The end of term is fast approaching and after two months of keeping the fridge stocked, paying bills and of course the numerous nights out eating away at your bank balance, the pennies may be running low. If this is the case, you may find yourself in need of some money saving and making strategies pronto.
Here are some of Platform’s top tips to help you with your money matters:
* Plan Ahead- By planning your meals ahead of time you can control how much you spend on food each week, as well as avoid the temptation of forking out for a takeaway when it appears you have nothing in for dinner. Buying ‘own-brand’ food may also make a significant difference to the price of your food shop.
Planning a budget doesn’t mean you have to deprive yourself of going out and having fun, just take a set amount of money out and stick to it, taking a bankcard with you will only end in disaster.
* Slash those bills- By making a couple of simple changes, you and your housemates could see a cut in the amount you spend on bills in no time. It may sound obvious, but by turning off any lights and other appliances when they are not being used, you could reduce your electricity costs considerably, making this an essential habit for students to follow in order to preserve the pennies.
Limiting the amount you use the heating may also help to save on the bills. Next time you feel the chill and find yourself heading in the direction of the thermostat, layer up instead and lower the costs.
* Walking > Public Transport- Some days it is just so tempting to jump on a tram or a bus to save yourself from a chilly walk home; however, if this becomes a regular occurrence you could find yourself accumulating additional expenses which could have been avoided.
* Get that deposit back- For those of you living in rented accommodation, it is very likely you were required to cough up a hefty security deposit when you signed the contract for your home. Thankfully, you should be able to reclaim this at the end of your tenancy, granted you are honest with your landlord and leave it in a good condition. Reporting any damage as it occurs may help to avoid any disputes when you move out. Offering a realistic cost to repair the damage is definitely worth it when it avoids being charged double what it’s worth when you are caught out -which it is likely that you will be.
Cleaning the house thoroughly before you move out will also help to ensure that you reclaim your deposit in full. At risk of sounding like your mother- that doesn’t mean a quick run around with the hoover. Clean the bathroom properly and even clean the oven. It will be worth it in the long run.
* Sell your old stuff- Have a rummage around your bedroom for things you no longer want and you may be surprised to find that you’re sitting on a potential gold mine. Websites such as eBay and Amazon are great for selling unwanted belongings, varying from clothing to CDs and DVD’s.
Selling old textbooks can also help to reclaim some of that money you had to surrender for your course. You can put your books up for sale on www.sellstudentstuff.com.
* Turn a hobby into a business- If you have a hobby that you enjoy and are pretty good at , then why not make some money from it? If you’re into art, you may find that you can sell some of your pieces at a crafts fair or even online. Whereas if you’re a musician, offering lessons to others may be a promising money maker.
* Get a part-time job- This may sound like an obvious one, but getting a part time job is the only way you can guarantee that you will earn some money. Businesses such as restaurants, bars or shops in the city, may be able to offer you part-time hours which are flexible around your university timetable.
There will be a free ‘Money Matters’ workshop at the city campus on the 12th of March, which will give further advice on how to budget. If this is of interest to you, information about the workshop can be found on www.trentstudents.org/events.