Things to watch out for

Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) Lenders

It is so easy to spend money that you don’t have. ‘Buy now, Pay later’ (BNPL) lenders, such as Klarna, Clearpay, and Paypal, allow you to defer payment for purchases with instalment plans or pay later options.

Live within your means and make sure you’re putting money aside for emergencies

These services allow people who are in control of their budget to manage big payments for people. However, spending money using BNPL lenders is risky. You might think you can afford £10 a month for the next 3 months, but if you buy a number of things using these lenders the amount you owe can quickly add up. Many of these lenders also charge fees for late payments which has a negative impact on your credit score.

Contactless and mobile payments

Contactless and mobile payments can be great. They have made it even faster to buy products in shops and have reduced the amount of things you have to carry around with you.

When physical cash was the most common form of payment you would have to withdraw money from the machine or from the bank to purchase items. Often in doing this you would be reminded how much money is in your account which may help to prevent impulse purchases.

Contactless payment has made it easier for you to buy items without thinking about whether you can truly afford it.

We would strongly recommend that you transfer your weekly budget into your account each week and do not keep lots of money in your current account.

Be strict with your budget

We would also recommend you set up banking alerts to notify you when your balance drops below a certain amount, and also after making each purchase. This will just help to keep money and finances in the fore of your mind.

Investing money

Invest money to make money – sounds simple, right? Investing money sounds lucrative and there are lots of stories of people making money quick using these platforms. However, it is also extremely easy to lose a lot of money very quickly.

Only invest money that you can afford to lose

The world of digital currency (such as cyptocurrency) is unregulated, meaning there is no financial backing from regulatory bodies like the Financial Conduct Authority if anything goes wrong (like theft or fraud). Equally, since it’s not regulated it could be entirely banned in the UK tomorrow and there is no guarantee what would happen to your money.

Unlike a savings account, if you invest money into stocks and shares, or buy digital currency, your money is totally vulnerable to market fluctuation. Digital currency, as it is unregulated, also falls foul to market manipulation where investors artificially affect the price of the currency.

Digital currencies are also extremely hard to spend as few sellers will accept the currency as a payment. These currencies also have an extremely detrimental impact on our environment due to the mining process required to generate the currency.

Gambling

It is extremely tempting to bet money with the hope that you might make money. And, online gambling sites have made it even easier to gamble in secret.

Gambling can quickly become very addictive and get you into severe financial difficulty.

Reach out for support if you are struggling with gambling

  • Contact the local Northampton Office Outreach Citizens Advice Adviser on 07487 898 516 (available: 9am-4pm Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, 9am-12:30pm Wednesday) to book a telephone or email advice appointment. You can also provide your details for this appointment via the Contact Form on the Central & East Northamptonshire Citizens Advice (CENCA) website.
  • Read advice and support offered by the Citizens Advice Bureau
  • The University of Northampton have a dedicated Mental Health and Counselling Team who can support students. Further information about the services the Mental Health and Counselling Team provide can be found both on the University of Northampton website and on the Student Hub (enrolled students only).
  • Speak with someone via the GamCare website

Social media and FOMO

Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO) is extremely common and is perpetuated by the rise in social media. Social media has provided a window into a curated view of someone else’s life. Without social media, you’d likely have no idea this person existed, let alone be watching their holiday in Ibiza from your bedroom.

It is extremely easy to look at other people’s lives and become jealous. However, you’ve got to remember what is realistic for your circumstances and your budget.

Whilst another student may have just bought the latest pair of trainers, or can afford to buy lunch on campus, their priorities might be entirely different. For example, they may decide to buy £100 trainers and live off instant noodles for the rest of term.

If you can’t afford it, don’t do it

We acknowledge that it is often difficult to say no to friends, or turn down social opportunities, but you must make sure you don’t get yourself into financial difficulties as a result of FOMO.

The University of Northampton have a dedicated Mental Health and Counselling Team who can support students who are struggling with their mental wellbeing. Further information about the services the Mental Health and Counselling Team provide can be found both on the University of Northampton website and on the Student Hub (enrolled students only).