Going off to university is an exciting time in any young person’s life. It’s the first time you’ve properly lived away from home, there are no rules, and you get to experience life by yourself as an adult. While some take to this like a duck to water, others can struggle- especially when it comes to finances. Our education system might be excellent, and you’ve come to university because you’re an able and intelligent person, however, what schools seem to lack is teaching real life skills such as how to work your finances. When your student loan money first hits the bank and it seems like such a lot, but it’s in there to last you a whole term. So unless you know how to budget it quickly runs out which can leave you in a bit of a pickle, with no money for essential bills or even food. With banks practically throwing credit cards and large overdrafts at students, it’s fair to say that it can be a very slippery slope. If you found yourself down this path as a student, and have graduated university massively in the red with your bank, bills and other commitments, here are a few things to bear in mind.
When you graduate and move back home, university can seem like a different life. It’s tempting to want to move on and put your money mistakes behind you, but of course, debt doesn’t work like that. It follows you wherever you go, do don’t bury your head in the sand. Address it, and work out a plan. Make it your mission to get it cleared off and out of the way, so it’s not looming over your head for longer that it needs to be.
Work Out a Budget
The secret to managing your finances well is to know exactly what you have coming in each month, and exactly what comes out. This allows you to stay in total control and prevents you from missing bills and overspending. This should be easy as a graduate, especially if you’ve gone back to live with your parents for a while as you won’t have too many bills coming out to account for. We all know how finding a graduate job can be hard and time-consuming, so it’s a sensible move to get a temporary job in the meantime while you look. This gives you your own income and also allows you to start paying down some accumulated debt.
Speak to Debt Advice Company
If you’re really struggling and need help paying off debt, there are lots of companies and charities out there which can do just that. They speak to your creditors on your behalf, and discuss a payment plan which you’re able to afford. If you’re out of work, this could be a small ‘token payment’ to keep them happy, until you find a job. From there you can up the amount, and pay down your debt while still being able to afford everything else you need to pay.
Live and Learn
Going to university for most people is going to involve debt. The money the government paid to your university for you to study will eventually have to be paid back, after you’re earning a certain amount. However, this is considered ‘good debt’ and is something most students don’t have to think about for many years. However getting your finances in a muddle, and ending up in debt for university accommodation, student overdrafts and credit cards are all the kinds of debts you will need to pay off as soon as you can- otherwise, it will be a ruined credit score and even bailiffs knocking your door. If you’ve messed up your money as a student, be sure to live and learn. Remember how stressful and unpleasant sorting it out is, and be sure not to make the same mistakes again.