Finance

College is a very expensive period of your life, and one in which you can occur a lot of debt!

While studying at DkIT be aware of the financial aids available such as the grants, student assistant funds and benevolent funds – please contact any member of the Union if you have questions on any of these.

It can be hard to keep your finances under control when you’re in college, especially if you don’t have a regular income and you are on a tight budget. Managing your money will take a bit of effort at first, but it is worth it in the long run.

Top Tips for managing your Money!

  • Make a realistic budget
  • Choose your account wisely
  • Be careful with credit
  • Tackle debt straight away
  • Manage your bills

Make a realistic budget

If you are living away from home, rent will probably be your biggest expense and you’ll need to carefully plan how much it will cost to live every month. Even if you are not renting, you will probably have lots of additional expenses and making a budget and sticking to it is the best way to avoid running out of cash and having to borrow money. If you receive a lump sum, for example a student grant every term, work it into your monthly budget and stretch it out over the term.

Choose your account wisely

Student accounts usually have no transaction fees, such as ATM withdrawal fees or standing order set-up fees. However, there is an annual Government stamp duty on ATM cards, debit cards and credit cards. Check out the Revenue website for up-to-date figures.

Many providers will offer you freebies, such as travel cards, phone credit or free flights, to encourage you to open an account with them, but look at all the fees and charges before you open an account.

Some other things to compare:

  • The networks of branches – are they easily accessible for you?
  • Access to your account – do they offer internet and phone banking?
  • Additional benefits, such as a ‘no-fee graduate account’ when you finish college
  • If you plan to get an overdraft, compare the overdraft fees charged by each provider and the penalty fees that apply if you go over your limit. You can compare these charges in our student current account cost comparison.

Be careful with credit

Credit cards are a convenient way to pay for goods and services, for example booking tickets or flights online.  If you are thinking about getting a credit card, you should compare the different terms and conditions and look for a low APR.

Be careful how you use your credit card – your credit limit is not a target. If you use it too much, even for small things, and don’t pay off what you owe, debt can mount up quickly. Before you use your card to buy something, ask yourself if you can really afford it. Try to pay your bill in full each month, or else your balance owed can build up very quickly, leaving you in debt.

Some banks may offer you overdrafts or student loans.  But before you consider borrowing money, you should see if you can save to pay for what you want. If you do need to borrow:

don’t borrow more than you can afford to repay. This loan calculator can help you work out what you can afford;
aim to pay the money back in as short a time as possible, based on what you can afford; and
look for a loan or credit card with the lowest annual percentage rate (APR). Cost comparisons can help you compare the student loans and travel loans on offer.  You can also contact your local credit union to see if they are offering loans to students.

Tackle debt straight away

If you find yourself having difficulties making loan repayments or trying to pay off credit card debt, don’t ignore the situation. If you miss repayments, it will affect your credit history and might prevent you from getting a loan in the future. If you think you may have trouble making repayments, get in touch with your lender immediately.

Manage your bills effectively

You can pay your regular bills by standing order, direct debit or credit transfer. Check your account regularly to make sure that you have enough money to meet these bills. If you don’t you may have to pay a penalty fee.

Money saving tips

  1. Save on your utility and phone bills – the Power of One site has lots of energy saving tips to help you cut costs. And you can save money on your mobile, by comparing costs on the Comreg site here.
  2. Look for student discounts and try buying online – many shops offer discounts for students with a valid student card, so it’s worth asking. The Student Union have negotiated some discounts on your behalf, and try buying online, you’ll often find better deals on clothes, music, books etc.
  3. Save on your grocery bills – check advertisements for regular special offers. Make a list of your meals for the week and stick to it, and use all the money off coupons you can get your hands on.
  4. Claim your tax – you may be entitled to a tax refund if you worked over the summer. You can get more information on the Revenue website.