Debt problems: Help put them to the back of your mind
As a student, working hard and enjoying nights out are at the top of your priority list. Something that you don’t want to encounter is debt problems, which will distract you from experiencing everything that university has to offer. Having to cancel a night out with your friends because of a lack of cash is a situation arising for more and more people as a result of the economic difficulties that have hit the country, but you should be able to keep your own house in order without too much trouble.
When you’re focusing on having a good time you might not notice the financial problems creeping up on you as your student loan starts to run low. A couple of weeks ago you might have thought that you had plenty of money to last you the term, but a look at your bank account now says otherwise. With the prospect of not having any cash to spend on enjoying yourself and socialising with your friends, you might not be sure where to turn.
One option may be to get your hands on a credit card, but this will only be profitable if you use it correctly and to your advantage. While credit cards can come in handy, if you use them in the wrong way your financial problems will grow even bigger as you find that late payments become commonplace. This will result in you paying more interest on your debt and it spiralling out of control as you struggle to get on top of it.
This is likely to happen if you use your new piece of plastic regularly with no thought about whether you can actually afford the purchases you’re making and whether you’ll be able to make the payments at the end of the month. If you think that you can’t, then you should rein in your spending and be more frugal with your cash until you do have extra spending money available to you. Then when you do, you’ll enjoy spending it even more seeing as you’ve had to be patient and wait for the opportunity to arise.
By using a credit card correctly you can make purchases that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford, knowing full well that you’ll have the cash to pay for them in the long run. Say you want to buy a flash TV for your student house - by taking advantage of the low credit card APR available you can buy it now and pay for it later, with it still costing exactly the same price. Equally, if you’re waiting on your share for the TV from your housemates, as long as you pay for the purchase before interest starts accumulating you’ll not have to fork out an extra penny.
The way to use your credit card to your advantage is to ensure that you know what your credit limit is and in turn that you stay within that. If you go over the limit you’ll start to incur charges and this is when late payments will become more likely, resulting in further charges and thus your debt will start to snowball. By using your credit card sparsely you can avoid this situation and ensure that you always have enough money, or will do in the near future, to pay off your debt.
As a student, one thing you’ll be used to is budgeting. It is likely to be central to your student life as you weigh up what you can and can’t afford. If you’re budgeting effectively then you’re probably already on top of your finances and there’s absolutely no need to take financial risks to put that in jeopardy. If you do need to go outside of your budget, such as to buy a special gift for your closest friend for his or her birthday, make sure you adjust your budget accordingly to make up the difference in as little time as possible.
It has never been easier to stay on top of your finances and budget effectively with the ability to monitor your monetary situation at all times on the web. From the comfort of your own home, you can see where you are currently in terms of your finances, and ensure that you don’t run into any trouble in the near future. If you know that next month will be more expensive for one reason or another, then you can rein in your spending on other things to ensure you make ends meet and your student loan will last you for the term.
One negative of the rise of online banking is the increase in scams to try and con you out of your money, with the phishing email being one of these. It’s likely that you’ve seen phishing emails before and are well aware of their presence, but if you’re not then it’s important that you are so you’re not caught out by one in the future.
A phishing email is designed to get you to give out your bank details to illicit individuals. You may have been wondering why you receive emails that appear to be from banks or credit card companies that you have no business with. These are phishing emails and it’s important that you don’t open them. If you do by accident, it's important that you don't click on any of the links or give out your personal information, no matter what the email requests.
It’s always worth remembering that your bank will never ask you for your personal information in an email. If you’re ever in any doubt about the legitimacy of an email, something that can be quite difficult to know given the professional look fraudulent ones have, then always login to your online account by going directly to your bank's website rather than clicking on any email links. This will help to leave you rest assured that no-one can get hold of your personal details and that you enjoy managing your finances online safely.