Let’s be honest, personal finance is hardly a thrill a minute. You’d be hard pushed to find anyone that would rather peruse their money management options on a Saturday night than just go and spend some of their student loan. But I assure you, it’s not all dull as ditch-water and having an acute awareness of financial matters can boost your bank balance and your student loan without you barely lifting a finger. Here’s how…
Live for today – and tomorrow
Yes, without doubt, get the most out of every day. And I mean EVERY day. A big splurge today might put you on cloud 9 but it will leave you short tomorrow, and even shorter next week. No-one wants to live like a pauper through uni. It can be a real downer and impact your studies. Plan your spending across a whole term, or preferably a whole year, and you’ll enjoy a consistently great 8/10 lifestyle every day of your uni life. Budget now to enjoy ‘maximum utility’.
Become more employable
The business world revolves around money. And your finances are simply a microcosm of that business world. Companies have debts and credit, bills and earnings, budgets and growth opportunities, just like you. Treat yourself as a business and you’ll learn an awful lot about how modern-day organisations tick and it’ll make you a meticulous money manager in no time. And when it comes to graduating, you’ll be in a fantastic position to interact with future employers about inflation, interest rates, early repayments, down-payments, APR and more. Believe me!
Build a brilliant credit score
Adopting good financial habits can help build your credit history and increase your credit score. It’s very difficult for students to get credit on good terms because they haven’t yet had chance to build up their credit history. This is why we don’t just look at your credit rating when reviewing your Future Finance student loan application – we always factor in your future earning potential too, based on your course and university. But we’re pretty different like that. Most banks, mortgage lenders and car loan companies will demand that you have a good credit score before they hand over the money – or the keys.
The millionaire next door
If you read one book this year that isn’t on your course list make sure it’s this – “The Millionaire Next Door” by Thomas J Stanley and William D Danko. It’s based on a US study in the 1990s that proved that people who ‘looked’ like they were rich – the Ferrari drivers, guys and girls with flash jewellery, couples who ate out at top-notch restaurants and went on fancy holidays – were generally very bad savers, terrible with money and ultimately had to work their ass off for decades to survive. On the other hand, a high proportion of the country’s millionaires were the quiet, unassuming folk who lived in modest houses and worked hard for an average salary, but could afford to retire in their 40s.
It’s a mindset. Once you’ve succumbed you’ll find it effortless to resist the frivolous temptations of consumerism and embrace the things that give you real value in life – and end up with a lot more money in your pocket without sacrificing a thing.
If you want a second recommendation, go and buy (or preferably borrow) a copy of “Your Money or Your Life” by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin.
Know your true worth
It can be a huge advantage to understand what you’re worth to companies. For example, the high street banks see you as a potential life-long customer, someone who will one day be earning a big salary, taking out mortgages with them, investing into an ISA, opening savings accounts for your children and so on. They don’t want to lose you. Play straight with them (eg, don’t abuse their credit facility) and they’ll be generous to you when you need it.
Similarly, retailers want to draw you into their brand from an early age. Barter for what you can get. If you have a local independent store you love, see if they’ll do a student discount for you. See if they’ll do you an even bigger discount if you distribute flyers for them among your student friends – it’s a very attractive and lucrative audience for many firms.