Seven steps to take if you’re worried about money

We hope you are enjoying your studies at the University of Northampton, but we know that many students have problems managing their money, especially at the Autumn mid-term point – which if not resolved can negatively affect both your ability to get the most out of your course and student life in general.

The next Maintenance loan payment is not due to hit bank accounts until early January, so if you’re currently feeling a little short or wondering how to stretch your finances over the next two months, here are seven steps you can take now:

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Top 5 bad money habits to break

It’s very easy to fall into bad habits. You may have the best of intentions, but if you’re having a bad day, or your friends suggest an impromptu night out or trip to the shops, you could make a spending mistake – or three – which can make you run out of cash earlier than you thought.

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Are you working this summer?

Getting a summer job is always a great idea – it will give structure to those long, hot days, you’ll gain useful work experience, and best of all, you’ll earn money to spend now (although we would recommend that you save some for next year too). If you are receiving wages, we have some information about tax below which you might find useful. But whether you are working or not, it’s still a good time to investigate ways to increase your income and reduce your spending so you’re ready for the start of term.

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New term – new budget

It’s the summer term and with this comes your final instalment of funding for this academic year. You now need to stretch your money for this term and possibly also the summer too. It’s not as scary as it sounds – see below for our guide to keeping on top of your finances for the final term and beyond.

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Money dangers – good and bad credit

As a student, you might be offered opportunities to borrow money – this is known as credit. Access to credit can be both positive and negative. Although it’s advisable to try to live within your means whenever possible, sometimes emergencies happen and in these circumstances, credit will be very helpful. Applying for credit can also help improve your credit rating in the future. However, you must remember that credit is not ‘free money’ – it always needs to be paid back – and if you splurge on credit, it can end up costing you a huge amount in interest and charges.

Here are some common credit options – some are okay (providing you don’t go overboard with your spending), and some are best avoided.

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How to spend a student loan (part 2)

Our How to spend a student loan- part 1 post looked at typical costs of rent and utility bills; in ‘part 2’ we’ll now consider course costs, mobile phones/ broadband, and travel.

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Money dangers – The lure of contactless

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Paying using a contactless card is so easy: as no PIN is needed, you just waive or tap your card or your phone when you get to the check-out and you’re done. If you regularly pay this way, you are not alone – it is reported that one-in-five card payments are now contactless. Shops, pubs and cafes love this as it speeds up the queues. So why can this be considered as a ‘money danger’? Continue reading “Money dangers – The lure of contactless”