Tag Archive | "Personal Finance"

Student Bank Accounts

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Believe it or not, but choosing the right bank just before you set off to uni is quite a large decision, it’s likely to stay with you for the rest of your life… well for a very long time anyway!!!

So is it best to go with the most freebies on offer, the best competitive rates on interest, the potential bank charges posed upon you in times of cash flow problems, or even with a long term outlook with graduate loans and special deals for getting your first mortgage…

Some good points to consider:
a) Does your campus have a bank situated on site… this can prove to be very useful!

b) How close would your bank be to the campus or are they situated amongst a lot of the student housing areas around the city?

c) Have a browse around the internet banking facilities, most banks allow you to have a virtual tour, so spend a quick 5 minutes browsing around… banking on the net could save you tonnes of time and make your life a lot easier!

d) What deals do they have on their credit and debit cards… cheque guarantees and credit limits count in the long term, you never know when then can come in useful!

e) What are the banks opening hours? Are they open on Saturdays or do they close early on a Friday??? All these types of things are good to know.

So then, don’t go rushing into picking the first bank that comes along, or the one that offers the best freebie… there’s a lot more to it than that.

Money Management

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Lets keep things simple. There are only two things you need to keep an idea of in order to stay out of the almost-out-of-overdraft zone, earn more than you spend. Sound easy? Read on…

Leave it out!

Keep your outgoings to a minimum, and yes we know that you probably know this already, so before the angry emails start to flood in, there are still a few things everyone can do to plug the cash drain.

Open your wallet / purse (delete as applicable), now take out those credit cards you couldn’t bare to be without and cut em up!! With high interest rates, some as high as 30%, you cant afford them! Rip up your plastic asap.

Secondly, go through your outgoings and try and get a picture of how much you have going out and where its going. Its no use having a gym membership if the closest you get is the pub next door! Eliminate any needless expenditure!
Try and keep a tight budget. Know how much beer money you can afford and STICK to it! Try not to be tempted by that must have CD you saw in Smiths and keep a hold on those pennies. You’ll thank me for it later, honest!

Living it large

Next step… Up your income. There is one guaranteed way of doing this which may come as a shock to many of you… Get a job!

Don’t knock it before you’ve tried it! One guy worked 5 nights a week as a security guard. All he did was sit at a desk, 10pm – 6am (lack of morning lectured allowed for a lengthy lie in!). He also took his laptop to work so he could do college work while getting paid! How goods that?

Of course, every student dreams of a working behind a bar (well I did!). A position where you are possibly the most popular person in the vicinity, AND you may get a few freebies thrown your way too.

Another avenue to explore is restaurants. These aren’t as good as bars, they can be hard work, but there are benefits: Cash, free food and a few hours in the warm (When you’re stuck in a freezing flat with the heating cut off, you’ll be sorry you turned down that job at pizza hut!). Oh and the social life isn’t bad either!
Shops. You could try being on the other side of the counter for a change? There are plenty of opportunities for working outside college hours. Suit you sir!

Those are the Do’s, these are the Don’ts!

Sell yourself. Not quite THAT, rather your insides. Yes, its probably true you can get £80,000 for a kidney you don’t strictly need, but your lack of ability to join in down the Union bar and problems in later life will make you realise your better off in debt.

Don’t give your student account details to anyone you don’t know. Amazon, and play.com are trustworthy (probably), but please ignore a personal email from the ex-Gold Minister of Kuala Lumpur. Pass on your details and say goodbye to your well earned wonga.

Natwest are giving away lifesize Buffy Summers cutouts? Barclays tempting you with an inflatable sheep? Look away!! Always go for the best interest rate and you can buy stuff you actually need!

On a final note, don’t add to your problems by taking out more credit cards to pay off the rest. Your debt will spiral out of control faster than Bob Geldof can say “We need your money!”

Getting Personal About Your Finances

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It’s time to put the phrase “personal finance” in your vocabulary.

If the phrase “personal finance” makes you think of long, boring discussions about stocks, bonds and interest rates, well, your impression is partially correct – all those subjects do have their place in the vast world of money and finance. In most ways, however, the emphasis on personal finance is on the first word, “personal,” which means it’s all about what you do with your money. And what could be more interesting than that?

Exactly What Is Personal Finance?

Simply put, “personal finance” is every aspect of your life that deals with money – everything from buying a ticket to the movies, to finding an affordable apartment, to leasing that new Beetle you’ve had your eye on, to putting money into a retirement plan. Your personal finances affect your relationships, your lifestyle and, very possibly, your perception of yourself. Eventually, it will influence where your kids will go to school and the quality of your retirement.

Understanding Personal Finance

On the surface, personal finance sounds complicated. It sounds scary. It sounds like something we’d rather not have to deal with. So we let our hard-earned money lie in a bank account, making little or no interest, while we go about tackling the finer aspects of, say, parasailing.

It’s not that we can’t learn about personal finance and managing our money. We don’t learn about them because we think personal finance – taxes, insurance, investment and interest – is only for people who have a lot of money. In reality, it’s just common sense.

As you move through different stages and situations in your life, you’ll need to know different things concerning personal finances. So let’s take you, for example. You’ve just landed your first job, and maybe the salary isn’t as much as you had hoped. In fact, you’re trying to figure out how you’ll get enough money together for a security deposit on that apartment you’ve been looking at. You need to worry about budgeting your income to meet all your expenses, finding some transportation to and from work and paying off college debt.

Personal Finance Is Not Just for Your Parents

Who needs to think about personal finance? Anyone with any money at all should be concerned about where it’s going and whether it’s being managed to its best advantage. Sure, that includes your parents, but it also includes you.

The decision to not save or the lack of a decision to save occurs for various reasons, including the following:

  • You’re too busy having a great time spending the first real money you’ve ever made to worry about saving any of it.
  • You figure you’ll have plenty of time to worry about saving later (like after you get married).
  • You’ve got an apartment, a car and plenty of spending money; what else could anyone want?

You can take shortcuts when it comes to your personal finances, or just ignore them altogether and things will be OK, for a while. After you’ve rounded up the security deposit, you probably can get by just paying what you owe and stashing any leftovers in a savings account.

However, these carpe diem attitudes offer no security or comfort for later in your life. In the back of your mind, you probably know you should be saving some money. But you’re not too worried about it, as you’ve got steady income and no responsibilities. You figure you’ll probably be married in five or 10 years and then you’ll have to get serious about many things, money included.

Even if you can’t save a lot, you should be saving something in your 20s and 30s. No one’s saying you have to save half of each paycheck. Small savings do add up.

Money’s Not a Dirty Word

Although sex has become an acceptable conversation topic, talk about money is still somewhat taboo. Studies have shown that parents are more likely to talk with their kids about sex than money (and you know how reluctant most parents are to talk about sex). Money is seen as a “private” matter, best left to intimate (or angry) discussions between partners, spouses, or financial consultants and clients.

OK, it’s reasonable to think you don’t want the guy living two doors down the hall to know the amount of your weekly paycheck or the balance of your savings account. But what could be wrong with a little 401(k) discussion among friends? Or an intelligent talk about leasing your next vehicle instead of buying it?

So, next time you get together for a drink with some friends, test the waters. If they all move away from you or pointedly change the topic of conversation, you’ll know they’re not yet ready for money talk. But who knows? You may start a lively and interesting conversation and add a new dimension to bar talk. You might even learn something.