Every year, as thousands of students flock to university, many retailers big and small start offering student discounts on their products.
As a student, this can be very exciting – who doesn’t want some money off?! 🤑 But sometimes the deal can be a double-edged sword, and it is important to not get carried away – and make sure you can afford them.
Student discounts: not as good as they might seem 🤔
There’s a good reason so many companies bring out new deals around the time students receive their student loan instalments – they know students are likely to spend more at these times! It might seem like they’re helping you out – but their generosity isn’t always as admirable as it might appear to be.
Companies carefully time the deals they put out for students to tap into their psychology. When you have a large amount of money in your bank account, spending £10 on something seems less significant than when you’re down to your last bit of cash. At the time it might seem like a small expense, but these can quickly add up – especially if you’re signing up for ongoing subscriptions.
One of the worst parts about spending on discounts is that we often don’t even end up using the service/product we spent the money on! 🤦 However, there are some great deals to catch and sometimes it is worthwhile to say yes to a student offer. The following 3 steps will help you decide if the student discount is right for you, and how to enjoy all the offers without getting into financial trouble.
Step 1: Cover your necessities
Before thinking about spending on things you want, a key first step has to be covering the expenses that you can’t get out of. Rent, utility bills and food are the main things when it comes to the essentials category – focusing your student discount research around these needs can be a good start. Plus, introducing a regular budgeting checkup to account for any changes to these expenses can spare you nasty surprises in the future
Don’t forget – you also need to make sure you’ve planned for necessary spending over the holidays! Most student housing comes with a 12-month contract, so you’ll have to pay the same amount of rent per month over the holidays as you would during term time. Setting some money aside when your loan drops in might be a good way to manage this.
Step 2: Ensure you’re making progress towards your financial goals
Once your essentials are sorted, the next consideration should be any financial goals you have. If you’re serious about reaching your savings or investment goals, it won’t be enough to just leave it to chance and hope you have enough money when the time comes – you’ll have to do some planning.
This doesn’t have to take very long or be very complicated. All you need to do is work out how much you want to save up and when you want to do this by. Then, work out how much money you need to save each month to reach this target.
Imagine you want to go on holiday to Greece in 9 months’ time (who doesn’t 🤷🌞) and you need to save £1,080 for that holiday – you’ll need to save £120 a month (£1,080 divided by 9) to make sure you reach that goal.
It’s also good to make sure you have some money put aside in case of an emergency. You never know what could happen and there’s likely to be a point when you need to pay for something unexpectedly. A good rough amount as a student is to set aside one month worth of expenses.
Achieving these two steps will set you up well for step 3 – the fun part. 😎
Step 3: Spend as you please! (but within reason!)
You’ve covered your necessities and made sure you’re meeting your savings & investment goals – now it’s time to enjoy yourself and make the most of all those student deals on offer! 🥳
Now that your finances are in a good place, there’s no need to worry about pinching every penny. The rest of your money can be used to do or buy things that make you, and the people you care about, happy.
You shouldn’t feel bad about spending on stuff you want and makes you happy. Spending on wants is only a problem when it infringes on your goals, gets you into debt or has other adverse effects on your life – for example, if it leads to a negative impact on your wellbeing.
Bonus: Try to increase your earnings
As an extra, if you find you don’t have enough money for all of the wants in your life, you might want to think about trying to increase your earnings.
There is only so much you can cut back your spending – but there’s no limit to how much you can increase the amount you earn!
It can be difficult to pick between what are wants and what are needs in life – especially when you’re presented with such a great range of irresistible student discounts – but hopefully, these steps can help you to enjoy the things you love while making sure your finances are in good shape.
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