Wow, going to college, being a parent, and working can be tough, especially when it comes to managing your finances. Luckily, there are some tactics you can use to keep on top of your money situation and ensure financial security, even when your plate is overflowing with other commitments. Read on to find out what they are.
Do know your income and expenses?
It doesn't matter how good you are with your spending if you don't have a handle on what your expected income and expenses are each month. In fact, if the latter is more than the former, you are definitely going to run into some trouble!
What this means is that you need to have a clear list of all the money you can expect to come in during a month, including any student loans and bursaries, as well as wages. Then you need to compare this to everything that is on the outgoing list. Of course, the latter list will include your mortgage or rent, as well as utilities, food, and clothes. It will also include money for fun, and your college fees as well.
Obviously, if your projected outgoings are exceeding your income, you will know that you have to cut back in that month. Something that can be done by shopping only to a list and with coupons, as well as resisting the urge to spend on unnecessary items such as new clothes and decor for your house.
Don't go overboard buying resources.
Next, when it comes to managing your finances successfully as a mature student, it's essential not to allow yourself to get caught up in 'back to school fever.' Yes, that's right a great deal of the resources and items that people buy in September aren't actually ones you really need or will ever use. In fact, it's becoming just like any other holiday where marketers use people's' excitement to encourage them to part with their cash.
Luckily, you can be wise to this and prevent this happening to you. One way to achieve this is to wait until your classes start to buy your books and resources. Then you will be able to buy just what you will actually use. In fact, it's sometimes possible to get a lead from your tutors to a student that did the same course last semester and has all their textbooks to sell, something that can save you a small fortune!
Also, if you do have a clear list of items you need already, be sure to keep it as minimal as possible. After all, while all those sparkly folders and pencil cases can seem like a good buy, you need to ask yourself, whether you really need them, when you are doing most of your note-taking and assignment writing online?
Do repair your credit
Next, when it comes to financial security as a mature student, it can be super helpful to keep an eye on your credit. The reason being that bad credit or a low credit score can seriously interfere with the ease with which you can get loans, and make other significant purchases. Something that you may wish to do during your time at college, or immediately after.
Luckily, there are quite a few strategies to try when it comes to taking care of your credit rating. The first is to absolutely be sure that any credit you do take out is a debt that you can repay on time. Otherwise, you risk lowering your rating.
Of course, it not always a good idea to avoid using credit altogether, especially if you already have a poor score as this can also negatively affect your rating. Instead, it may be worth looking into something like this capital one secured card which will allow you to get back into using credit, even when your rating is low and so can help to rebuild your ratings by showing that you are a good prospect.
Alternatively, if you are concerned about a particularly low rating or negative notes on your account, you may wish to approach a credit repair specialist. This is a company that can negotiate with your credit providers and find the best way to close down any outstanding issues or notes on your account. Something that can help you return your credit score to normal, and so make college life and your life after, that bit easier.
Don’t let false economies fool you.
What is a false economy? Well, it's when you buy something because you think you are getting a good deal and it's cheap, but if you really look at it in detail, you realize that it's not such a good deal. False economy issues come in all shapes and sizes as well, and there are two main ways of avoiding them.
The first is to shop around for your groceries and clothes and compare prices to find the best deals. Something that is pretty easy to do now we have the internet at our disposal 24/7, especially if you are happy to buy in bulk or thrifted items.
Secondly, don't get suckered into buying things that you just don't need. I'm talking about all the chips and snacks you get at the grocery, those accessories you just have to have for your office, and worst of all those expensive coffees you treat yourself to on campus in between seminars. Guess what folks? Coffee tastes just as good if you make a flask of it in the morning yourself and take that to school each day, and you can save yourself a fortune by doing this as well!
Take your coffee in a Thermos and save!
Do make time to keep on top of finances.
Lastly, if you are attending college, you will be busy, what with all those assignments, seminars, deadlines, and essays to write. Of course, for mature students tend to be even busier, because they have family and work commitments they have to honor as well.
You will be busy as a mature student, but it will benefit your whole family to stay on top of your finances.
Despite all of this though, it is still crucial that you make time to monitor your spending and keep on top of your finances. In fact, knowing what you have left and what still needs to be paid for at any point in the month, is probably the most critical step in maintaining your financial security as a mature student.