Every student knows just how expensive going to university can be. The fees are one thing, and if you are studying in the UK, you should be aware that the government recently raised the maximum amount once again. It went from £3000 to £9000 in 2010 in spite of Liberal Democrat promises to the contrary, but about a month ago, the current Conservative government raised the price to £9250. Not only does this affect current students (which is unfair since retroactively changing the stipulations of loan contracts is rather unscrupulous) but it has been instituted by a government whose mandate is rather questionable. In any case, on top of fees, you have to pay rent for a place to live as well as needing money for things like food and transport. There is then the books that you’ll be expected to buy and that is just the fundamentals. While students are not known for being as financially responsible as they could be, being able to manage your money is an important skill that you quickly need to learn when you move away for the first time. There will always be expenses, but if you are good at saving money, they will not seem as great as they might otherwise. Here are a few things that you can do to make your finances as healthy as possible:
- First, you need to decide exactly what sort of university experience that you want. Enrolling in a traditional university can be expensive. Online bachelor degrees are a great alternative. The secret of higher education is that you get as much out of it as you put into it. Someone who works tirelessly at a more modest university is likely to outperform someone who did only as much as they needed to at Oxford or Cambridge for instance.
- Secondly, getting a job is a rather obvious way to make money, but the problem is that when you are studying full-time, it is impossible to take on a full-time job. Having a part time job is good but if it is something like waiting tables, you may quickly find that you are too tired when you get home to do any studying. The best option is to find something like tutoring. You can use the skills that you have, that you use every day. Besides, there are few jobs that offer the same satisfaction as the moment when you see your student has understood a difficult concept with which they’ve been struggling for a while. It is flexible too (check out sites like Tutora) and you can do it online if you want as well.
- Another great way to make some extra money is to sell your textbooks. When you move up to the next year, you’ll need new books and they’ll be hundreds of people trying to find yours at a reduced price. It is easy.
- There are other weekend jobs that you can do even if you don’t have much experience, like mystery shopping or walking dogs.
If you are finding that you are struggling financially, you should talk to an advisor (there will likely be one at your student union). Taking on credit cards to cover your debts is a short term solution that you will only exacerbate the problem in the long run