I often find that money burns a hole in my pocket. When I checked my balance after my loan came through and I had over a thousand pounds I immediately wanted to purchase a luxury pet such as a pelican, a slow loris or perhaps one of those cats with squashed faces. For most undergraduate students their loan is the largest amount of money they have ever had access to. I imagine that, like me, the temptation to spend it on things they have always wanted is all too great. On top of this the banks don’t exactly encourage responsible spending. With the ridiculous overdraft offers on the student accounts luring students into debt, I decided to stay with my normal saving account to avoid temptation.
However, the bank had created another way for me to be irresponsible with my money. I had been planning on creating a standing order, which would allow me to live on a set amount of money each week, but apparently I was not deemed worthy of this option as I had ‘the wrong account’. Now I have to log on to digital banking every week and manually transfer my funds. Every time I do this I contemplate for a while and then transfer how much money I think I’m likely to spend in the week, instead of living on a stricy weekly budget like I originally planned.
On the surface this doesn’t really sound like much of a problem but if you don’t budget you could fall into some expensive habits. Whether its buying expensive brands of food, regular nights out or a crippling crack addiction you’ll find that your spending more money than you realise. If you don’t realise or you fail to address your overspending you’ll eventually find yourself surviving off your house/flatmates left over and out of date meals, wallowing in your own self-pity, reduced to performing degrading acts in the high street for small change. Your life will get gradually worse until the next payment of your loan. At this point some will realise the error of their ways, others will go out and buy the cat with the squashed face and the vicious cycle will continue.
At university we’re lucky that we can make these mistakes and not end up having to wash our clothes in public toilets – providing you only make the mistakes once. As well as getting a degree we’re also lerning how to look after ourselves. Your student loan will probably be the best loan you get in your entire life, you pay no interest and you don’t have to start paying it back until your earning over £15,000, and even then you pay it back gradually. Make the most of it, go out and treat yourself with it, but just remember to make sure you have enough to survive on.