Students today live out their study days in the knowledge of its costs.
According to Intelligent Environments, three quarters of university students feel stressed about the debt they accumulate while studying – paying these debts back is a concern!
The stress can mount quickly as rental payments and interest, as well as the rising cost of basics, start to mount. Surveyed students revealed that this source of stress can be detrimental to their relationships, exam results and interfere with their ability to afford basics, like food. It’s a tough world, and debt is no joke.
If debt is on your mind and you’re looking for ways to cope better and get on top of it, follow these tips.
If your bank has an app, use it
Not every bank uses the most up to date technologies, but if your bank has a way to help you track your income and expenditure form the convenience of your pocket, use it! Before you get caught in overdraft, make sure you know where you’re at in your spending cycle. If you can have visibility of your account, it’s a great way to make sure you are conscious of your budget and where your money is going.
It doesn’t sound very sexy, but it’s important to take stock of where you’re at if you’re in debt or afraid of losing control over your finances. This means determining your monthly payments, including any debt repayments, and factoring in all sources of income and expenditure – putting together a rudimentary budget, in essence. For a detailed budgeting start, check out this guide to budgeting from the Money Advice Service. Doing this, you can more easily see what needs to be prioritised.
The basic rules here are that if you have any personal loans that attract high interest, for instance, these are way more important to address first, before your government loans (which are more flexible).
However, it depends on what your long-term debt reduction goals are. Are you hoping to have one card or debt eliminated ASAP? Then target the lowest balance first. Are you hoping to eliminate interest repayments? Then focus on the highest interest rate debt first. This is what we mean by snowballing your debts.
Or, are you trying to boost your credit score? Focus on credit cards with the highest utilisation – your score is affected by using more than 20% of your available balance. So, if you can reduce the utilisation to 20% of the total balance, you will significantly increase your score. It’s all about selecting what priorities work best for you.
Consolidate your debts
If you have a few sources of debt, consider consolidating. This is particularly used for credit card debt. But be careful: transfer deals are often temporary and you should only do this if you can pay off the highest debts you have on your credit card within the low interest transfer period. If the card reverts to a higher standard interest rate, you may end up adding to your debt. Exercise caution.
Eliminate debt sources
This means getting rid of any temptations! This particularly applies to eliminating reliance on credit cards. Read about going cash-only on Business Insider.
Have a side gig
Whatever you can do to scurry away some cash will help alleviate some stress! There are lots of ways to earn some extra money on the side of a “proper” job, to make those repayments easier (or alongside your studies, if you don’t have time for more permanent work). Student Money Saver has a guide to extra ways to make money.
Remember to treat yourself
Okay, debt is a pain. But don’t forget that you can still do fun things – that are often free. Book outings with Groupon, for instance, and make sure your life isn’t centred around your debt repayments. Relieve stress by keeping active, social, healthy and having fun!
All in all, debt is something that can be intimidating – but is also something you can manage. Remember to exercise balance in all things, and leave yourself the space to keep living your life and enjoying your student days.