Managing your finances after studies
If you've finished your studies or degree and have started looking for work, there's a lot you need to think about. If it takes a while to find a job or you have to move back with your parents, managing your money will quickly become a top priority.
We've teamed up with the Money Advice Service to offer you some top tips to keep on control of your finances:
How to manage your money
First things first, you need to know what you have and what you need. Make a list of everything you spend each month and add up the total. You'll find some things start to cost more without student discounts and subsidised prices. You'll also have to pay full Council Tax and may need to spend more on getting to work.
Then make another list of all the money you have coming in. You won't have any student loan money arriving anymore, and that first job might not pay much.
The easiest way to do all this and keep track of it is to use an online tool like the Money Advice Service Budget Planner.
Working out what you can afford
If you've got less than you need, see where you can cut back. Any non-essential spending, such as gym membership or magazine subscriptions, are far less important than bills and food, so see if you can cancel them without being penalised.
If you have more money coming in than you are spending, that's great – but don't stop there. Start putting money aside to prepare for emergencies, or to go towards bigger purchases like holidays.
Getting a graduate account
Your student account probably came with some advantages, but you won't be able to keep it once you finish studying. Shop around for a graduate account with interest free overdrafts to avoid high fees.
Paying back Student Loans
The earliest you will have to start repaying your student loan is the 6th April after you leave university or college. Even then, you don't have to start repaying your student loan until your income reaches a certain level. How much that is depends on when you started your studies. You can find details on the Student Loans Company website.
Interest will be charged on what you owe. If you lose your job or get paid less, you stop repaying until you hit the threshold.
How to prioritise your debts
If you've got further debts from your time studying, such as credit cards or bank loans, you're probably paying high interest rates on the debt. The quicker you clear them, the less you'll pay overall.
But if you are struggling to make ends meet, it's important to know which bills and debts to pay first. Rent and Council Tax, so you don't lose your home, and energy bills, so you don’t get cut off, should be a priority. Only when they're cleared should you start on the credit cards or overdrafts.