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For many students it’s a given, you’re going to be in debt but how are you supposed to contain it? Well, it may sound obvious, but you need to be smart with your money.
Monitor your money
Take a close look at your debt, your money coming in and your money going out to create a clear picture of where you are prioritising your current spending and saving, and where you may need to make changes to your habits. Itemise everything out in to a spreadsheet – some of the areas where you spend the most will be surprising! See our ‘how to make a budget’ section for further information.
Try switching banks
If you’re racking up debt on your credit card, but have a good credit rating, you can try moving your debt to another credit card offering, with a 0% deal or even lower.
A cost can be associated with doing this of between 1.5% and 3% of the balance.
Have a savings buffer
If you can, we recommend putting aside £20 a month for an emergency fund, which slowly adds up over time. This ensures that there is a fund you can dig in to, to cover things that crop up along the way. With interest rates at a record low, make sure your money isn’t stuck in a zero interest account – shop around to find the best deal and move your money there to take advantage.
Once your £20 a month starts adding up, you can then begin to consider an ISA. Although you are starting with small amounts right now, once you’ve left university and started earning your own money, it will start building up and you will begin to see a return.
Interest free overdraft
If you need money quickly and your maintenance loan is running out, a short term solution is having an interest-free overdraft. This should only be used in case of emergencies and it’s only a temporary solution, also remember you will have to pay it back. You might be better off getting a part time job (see 11 money saving tips to get you through medical school) to save for any issues that might arise.
Avoid high-interest loans
Store cards and payday loans should be avoided at all costs, due to the rates of paying them back. These types of schemes charge very high interest, which can become impossible to pay back.
If there are further topics you would like financial advice on, please leave a comment below and we’ll look to update the feature.
Ellie Beadel is the lead for medical students on the BMA's Audience Engagement team.
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The post looks at 5 ways to minimize debt. The five points that are being discussed in the content include keep an eye on your money, try switching banks, have a savings buffer, interest-free overdraft, and stay away from high-interest loans.
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