Budgeting for emergencies as a student
Living on a student budget can be difficult at the best of times. Trying to balance your needs with your wants can be hard work. If you factor in any emergencies that might happen – bills that are bigger than expected, unexpected illnesses – your budget can be even more stretched.
We’ve all been there. The student loan has come in and you’ve not budgeted quite right – the nights out and trips to Primark have ended up in the majority and you’re wondering where you’re going to find the cash to pay your house bills at the end of the month.
Then to top it all off, there’s an emergency. The washing machine breaks down and according to the landlord, it’s your fault for putting your stilettos through it after a night out; you’ve caught the dreaded Fresher’s Flu and have been out of action for a couple of weeks, meaning that extra cash you make as a shop assistant is non-existent; or something more serious, you tripped down the stairs in between lectures and are strapped up in the hospital, awaiting an operation and wondering how you’re going to pay your bills in the meantime.
There are always option to help you out when you’re a student.
Budget in advance
We can’t stress enough how important it is to be prepared for any emergencies that might hit you.
Keep spreadsheets that track what outgoings you have and where, allowing for a buffer and making sure you’re never in the negative at the end of the month.
If you have trouble not spending your money, set up a separate savings account that is more difficult for you to access so that you can’t just throw that cash around. That way, it’ll be there when you most need it. And you don’t need it, that’s a nice little pot of money to start your future once you’re finished at uni!
Ask for help
Remember that if there’s been an emergency and your finances are all over the place, you’re not alone. There is always somewhere you can turn to for help.
Most unis have a Student Welfare Adviser who you can talk to if you’re struggling. They will be able to offer guidance on where you can find help and what you can do in your situation.
There are also independent financial advice services that can help you get affairs in order and will be able to arrange for help where it is needed. If the situation is quite dire, they can even speak to or arrange meetings with any places you owe money to so that you can arrange alternative agreements.
If you’ve had an accident or suffered some kind of ailment, make sure you know your rights and when you can claim. Personal injury claims like these can be made which can cover the cost of medical bills and any loss of income you might have suffered as a result. In cases like this, the money might take a while to reach you but arrangements can be put in place for the meantime.
If all else fails
And of course, there’s always the bank of mum and dad if all else fails! Go grovelling home, promise you’ll repay it in a few months’ time when you’re back on your feet and hope for the best.