We know that students have a lot on their plates – in between studying, social life and navigating adult life for the first time, it can be easy to write off your finances as something to worry about when you’re older.
Unfortunately, this can lead to problems that don’t simply dissolve after you graduate. Many students finish uni with a large overdraft that may take years to pay back, and some find that their student habits are difficult to break. If that all sounds familiar, then we would encourage you to spend a Sunday morning reviewing your finances and getting things in order. It may make you feel a lot better!
Get the right bank account
If you were using a student bank account while at university, then you may well have already been upgraded to a graduate account – but it’s important to check. Graduate accounts differ from regular accounts because they have a range of features designed to help ease the transition into post-uni life. In practice, this means an interest free overdraft which you will gradually start paying interest on over several years, providing a buffer for you to pay it off and making the search for work a little less desperate.
This is great news if you’ve got a hefty overdraft to shift, but what about people who are already overdraft free? Well, in that case you may want to consider switching away from your bank’s graduate account since it may not be the right deal for you. Instead, look at rewards accounts that give you money back for everyday things like paying bills. You might even get a sign-up bonus for switching.
Don’t stress about your student loan
It’s a fact that anybody graduating from uni these days does so with a pretty sizeable debt on there shoulders. However, it’s not the kind of debt that needs to keep you up at night. Student loan repayments are structured so that you only need to repay them when you’re earning a certain amount of money. They don’t count towards your credit rating, and in most cases it doesn’t make good financial sense to try and pay them back early. Money saving guru Martin Lewis suggests that it’s better to think of these payments as a graduate tax. Yes, they’ll affect your earnings by slicing a little off the top, but it’s unlikely to cause you real financial stress.
Take a crash course in budgeting
By which we mean, spend a couple of hours reading up on how to create and follow a budget. Moving away from uni. and starting your first proper job can be a culture shock, especially if you’re not living with family. You’ll need to understand how money is flowing in and out of your account, so that you can ensure your paycheck covers the necessary expenses. Budgeting properly is a great way to do this.
Take advantage of careers advice
Many universities offer their graduates opportunities to get careers advice – they want you to succeed, and it’s in their interest to ensure that you are well prepped for the working world. If you’re unsure of how you want to advance your career, some advice from a professional can be invaluable. They’ll help you to consider different industries and positions, look into the value of internships and consider the earning potential of different options.