It’s that time of year again – the air is turning crisp and pencils are being sharpened. Back to school. Many will be starting off a new chapter at university. While juggling the demands of course work and lectures with parties, Fortnite, and beer, who has time to think about finances?
But if there is something worse than getting your card declined at the late night take-away, it’s having to ring up mum or dad asking for a loan. So here are some ways to approach the new academic year to set yourself up for a semester of financial wellbeing.
- Don’t be an ostrich. It can be tempting to live in ignorant bliss when the alternative is to face up to grim news of a bank balance approaching zero. So tempting that it even has a name in behavioural science: the ostrich effect. But a few moments of blissful ignorance is likely not worth the eventual pain of having your card declined, overdraft fees, or penalties for bounced payments. It is important to pay attention to your money so that you can make ends meet day to day, have something set aside for an emergency, and even begin to plant the financial seeds for a longer-term goal.
- Agree terms. Living with flatmates? This might be the first time you will have to manage money for yourself, let alone for a shared household. Ensure you set up the terms of the household budget together and agree them. Under whose name will the bills be? Will you split each bill? Which accounts will be shared and which will be personal? Setting the rules of engagement together upfront can help prevent mis-matched expectations or differences in opinion at an inopportune time down the line, say when everyone is skint and there’s no loo roll left.