Students and money

Maya Driver

Check out this video, which is a Q&A with TV's favourite financial advisor Alvin Hall about the money concerns facing university students.

Being a student means managing money and for a lot of students it may be the first time they've had to be financially independent. It's a difficult adjustment to make especially as all sorts of banks and credit cards and loans seem to be throwing money at you for nothing. Try not to fall for these temptations because you know that nothing in life is really free, these cash incentives you take now will come back to haunt you in the future.

Credit cards are probably one of the most dangerous things a student will be offered. Once you open a student bank account (which is a great thing to have and you should shop around for the best one) you will invariably be offered a credit card. I remember when I was offered, very sensibly I said, 'no thanks, I don't want one.' Guess what? They sent me one anyway. Fortunately I only used it rarely and always paid it off immediately so as not to incur any charges. But just owning one was a real temptation. It can be good for your credit rating but it's so easy to slip into debt You have been warned!

Banks will desperately vie for your attention now that you are a student. They will offer you all sorts of freebies for the pleasure of entrusting your student loan to them. And while the iPod, laptop and mobile phone discounts sound awesome, remember to find out what other more practical services they offer. Do they give you an interest-free overdraft? How much can you borrow? And how much is interest if you go over the limit? Having a decent overdraft will mean the world to you for the next 3 years and beyond.

Pretty much every student I've ever met has got a student loan. For some it was a necessity to help them buy food and pay for travel, rent etc. For others the loan was a pleasant bonus to pay for more drinks or holidays. Whatever you want to use it for is up to you but remember that you will probably spend the next 10 or so years paying it back. Do you really want that kind of commitment hanging over you?

Unless you are very lucky you can pretty much be sure that student life means getting by without much money. Fortunately there are lots of deals, discounts and benefits for students that you should hunt around for. Make the most of these, try to manage your money and roughly stick to a budget and try not to let your studies suffer from working part-time jobs.