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Freshers Week: Our Uni Regrets

 

IMG_5314At MyBnk we share our our money mistakes with young people to deliver authentic, better and impactful financial education programmes.

Freshers Week is always busy for our Education Officers and we are sharpening Sixth Formers minds in schools across the country. Now, for you, here are some of the lessons we learnt the hard way at university, how we got help and what we would never do again!

 MyBnk are also taking part in Student Bean’s Fresher Festival, see here for more. 

 

DSC_0031smallHannah, Education Officer

What did you learn the hard way?
That everything I borrowed had an APR attached! This was never explained to me and I didn’t really understand what it meant at the time. ‘Free’ money is never as free as you think!

Where did you get help?
I completely buried my head in the sand, I ignored the fact I was behind with bills or had an overdraft and didn’t see it as a massive issue at the time. I borrowed a lot from friends to go on Holiday or got store cards to buy clothes; Things that at the time I deemed ‘Essential’.

What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to your first year self?
Prioritize and budget! Two simple things that I didn’t introduce into my life until it was almost too late. Question if you really do NEED something and if you do, can you get it cheaper? Buy and sell on eBay and take advantage of student discounts as much as you can. You don’t want debt and being broke to cloud the fun you can have in your uni years!

 

Graham, Money Advice Service StaffSONY DSC

What did you learn the hard way?
Went a bit bonkers in my first term and don’t think I had a night in for about a month! Not only did this hit my bank balance but it also impacted my waistline! Also signed up the gym and number of societies, but ended up going to the gym twice (to use the sauna!) and paid £40 to join the badminton club, which I never used!

Where did you get help?
Fortunate that I was able to go to the Bank of Mum and Dad, who bailed me out on a couple of occasions whilst I was waiting for my loan to be paid in!

What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to your first year self?
Setup a standing order from a separate account and pay yourself a weekly allowance. This will give you a clearer guide on how much you are spending on a daily basis.

 

DSC_0964Tope, Education Officer

What did you learn the hard way?
Banks are not as friendly as you think. They have their own agendas.

Where did you get help?
I didn’t get any help I just put my head in the sand and wished it away.

What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to your first year self?
Don’t use money that you didn’t create or put there.

 

Ben, Education TrainerDSC_0086

What did you learn the hard way?
How to prioritise my needs and wants. Moving away from home where I had relied on my parents to pay for things like rent, bills and internet, I failed to realise that I was now responsible to pay them myself. Instead of reassessing my needs I continued to spend money on going out with friends, buying new clothes and heading out on a daily basis to cafes and restaurants, forgetting about the important costs like rent and bills. As a result I had to borrow a lot of money from different sources to pay off my new ‘needs’. Ten years later I am still paying off those debts.

Where did you get help?
I spoke to my parents, family and friends and was very open about my financial challenges. I didn’t take everyone’s advice but took little bits from each person and worked out the best strategy for me. In the second year I set out a clear plan of my income and expenditure to ensure I stayed on top of things.

One piece of advice?
Assess your needs and wants and make a budget. It only takes a few minutes a week but it helped me save a lot of money for fun things like holidays and music festivals. I made sure I had enough to cover my needs and split the rest between saving and enjoying a few luxuries.

 


DSC_0034smallKirsty, Education Co-ordinator

What did you learn the hard way?
Student overdrafts are for life not just for that one time you needed £1,000 for a deposit on student accommodation. You won’t be able to pay off your student overdraft unless you actually have an income…unemployed students don’t have an income.

Where did you get help?
Money Savings expert website.

What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to your first year self?
Overdrafts are the devil…not awesome magical free money (although don’t worry too much because your bank will make a clerical error in the future and you’ll get your free overdraft for an extra year before they realise they never charged you and will give you another 6 months free overdraft as an apology for not charging you…WIN!!!) Also don’t lose sleep over money now, it gets much worse in the future…then you’ll know what money problems really are.

 

Emma, VolunteerDSC_0750

What did you learn the hard way?
You can’t just put in more hours and get paid more student loan – if you don’t spend what you get wisely you end up stuck. Money worry is one of the worst kinds of worry and affects how you feel about everything else. Asking people to lend you money is horrible.

Where did you get help?
My aunt once loaned me money to last me the month. It’s too awful having to tell your parents that you’ve been frivolous with the allowance they give you.

What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to your first year self?
If possible, don’t get an overdraft – you can kid yourself it’s just there for emergencies but it never seems to work out that way.

 

DSC_0788Jessie, Income

What did you learn the hard way?
How easy it is to spend money. Debit cards or cash, I just couldn’t keep track of what I was spending. Plus I suffer from severe F.O.M.O (fear of missing out) so I wanted to do everything that I could, whatever it cost.

Where did you get help?
I pretty much lived in denial for three years. It didn’t feel like my money so I didn’t worry too much. I ran out of money a few times and was lucky that my parents would bail me out tilt the end of term. But I had a holiday job and would always have to pay them back. That of course left me short for the next term – sort of like a first pay day loan cycle!

What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to your first year self?
Learn to socialise outside of the pub. Two or three nights a week, do something that doesn’t involve drinking or eating out!

 

Zarita, IncomeP1030139

What did you learn the hard way?
I got caught out by going into my overdraft. I had quit my student job a couple of months before to focus on my dissertation, but I hadn’t adjusted my spending habits (d’oh).

Where did you get help?
I had to ask my dad for the money (I paid him back when I got a job) and discussed the situation with my bank adviser immediately. He gave me a really good tip to keep an accountant’s spike and keep my receipts so I could figure out how much I was spending on day to day expenses – it all adds up. I still use this method.

What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to your first year self?
What I’d tell myself (and this also applied when I started working/got a pay rise), just because you have money doesn’t mean you have to spend it all. If I’d reduced my spending and/or saved some of my money from my student job, I wouldn’t have got into my overdraft. Saving money helps you prepare for a rainy day, such as when your basement floods or you are made redundant (both of which I’ve experienced).

ALSO – My dad maintains that I owe him money from my uni days, but is refusing to take any. The lesson there: never borrow money from family for poor money management – you will never hear the end of it!

 

DSCF2032Hannah K, Education Trainer

What did you learn the hard way?
It’s ok to say that you can’t afford something- people won’t think any less of you. Lots of my uni friends came from wealthier backgrounds than me and I was initially embarrassed about telling them that I didn’t have as much money to go out. It turned out that no-one minded and everyone was happy to have cheap nights in every now and again.

Where did you get help?
An older student kindly helped me get a waitress job on campus. I got paid £7 an hour and got a free dinner.

What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to your first year self?
Don’t take your debit card out clubbing. Leave it at home and take cash.

If you would like MyBnk’s experts to come to your school or youth group, visit www.mybnk.org and request a session.

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