Times are certainly tough for many of us and the New Year doesn’t automatically bring relief. So, it’s really up to you to make sure you’re on top of things and here’s how you do it …

 

With the reality of austerity and privatisation, for the next five years (at least) times are tough, especially for students. Managing costs can be difficult and before I start rambling and going on a rant here is a list to help you along the road. Here are 5 easy ways on how not to be ‘broke’ in the New Year.

Tip 1: Prioritise. Before picking up that new football shirt in celebration of the start of the season, or rushing towards that handbag that caught your eye on the slender store mannequin, reflect. Ask yourself these two questions: Do I need this? Can I afford this?

if you even hesitate answering either or both of these questions, leave, because the likely true answer to both of the above is ‘No’. In the words of Warren Buffet, ‘Do not save what is left after spending, but spend what is left after saving’. Stick with this rule and you’ll automatically start seeing a difference. Not only will you be saving in the short term but tucking away a set amount each month will help build-up a nice sum to fall back on in the future.

Tip 2: Cut back on restaurants. Tucking into a nice hot plate of your favourite meal at your favourite restaurant to the soft hum of a Ben Howard instrumental and the warm buzz of familiar voices, is an experience we all enjoy. Now fast-forward to the end of the month when you arrive after a tiresome day at university or work only to be welcomed by a pile of austere-looking white rectangular envelopes. Bills, bills, bills – oh, and that bank statement at the bottom which adds insult to injury. To avoid this misery try some alternatives. Instead of going out call your friends over to your place, ask each of them to bring a food item and spend the night in the comfort of your own home. You can even save for those times when you do go out; try out apps such as VoucherCloud which give tailored coupons for some of your best-loved restaurants and even non-food items!

Tip 3: Keep receipts. Have a diary on your bedside table and record all your transactions daily, or if you’re short for time, weekly. This will allow you to physically see how much in total you have spent and whether it’s keeping with your budget. Also, keep a record of your income, this will help keep a check on your salary and whether your workplace is giving you the necessary amount to sustain yourself. Keeping a log of what’s coming in and out of your pocket will help you manage your costs better and discipline you for the future when life throws mortgages and all that other boring stuff in your direction.

Tip 4: Buy second-hand. Schools, colleges and universities often require textbooks, which come at a hefty price leaving a huge hole in your pocket. Websites and apps such as Google Play have a huge collection of free books which you can access on your mobile, computer or tablet. However, if you are like me and prefer to have a physical copy which you can annotate and highlight, you can always just buy second-hand. Charity shops, eBay and other online sites have all the books you may need for almost half the price. As well as this, older siblings, friends and students often have their old books lying around which I’m sure they’d be glad to see the back off.

Last but not least, Tip 5: Ask and Research. As of 2016 grants are no longer available and have been replaced by student loans. Do not despair! You will only have to begin paying this back after you start earning £21,000. Need more financial help? Ask your friends and family, but if that is not an option, universities often provide extra help for those who need it through bursaries and other schemes. Nose around for different resources, call and inquire.

Hope everyone was able to take something from this and good luck for the new year!