Budgeting tips and tools
For lots of great tips and advice, click FRED for an engaging look at student finances as a UCC student.
Here are some simple ideas to help you with your student finances
1. Put pen to paper
It's always a good idea to write down all of your sources of money and all the things you expect to have to fork out for.
Don't forget to include costs like transport alongside rent, food and books.
Being aware of how you spend your money can also show you where you could be saving, such as cutting down on coffees or making your own sandwiches for lunch.
Please download the Budgeting worksheet 2016/17 to help you plan your spending.
2. Organise your income
While expenses will crop up on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, your income may come in monthly installments. If you get a maintenance grant, for example, it will arrive into your bank account in monthly payments over the academic year. You need to manage this money and make it, along with other sources of income such as part time or summer work, “elastic”, ie make it stretch for as long as possible.
It can be a good idea to put the money to cover your rent or hall fees into a separate account that you don't touch on a day-to-day basis. That way you know how much you have left to spend for the rest of the term.
Divide up any money you have left so you know how much you have to spend each week.
Whether income is in the form of a loan, parental contribution, bursary or wages know where it's coming from before it arrives. Work out how it breaks down week-by-week or term-by-term.
Seek advice from support staff such as the UCC Budgetary Advisor in relation to managing your finances.
3. Maximise your income
Perhaps you can get a part time job. But you shouldn't work too hard, say the experts. Try to keep it to less than 12 hours a week in term time. Full-time work in the holidays can be tax free and good for your CV as well as your bank balance.
Make sure your CV is up to date and ready for employers - avail of the UCC Careers service to help you with this.
4. Get help
UCC has support staff to help you managing your finances - take advantage of them .
The advice is free and we can help you manage your money better. Ask about free student banking, interest rates and charges, and any student loans they offer.
Your Student Union welfare officer will also have seen it all before, and might be able to help with accessing college hardship funds.
5. Get a discount
Look out for deals, such as special offer haircuts and take advantage of “money off” vouchers, BOGOFs – buy one get one free offers - and student deals in restaurants, bars or at the cinema.
Use your UCC student ID card card to get money off at your favourite retailers.
Check out the International Student Identity Card (ISIC) to get great discounts and offers.
6. Learn to cook
Will this be you in College?
Beans on toast 24/7?
It doesn't have to be!
Use markets to buy cheap vegetables and fruit, buy own-brand labels in the big stores, buy a decent cookbook in the sale, or at a secondhand shop, and get staples like rice in bulk and you can eat well for €30 a week.
Even the Main will charge a couple of euro for something you can make yourself in a matter of minutes.
Make your own sandwiches, refill your water or juice bottle, nick your granny's flask and make your own tea / coffee for lunch.
7. Manage your debt
You will be offered student overdrafts, student credit cards and student store cards but think carefully before you accept any of them.
A low-interest overdraft can be a useful tool to help stretch the term's money, but watch the fees and the interest rate. A introductory offer of a 0% interest credit card can also be useful for paying off big-ticket items or short-term borrowing, but don't keep money on it for longer than the 0% offer lasts – you will then be hammered with interest!!!
If you don't have a 0% card, remember to include the card repayments in your monthly budget.
8. Keep tabs on your spending
Bank online, read your statements, look at receipts, save your coppers in a jar, compare prices in the supermarket and don't take out more than you need from the cash machine. It all helps you keep control of what you've got.
Keep a spending diary so as to keep tabs on what you spend your money on - you will be shocked at what you "waste" your money on
9. Don't smoke
Don’t smoke! Obviously, it is bad for your health and is very expensive.
A 20-a-day habit will cost you €10.00 per day, €70.00 per week, €280.00 per month and that’s whopping €3360.00 per year.
When you consider that currently the standard 100% maintenance rate is €3025, you need to ask yourself: can I really afford to smoke?
Cut back or ideally give up
Either way, it is better for your pocket and for your health
10. Car owners
Do you own your own car?
Can you afford it?
Consider the cost of tax, insurance, servicing costs, initial purchase cost, car loan repayments and of course, the rising price of fuel at the pump.
Yes, you may love your runaround but can you really afford it when you are a struggling student?
Budgeting Tools - Make your Money "Elastic"
Online Budgeting Tool
Excel Budgeting Sheet
Please click here for information podcasts regarding managing your finances
Information regarding student finances
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