student

Should students consider applying for a current account?

For many university students, this will be the first time in their lives that they need to take control of their finances, budget properly and make sure that things are paid on time. A current account is essential for tracking your money and taking proper control of where it is and where it’s going.

There are many specialist student current accounts available, and these can have many advantages. Some offer benefits on joining, such as reduced phone or travel insurance, and nearly all offer an interest free overdraft throughout your time as a student at university (and often for a period of time after you have graduated).

Current AccountThe overdraft can be particularly useful for a student, as often loan payments are made three times a year. This means that until budgeting has been properly mastered, and as books and other materials often need to be purchased in bulk at the beginning of each term, there is the planned overdraft to fall back on without the stress and worry of racking up hefty fees and charges. In a time where the main focus is on study, exams and getting coursework handed in on time, money worries are just too much extra, unnecessary stress. Many worry about the access to the interest free overdraft and that it will get them into debt, but if this is a serious concern for you, it is a good idea to ask your bank to set it at a minimal amount to be used for emergencies only.

A current account will also be essential for bill payments (especially if living in a shared house rather than halls of residence) such as electric, gas, water, mobile phone, TV licence etc., as a lot of companies require you to pay by direct debit. Current accounts can definitely make things easier to manage, as with online banking you can see all of your regular payments in one place.

If you are going to be working part time during your time at university, a bank account is usually the preferred method of payment by employers (although other methods are available, albeit not commonly used). Similarly, if your parents or other family members wish to help you out financially at any point during the term, a current account is incredibly useful for making sure the money gets to you as quickly, safely and conveniently as possible. Transferring money between accounts in the same country is readily available through online banking with little hassle.

Current accounts allow you to access your money much more easily, especially with online banking, which allows you to keep track of your expenditures and see exactly how much you have left at any given time. As previously mentioned, it is easy with online banking to make transfers into other accounts (your own, or those of others if you need to) and you can feel safe in the knowledge that ATMs are widely available if you need the physical cash in your wallet.

In summary, yes, students should definitely consider applying for available current accounts packages, as there are so many advantages to having one.

 


Student Advice – Budgeting & Money Saving

Money Saving TipsThe first few days at college or university are pretty exciting, you get registered, find your home for the next year, bid your parents farewell and you are finally on your own and ready to start a big adventure.

For most students though, this will be the first time they have lived on their own and had to fend for themselves. Cooking and washing often come as a shock, but perhaps the biggest challenge is learning to manage money effectively.

If this is something you are worried about, it is important to plan early.
Here’s how to make sure you don’t run out of money!

What Can You Afford?

The good news is that predicting your cashflow for the next 3 years should be pretty simple. You need to start by figuring out exactly what you have coming in. You can add up what you expect to get from student loans, jobs etc…

Now factor in your living costs and tuition. Your tuition fees are probably set at a certain amount per year, so you can take off that amount easily enough. You should also know what you will be paying in rent (and you can estimate bills if necessary); so take off that amount too.

It is easiest to work with your total income over a year and take off your costs. Then just divide that number by the number of weeks in a year (use 52 unless you intend to work over the summer) to find out what you actually have to live-off each week.

Track Your Spending

Once you know what you can afford to spend in a week, start tracking what you actually spend. This may seem like a pain, but it will help you to keep on top of your finances.

Make a note of everything you spend (except for rent and tuition) and each week work out your total outgoings. You can average your spending over a few weeks and you should easily be able to see whether you are sticking to your budget.

If your spending is regularly going over what you can afford, you obviously need to be more careful (or find some additional income).

Learn To Say No

Some of your friends will seem to have more money than you (and some will just not realise how little they have). In the first few weeks especially, it can be tempting to go out all the time, but that is a sure way to over-spend.

It is important to say no when you can’t afford to go out. Or better yet, suggest staying in and everyone cooking together, followed by drinks and games.

Living in student accommodation can be a lot of fun without the need to go out and spend money and if you are careful you can have a lot of fun on a tight budget.

Running Out Of Money

If you keep a budget, you should be able to tell right away that you are going to be short by the end of term, and if that is the case, take action right away.

You could consider moving to a different (cheaper) accommodation if that is an option. Otherwise though you will either need to spend less money or earn more.

