Your late teens and early twenties really can set you up for life. If you are going to uni, you are embarking on studying for your chosen career (probably). If you aren’t going to uni, you still are embarking on studying or the early stages of your career, and so it’s a really important time to be learning about “adulting” and life skills which can set you up for your future.
As part of the UK Money Bloggers community, I’ve reached out to my peers for their best money advice that they learnt whilst at university or whilst studying, and I’m going to share them with you here.
Joseph from Money Saving Superhero shared his top tip about books: “Buy second hand books. You might only use them once or twice and there will be students who have left your course who will no longer need theirs. No point in paying full price.”
Emma from Sunshine and Rain shared her top tip about managing your student loan: “Your student loan shouldn’t be spent on nights out, food and a £75 pair of jeans. 🙄 I had no budgeting skills at University and studied Architecture, which involved a lot printing expenses at the end of every semester. I’d blow my loan on unnecessary things and then have to get my Mum and Dad to help me pay for end of year exams. Thankfully I lived at home so I was never in a crisis financially, but I didn’t handle my money well at all. To this day I have never spent so much on a pair of jeans!”
Emma from Bee Money Savvy shared about discounts: “It’s always worth asking if there’s a discount. Tons of retailers offer student discounts but they don’t often shout about these discounts and they very rarely remind you at the till. It’s worth politely asking “do you offer student discount?” – it could save you 10% on your shopping (and you’ll be certain of whether they do offer a discount for next time). Carry on this lesson post-uni by remembering to always search for discount codes and cashback offers before you checkout.”
Laura from Frugal France also shared about looking for discounts: “Use the NUS card religiously – carry it all the time and ask to use it every time you buy something. When buying something online check for student discount, or tweet the support team on Twitter and ask for it directly.”
Pete from Household Money Saving shared his advice about overdrafts: “Overdrafts are a dangerous thing. I had a 0% overdraft of £2000 and used it to the max. A year after leaving, the bank started to charge interest. Unfortunately for me, living in my overdraft became normal. I wish I had never agreed to it, saving me a lot in charges later on.”
Colette from Cashback Colette echoed this: “Don’t max out your overdraft just because you can! I did this in my final year and had to spend the first year of my grad job paying it off.”
Clair from Thrifty Clair shared her advice: “Whatever you do, do not rack up debt thinking “I can pay this off when I get a good job after graduation”. Once I graduated and realised it wasn’t that simple, I faced the reality of spending six years paying off my student overdraft, credit card and store cards. What’s worse is I didn’t have anything to show for it because the money was spent on nights out, takeaways and clothes.”
Hayley from The Savvy Sloth shared about working and studying: “Working and studying is a tricky balance – I had to work to support myself while at uni, but working 2 jobs and trying to study meant my studies probably didn’t get as much attention as needed and I didn’t get to socialise as much, which is one of the great things about being at uni. In hindsight I probably could have managed on less than I earned – so part time jobs are great but find a good balance!”
Jennifer from Monethalia has some great tips: “Firstly, getting a part-time job can greatly help with the living costs, especially if you manage to get employed by the uni. Secondly, resell the textbooks from your previous year to new students as soon as you passed the year. Otherwise, they’ll soon be worthless.”
Katie from Student Skint shared some general money management advice: “My best advice would be learn to love what you have. Fashion and tech trends come and go, and whilst it’s nice to have the latest things, you don’t usually ‘need’ them so make do with what you’ve got and you’ll thank yourself later when you didn’t spend hundreds or thousands on keeping up with the Joneses. if you’re earning from a part time job, spend the money on things you won’t regret by the time you’re 21!”
Jeff from The Savvy Scientist shared about hobbies: “Taking opportunities to get involved with clubs and societies can be a great way to try out expensive hobbies for very little money. I just recently finished studying and while a student took the opportunity to learn to scuba dive plus tried out gliding and surfing. All of which were subsidised by the students’ union and would have been more expensive (and inconvenient) to start after graduating.”
Jo from Young Fun and Thrifty gave her advice on housing: “Housing is generally always your most controllable big expense so try to find ways to keep this cost low. While at uni this can mean only viewing properties that have 10 month contracts as opposed to 11 or 12 (and taking your belongings home over the summer). It can also mean negotiating a discount with your housemates to accept the box room. Beyond uni continuing to live in a houseshare can allow you to build up savings in order to one day afford a home of your own!”
Laura from Budgeting for Students shared about working during the holidays: “My best tip would be to work full time during the holidays if possible – it really helps to cover your living costs and might even mean you can say yes to going on holiday with your friends without going into more debt.”