It's that time of year again when the nation's universities brace themselves for the new term and all of the excitement that comes with it.
However, many of those entering higher education for the first time have never had the sense of independence that the student life offers. This means that the prospect of managing finances is can prove to be particularly daunting, enhancing the possibility for students to run up debts and generally make a mess of their finances.
The consequences of not staying on top of your money in your early adult years can potentially be very serious, so it is important that you think carefully about your outgoings, while also making yourself aware of what options are available.
One part of being a student is the fact that you have access to a huge number of discounts. Shops, cafes, bars and more will be clamouring for your attention throughout your course, so it is important that you take full advantage.
Make a budget
This might be tricky to do at first, but after a few weeks of getting into the swing of things, it will soon become much easier to recognise what is required of you in terms of financial outgoings. It is therefore a good idea to set up a budget either on a weekly or monthly basis.
Some people find it useful to create spreadsheets detailing their monthly income and expenditure, but it is possible to stay on top of your finances simply by regularly staying in touch with your how much money you withdraw and looking at your statements.
Get a job
Studying is clearly the main priority and some courses will be simply too demanding, but if you have the time and energy, a part-time job is a great way of keeping your finances in order. While many retailers will be luring you into wanting to spend money, there are likely to be just as many businesses looking to take advantage of the jump in local population by taking more staff. Jobs in bars and retail are usually the most common, but so long as a position suits you and does not interfere with your studying, then it should be considered. A job that strengthens your CV in any way should also be seen as a massive bonus.
If you are having trouble finding a part-time job, then talk to your student union as they will be able to offer advice.
Use less energy
Energy is a likely to be the most expensive household utility, so it is important to make sure that it does not get out of control. Leaving lights on or putting electrical items on standby are often the two biggest offenders that can be easily cut out.
Other tips include using energy saving light bulbs, turning down the thermostat when not at home and defrosting your fridge or freezer.
Perhaps most importantly though, you should always make sure you are getting the best deal. Price comparison websites are rife and can allow you to check out some of the cheapest companies around at the click of a button.
Cooking meals from scratch is not only healthier than buying ready meals or takeaways, it is also far cheaper. Don't be afraid to get in the kitchen as there are a number of great websites that offer free recipes, meaning you can learn how to make some of your favourite meals without having to pay penny.
However, it is important to remember that you still need to stick to some form of a budget. Put a shopping list together before you go to the supermarket and stick to it.