Personal finance sounds scary. Especially if you have a limited understanding. It’s difficult to know where to start, which adds to the anxiety. A solid knowledge of personal finance should be a fundamental skill taught in school. But it’s not. Which means it’s up to each one of us to self-study. This blog will help you gain basic knowledge you should know as a young adult and use for life.
Present in Flux
As student debt rises, salaries stagnate, the cost of living increases, and most jobs are temporary (changing jobs every few years is the norm according to a BBC article) it’s easy to see why it is so difficult to plan for the future. If your present is in total flux, why even take a minute to think of 5, 10 or 50 years from now?
Student Loans Pressures?
First things first: let’s discuss student loans. Yes, it may take a financial toll, but this does not mean it is not worth getting a higher education. If you or your family cannot afford the fees, do not panic! Most students planning to go to university can borrow money to pay for their fees and livings costs. Research tuition fee loans, maintenance loans and advance learner loans to find out how you qualify or what is best for you. Likely, you already know about loans and are in university already by the time you read this. So maybe what you need to know more about is bursaries and scholarships, which you can apply to based on your academic abilities, family income, or both. Bursaries and scholarships can be a great start to ensuring a financially less stressful adult life! Realise their power and apply. Check out this pdf for more information on what to consider when looking into bursaries and scholarships.
Budget yourself ASAP
Your next step is getting a good grasp of student budgeting. Knowing where your money goes and how much you use and receive each month is crucial and is a bit like changing your diet. What I mean is that initially it may seem very difficult to adjust to how much you can use based on what you receive. Just like a diet, once you get into the habit, managing your finances will begin to come to you naturally. Use a budget planner, like the one below, found in the Complete Guide to Student Finance!
Get a good part time job!
Your first job will help you a lot with your finances. It’s really important that we work and get paid a little even when we have full time studies. This is not a must but having a job teaches us financial responsibility, reliability to others and ourselves and teaches us how to interact with professionals and even handle money for a shop or institution. This experience is invaluable in helping you lower your financial concerns.
Know your living expenses.
Many of your costs will be the same you had as a student, but will also include a few additional ones. Your costs will likely include: student loans, accommodation costs, utilities, internet/cable bills, cell phone bills, groceries, dry cleaning, dining out, miscellaneous (gifts, personal, etc.), transportation, entertainment (Spotify, Netflix, cinema, concerts, clubs, etc.), sports, holidays, clothing, hairdresser/barber, emergency funds (important to not be running too close to low in case you suddenly need some money to cover a vital cost such as repairing your computer or smart phone), retirement and savings. This list will cover all your expenses and will give you a clear idea of what you spend each month. Then know your annual gross income and how much will be left after taxes are taken out. If you are savvy with Excel, it may be the best way for you to keep track of your income and expenses.
Savings will save you!
In your financial budget, mentioned above, make sure to set a percentage of money aside each week or month, even if that’s just £10. Savings comes to save you when you want to reward yourself for something fantastic you achieved (like saving money!) or when you need emergency cash for an unplanned expenses (like a broken phone or new rain-boots)! I know retirement seems like a long time away but if you get a job and your company can match your retirement saving, go for it! Just keep in mind that the earlier you start the better.
Invest your money in skills with return
Spending money on skills that will benefit you in the long run are invaluable! This is something school and university does not directly teach us! Think about why you are investing so much money into your education and living costs. The skills have valuable returns both in money and in quality in the future. So it would make sense that you spend a saved portion of your finances on skills building outside of university too! For example, spending some money on learning a new language, getting a personal tutor in important courses to get that important A needed for your career, or a crash course in accounting or financial management will eventually lead you to greater life success. From getting a great job, to increasing your chances of a promotion, enhancing your knowledge and abilities will give you amazing payoffs. You will also become a more well-rounded human being and more employable and with better networks. Most of us are prone to think short term and do not recognise the value of spending on skills while in university, we just think getting through university is enough!
Delay your gratification! It’s good for you.
Last but not least, remember that delayed gratification is key. From relationships to career satisfaction, delayed gratification is the secret to success. Financial success is no exception. Delayed gratification will help you keep your finances in order, and allow you to make sure you spend your money on was is essential and wait for what you want but may not need. This is likely a skill that was hopefully taught to you by your parents. But we find this article, Delayed Gratification: A Scientific Perspective on Self-Control really helpful as it highlights 3 strategies to enhance your self-control and wait for good things to come! In summary, setting goals for yourself and working towards them are fundamental in getting what we want out of life.
Remember, you don’t need to have a specialised background in finance to become an expert at managing your finances and lowering your stress. If you go through the steps laid out in this blog, you will set yourself up for a secure and prosperous adulthood, no matter what financial or academic background you come from!
Need a little extra help to master your finances or coursework? Contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org or 02030867311 to set up your free consultation and get matched with a tutor who will help you achieve your goals.