This article was written by an external contributor. Alice Barnett steers us through life without the safety net of an overdraft.
Getting an overdraft seems to be a ritual amongst first year university students – it’s essentially free money isn’t it? Unfortunately, it results in many students being in debt as, yes you do have to pay it all back! But don’t fret, we’ve got some great advice on how to cope without an overdraft and how to stay debt-free whilst studying.
How many times have we all heard this one? Plenty of times, but it is true that it is important to save those pennies! Figure out how much you can realistically afford and give yourself a weekly budget.
Whether this is a weekly budget just for your food shop or a budget on the entire amount you can spend in the week, any kind of budget is a good budget. You might not be able to stick to it every week (we’re only human), but it is a great way not to waste money and keep track on what you are spending.
‘I got bills, I gotta pay’
Whether you get a monthly bill or you have a top-up card for electricity and gas, bills can easily make a dent in your pocket. The best advice for saving money on your bills is making sure you are not unnecessarily using electricity when you don’t have to be.
Making sure you turn lights off when you leave a room or unplug your phone charger when you leave the house are great and effective ways of saving money. During the winter months, of course you will want to put the heating on, but if it is on 24/7 then this will add up! During the day think about sitting in a warm café or use the heating in your university’s library rather than staying at home and putting the heating on.
Skip the bus and walk
Public transport is not cheap at the best of times. Sometimes it’s unavoidable, but quite often if you manage your time and leave the house that extra bit earlier in the morning, you can take the FREE and healthier option of walking! Not only is walking beneficial to your health, it also means you don’t waste money by being lazy.
Start making your own lunch
As much as we all love eating out and getting a bargain £3 Meal Deal, just calculate how much this costs across the course of a week. It’s actually £21, (Yes, you might need to sit down.)
Not only could that £21 get you a round in the local pub, but it’s also an unnecessary waste when you can prepare your own lunch at home for a fraction of the price. When you’re buying your weekly shop, make sure to grab a variety of exciting items that you can take with you to work or university, which will make you look forward to eating your packed lunch and not suffer from food envy.
Loyalty cards are your best friend
Meet your new best friend: a supermarket loyalty card! As Tesco says, Every little counts, and this is true when it comes to saving! Wherever you do your ‘big’ shop, whether it’s Tesco or Sainsbury’s, it is worth investing in a loyalty card. The points you accumulate can be exchanged for food, and the loyalty card allows you to receive the best in-store offers.
Overall, there are lots of little things you can do that will add up and help you save on unnecessary spending. Whether it’s preparing your own lunch or having a weekly budget, choose whatever works for you, and try your best to stick to it to remain overdraft free.