Managing Money By Dr.Pratibha Jain International Education Consultant
The devaluation of the rupee has rocked the budget of students going abroad for higher education. Hence, money management becomes more critical than ever before .Students may stretch the pound or the dollar that ‘extra mile’ by making an exhaustive list of expenses and needs, so that wise planning leads to a more efficient use of resources.
• Use free communication wi-fi services rather than mobile phones.
• Be extremely disciplined in the use of water, electricity, dish washers, washing machines , geysers, heaters which are paid on-use.
• Share costs for internet and cable television with roommates
• Travel during non-peak hours or walk where you can
• Plan travel , entertainment , scouting for special offers on weekends , midday, mid week , etc hunting for low cost deals for food, and entertainment
• Shop during sales
• Take advantage of bulk buying especially groceries
• PAY ALL YOUR CREDIT CARD BILLS ON TIME ;interest on non-paid bills is an avoidable expense
1) Fiscal discipline plays a key role in learning to manage money. You may have unlimited use of credit cards, but use the power judiciously. Spend thoughtfully, after verifying the best options.
2) Do not rush into buying books and stationery. The University book shops have second –hand deals on offer; consult with seniors on the ‘must-buys’; share books with peers so that all books are available within the group ; Use the library and e-journals as much as possible .
3) Mobile costs are often high , so curb the urge to have long conversations on the phone. Get into the habit of using chats on the email . Mobile bills pile up costs and can be cut quite easily without sacrificing the need to keep in touch .Several web sites compare the rates of different providers. If a group of friends take the same provider, intra phone calls and incoming are free. Numerous international phone cards are more cost effective , so you can use one provider for local calls and another for international calls. In addition, get into the habit of using free communication resources like wiber, whatsup, facetime and skype .
4) Utility Bills are often added to the room or apartment rent . It is common practice in housing contracts to charge the student according to use for internet, cable television, water, electricity and heating, etc, in university managed or private housing . Make sure you know exactly what you are paying for especially the amenities and utilities that are included in the rental contract and those that are paid on use-age. The most effective way to save on bills is to use all resources efficiently . Switch off all devices when not in use. If all people sharing a space leave together, you may switch off the mains, to avoid paying for careless users . Dish washers, washing machines, dryers and geysers are energy guzzlers . Sometimes it may be more cost effective to use a community laundry-mat rather than the home washer. So, use electronic gadgets to optimal capacity and only when needed.
5) Make your student ID card as soon as possible as there are significant discounts on travel, food, and entertainment. Ask for student discounts wherever you go. Often entrance cost to museums, libraries and other events is waived or reduced for students. There are several deals available if you look wisely on the net. Many entertainment events like movies, plays, concerts, restaurants offer huge discounts for students and for off peak days and shows . A Wednesday matinee movie or play will be cheaper than the same show on a Friday or Saturday night .
6) Mass transport system like buses and trains sometimes charge more for travel during peak time especially in the UK . Planned travel SAVES money . Fixed time travel ( for a fixed time journey) is significantly cheaper than flexible hour travel .
7) Sales in all countries are genuine. You get even bigger discounts when you buy in bulk. Friends getting together will make significant savings when they buy as a group essentials like duvets, sheets ,woolens, groceries, household items, crockery etc .
8) Cook and eat at home before you go out dancing or clubbing in the evening . Groceries are cheap , while dining out is expensive; carry a juice bottle and sandwiches from home for the midday break ; You can enjoy yourself at moderately priced places too.
9) Buying water is a major expense. Carry a water bottle in your backpack and refill from potable sources .
10) Avail student discounts for Travel, Youth hostels, and entertainment
11) Take part time jobs. Students on Tier 4 visa are allowed to work 20 hours per week during term time and longer on holidays . Plan your time table to balance academics with work. Join the university’s Career Cell and the Student Union . These are forums that help you get part time jobs. Leave your contact details with restaurants, shops and malls in the vicinity of the university . They often call students as extra working hands during peak time sales or festivals. Academics is a priority , so plan to work just a few hours(4 to 5) a week which is sufficient for pocket money. Earning in pounds makes personal spending guilt free !
12) Pay all your bills on time as the penalty and interest on non paid dues is heavy . Many shops give you their own card where you earn bonus points and freebies for regular shopping.
Funding options for Indian students are limited. Many university departments offer scholarships based on academic merit , once the conditional offer for admissions is received . Several Indian organizations also offer funds based on need and merit. Some of these are Agha Khan foundation, Jito foundation; Seksaria Foundation; The Tata Trust; The Godrej trust; Mahindra Trust ; InLakhs foundation ; British Council has an entire webpage dedicated to providing information on scholarships like the Felix, Commonwealth, etc. Students must peruse the web sites carefully for funding information and apply well in time. Each scholarship may have its own application format , deadline and requirement like an extra essay or an additional recommendation.