ so much on their parents money they damaged their grades, leading to the new expression “I’m going to party so hard I negatively impact my academic performance.”
You may be struggling now at uni, but things will get better. You are only temporarily poor, and once you're out of uni you are much more likely to earn a much better living once you're out of uni than you would have done if you hadn't struggled your way through university to get your degree. And the harder you're struggling now, weirdly, the better grades you're going to get.
Having a proper budget
Most budgeting tips are made for robots and spreadsheet enthusiasts. They expect you to know precisely how much you earn, how much you’re likely to spend on sandwiches within a three-month period, and, worse, expect you to stick rigidly to the budget you come up with. We don't think you should live like this whilst you're at university, but having a budget and sticking as close to it as you can to it is a great way to make yourself feel more financially secure, so that you can really enjoy the fun (and expensive) stuff you like to do whilst you're at uni.
Once you do learn to learn to budget properly, your bank balance will become a thing that makes you sigh with relief, rather than cry with despair.
Check out our budgeting guide for 9 easy tips to making your first student budget.
Or, if you are looking to make more money, then check out our make money section.
This article was sponsored by Dividabill. One bill, One place, No hassle.