How to Manage Student Debt

Being a student can be tough. Long days in the lecture hall, long nights in the library and weekends spent working in part time employment. On top of this, the cost of books, equipment and living expenses will likely leave you in debt. However, you can survive being a student by learning how to manage your finances effectively. Here are some ways to keep your finances in order while you are a student.

Plan your Expenditure

It might sound ridiculous, but the best way to manage your money is to find out exactly what you spend and exactly how much you have coming in. This way you can find out if you really need to borrow any money to help with your expenditure. Books, equipment, food, travel and living expenses all cost money so find out how much you need per month to cover these things. You can save money if you bargain shop for food and limit the number of nights out you have a month. Everyone needs a break, but excessive spending will leave you in more debt. Try to look for second hand books instead of the brand new ones. Often people sell them around campus and on book selling websites for students so shop around. Draw up a spreadsheet to manage your monthly outgoings and you can see at a glance if you need to borrow.

Student credit cards

If you do need to borrow after you have managed your money as best you can, consider a student credit card. Mastercard and American Express are just two examples of companies which offer reward credit cards. These include lots of benefits including travel insurance and even free movies! Some, like the MBNA rewards card, offer points where, for every $1 you spend, you will receive a point. Ratesupermarket are very good for finding the best credit cards for your situation as they offer a credit card compare service.
You should also check out which credit card offer points and rewards. For example with MBNA rewards card you will also receive 1000 points for every year you own the card. The points can be used for a reward, which can be cashback, travel, gift cards and more. Be sure to pay your balance on time and remember to put your card expenditure down on your budget plan.

Start a savings account

If your parents dealt with loan applications and general financial activities before you started school, you might want to get all the details of these so that you are prepared for the bills you will receive when you graduate. A good idea is to put any spare cash into a savings account which you can use to start paying off the loans and the interest when you finish school. You can also work more hours in the summer and vacation periods and put some of this money away for future repayments.

If you manage your money effectively while you are attending college, you will find yourself in a better, more stable financial situation when you graduate. Think of it as another learning curve; you will be able to manage your money and budget more effectively when you finally gain employment and get out into the real world. For now, keep control of your finances well and you will be off to a good start when you do leave college/university.

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My parents filled out all the financial aid forms for me before I started school – when I assumed control of all the accounts, I forgot to ask for the passwords! You should have heard me trying to convince the lenders that the accounts were my own! (Who would want to take over somebody else’s student loans??)

11 years ago

Oh wow… I can’t even imagine how ridiculous that must have been!

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