One option is to apply for an overdraft to tide you over, and then you can get a summer job to pay it off and hopefully save some extra money ready for the following year. Alternatively; in your first year especially; there is no reason not to get a part-time job to supplement your loan..

This post was contributed by Rick Peterson who writes for a private tutoring website called Uk Tutors. Rick is a mathematician and a lover of science and education.

Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/44549151@N03/4794592887/


Tips on Building Your Credit Rating in College

Credit Rating in CollegeWhether you have just entered college or if you’re already enrolled and you’re seeking ways to secure your financial future, building your credit rating can help in many areas of life. When you’re in college, building your credit rating is possible regardless of your age with the proper support and the right opportunity. Before you begin to build your credit rating, it is important to determine your own personal goals for your financial future and your capabilities on affording your credit card bills each month once you’re approved.

Before Building Your Credit Rating in College

Review the budget you have available to spend each month based on your income, current bills, and tuition costs. Before you apply for a credit card, determine why you want the card and how much you plan to spend personally each month to help building your credit score.

By spending money using the credit card each month and paying the bill on time without any delay, your credit rating will improve regardless of what you’re using the card for when making a purchase. You should also plan on using your credit card for payments you already make such as paying your phone bill. So, you should create a plan on what things you’ll use your credit card for and what things you won’t.

It’s also ideal for you to get a steady source of income through employment as this would heavily benefit your credit card application. Even when going for the lowest credit limit, they could still deny you if you don’t have a source of income.

The Benefits of Building Your Credit Rating in College

Building your credit rating and overall score in college can help assist you if you want to take out a loan for a vehicle, home, or even a personal business investment once you have graduated. Having a higher credit rating means you’re also capable of being approved for loans that have lower interest rates, ultimately saving you more money as long as you’re capable of paying all of your bills on time. Investing in a home or launching a business is entirely possible if your credit rating is high enough by the time you graduate or receive your degree from college.

In addition, it can also theoretically be useful when applying for positions that conduct background and credit checks on potential employees.

Find a Student Credit Card

Applying for a credit card for students is often possible as long as you can provide proof that you’re a student. If you can provide proof of your income as well, searching for a student credit card is simple and does not require the signature of a parent or another guardian to have the card approved as long as you are over 18. Student credit card offers may be available on a college campus you’re attending as well, so make sure to inquire with your college. You can also visit a local bank or compare various types of student credit cards that are available to you right from home online.

Ask Your Parents to Co-Sign for a Credit Card

If you’re unable to sign for your own credit card, you have the ability to ask your parents to help by co-signing for the card with your name on it. Your parents must, of course, trust you to pay off the credit card bill each month before co-signing for the card, as the responsibility of the bill will be theirs if you’re unable or unwilling to pay for the charges yourself.

If you’ve shown financial responsibility while you were in high school, this shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

Use a Secured Credit Card

It is also possible to apply for a “secured credit card” if you’re not qualified for a traditional card and if you do not have relatives who will help to co-sign for a card in your name. A secured credit card is an option that allows you to invest a specific amount of money into an individual savings account in exchange for the card itself. By depositing a trusted amount of money, you’re able to use the card to help with improving your credit rating. A secured credit card can be applied for by using trusted banks and institutions online as well as by applying for the card in person at a local banking branch.

Comparing Credit Card Offers Online

Searching for the ideal credit card with the lowest interest rate for students is possible by browsing online to compare the available options. Looking for a credit card that is right for you online is a way to read and review all card terms and conditions while also comparing interest rates and credit limits, based on your qualifications, age and whether being a student gives you an advantage. Comparing credit cards online is ideal and can also save time regardless of the type of card you’re interested in and your purpose for applying for one.

Using Your Credit Card Responsibly Once you’re Approved

Once you have been approved for a credit card (co-signed or to you individually), it is essential to be responsible at all times regardless of how much the card is used. Any time you spend money on your credit card, be sure to pay the monthly bill in a timely manner. When you avoid paying your credit card bill on time, it may negatively impact your credit score and rating, causing it to drop. Ensuring you pay the bill on time every time will also help you boost your credit rating instead. Using the card for items you need to purchase is highly recommended, as it will allow you to stay within your budget so you’re never incapable of paying off your credit card bills.

This article was written by Donald Turner on behalf of Kanetix. When searching for a credit card, make sure to consider checking out Kanetix and see how they can help you find the right credit card.


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