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Heading off to college? Here are 5 tips to help keep your finances in check

Heading off to college? Here are 5 tips to help keep your finances in check

This new freedom does mean that you’re more responsible for your finances than you have been in the past. These tips should help students!

After making your way through secondary school and all the fun times that come with it, finally making it to college is an exciting time indeed. Between making new friends and experiencing more freedom than you’ve ever had in your young life, it’s pretty easy to see why that is the case. 

The thing is, all that freedom does also mean you’re more responsible for your finances than you have been in the past. That doesn’t mean you have to lose the run of them though, as putting in a little bit of extra effort can go a long way when it comes to protecting the piggy bank. 

To find out more ways to take control of your savings and make the most of student life, visit the Bank of Ireland website here

1. Play your cards right 

If you are a student, you had better be making use of your student card at any given opportunity. Be sure to check (and double check) where it is applicable, as it’s a great way to get you discounts on everything from public transport and restaurants to online shops and streaming platforms. 

Certain college clubs and societies offer further discounts, so it’s worth keeping an eye out for that as well. After all, you might as well make the most out of any discounts you can! 

2. Go the green route 

It’s easy to fall into the thinking that becoming sustainable is all about making sacrifices and cutbacks. That is a pretty outdated way of looking at it however, as thinking sustainably goes hand-in-hand with managing your finances. 

Little changes like waste reduction, opting for pre-loved clothes and using a bike instead of a bus are all positive actions to take in the name of sustainability. More relevant to your student finances however is the fact that they will also save you a lovely bit of cash. 

New ways to become more sustainable are being created everyday, often in the most surprising places. If you set up a 3rd Level account with Bank of Ireland (a process that only takes a few minutes), you will be receive a BioSource card made from 84% corn starch. 

3. Make a budget 

There is no secret formula for the right student budget; it changes completely based on everything from where you live to what kind of lifestyle you live. Rather than pulling a figure out of thin air that you try to blindly stick to, spend a week or two of normal college life taking note of how much you are spending on different things such as groceries, bills and socialising. 

Paying this little bit of extra attention to your outgoings will not only give you a clearer idea of how much you’re spending, but it’ll become a bit clearer where you can cut down as well. It could be something as simple as realising that a weekly trip in a supermarket would work out cheaper than daily trips to a shop, but can make a big difference in the long run. 

4. Talk about it 

On a serious note here; it can feel quite scary when you are worried about getting by financially and it can have an impact on your studies as well as overall enjoyment of college life. It should be one of the most memorable periods of your life filled with happy memories, so tackling anything that gets in the way of that should be top of the priority list. 

Let friends and family members know what is on your mind, and try to be as honest as possible. You would be surprised how many others have felt the same in the past (and could still), and it’s no cliché to say that a problem shared is a problem halved. 

A fantastic way for you to anonymously share your feelings via text, 50808 is free on all major networks (Vodafone, Eir, Three, Gomo, Tesco & Virgin). It’s open 24/7 and operated by volunteers who put your privacy first, creating a safe space for you to talk about anything that’s on your mind. 

5. Claim what you can 

In all the excitement of getting ready for college, it can be easy to assume that someone is going to tell you exactly what you need to do. Unless you’re lucky enough to have someone who can fill you in on all the grants and supports you’re entitled to, there’s always the chance that you’re not taking advantage of everything you could be. 

For example, students that meet a certain criteria can claim tax relief at the standard rate of tax (20%) on tuition fees that weren’t covered by grants, scholarships or other financial supports. This is another tool at your disposal that can ease a great deal of pressure off your finances, and you can find out more about it in your local Revenue office. 

Apply for your Bank of Ireland student account in 6 minutes and get a biosource visa debit card #friendlyfinance. 

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Ireland