It is rare when a student living on their student loan is saving up money for something. But there are some and I think they are doing a great service for themselves. Why can’t all of the students be like that? Well, being a student myself, I can definitely name a few.
While studying, life can get pretty hectic. Any student coming to an educational institution no matter the age is there because they want to learn and get a degree at the end. This, of course, takes a lot of time and our brain muscles. And when we got to choose whether to get out with our friends to a local pub, or to sit at home and study, we go with the easy option without thinking. Just having to think about this decision makes our brain hurt, and so we spend all of our disposable income in the month without deciding to save some of it at some point.
A lot of us have actually tried to save money, and some keep trying without actually succeeding. It is because over time the motivation to save is corroded by the unknown future and momentarily temptations. To be able to resist the temptation to impulse buy instead of to save, a student can learn to distract themselves from these temptations. However, in eyes of their peers it can look like a weakness, which will be the final temptation that very few can withstand against. And what’s the point to save money, if I need it now?
It’s A Sign Of Weakness
Nowadays, university connections can be one of the most important ones in your life. And so, students like to impress and entertain their fellow students, sadly on their own expense. There is a constant battle between ‘what are they going to think about me’ and doing something good for your future. They want to see strong and outgoing in the eyes of their peers, which inconveniently leads all of the group into deficit.
After all, being on your own in any decision can feel pretty lonely. And when we are alone, we inevitably feel weaker – as if separated from the pack and left to deal with life on your own. Usually, many students have an attitude of ‘if we go down, we go down together’, which makes their spending shenanigans so much more exciting.
It’s Too Restrictive
For students saving money means the biggest restriction on their life than anything before. They might be afraid of paying attention to where their money goes because it ain’t pretty from the start.
“When you’ve got a savings target, no part of your income is disposable anymore.”Tara Lepore, 2018
Saving, like any other financial commitment, is demanding of lifestyle changes and rearrangements. When I got to university and found someone to talk to – I felt like I will be friends with them forever.
However, changing spending habits means a change in life habits as well. Changing habits often seen as restricting yourself yourself from doing what you like. And in the phase of getting used to that or even when starting, many students feel very strongly towards things they crave in their lives (so much so they feel like they can’t avoid spending on it) and so they easily relapse. It is hard to change your life because we feel bad for the people that were with us up until now.
What Can We Do About It?
Years before starting university, I had a good £3,000 saved in my ISA. I didn’t know what I was saving for, I just did it because I didn’t have anything to spend on – I was under 18 and nothing was really available to me yet. But the situation took a 180 degree turn when I reached 18 years. I started wasting money on alcohol because my friends though it was cool. I didn’t invest any of that into anything. With full confidence I can say that a good 60% of that was spend just on takeaways. And when I got to my first year at uni – I had about £200 to spend in the first month because I also decided not to get a maintenance loan. I had no savings and didn’t want to get into it again.
And this is what I learned from this experience – when starting to live independently from your caretakers, you got to develop some willpower. A first step is to recognise what your wants and needs are. Then recognise times in your life when you’re most vulnerable to impulse buy or say yes to unnecessary expense. And then learn to distract yourself from those temptations. Like I did before I got 18 – just worked and studied, maybe went to a park to chill out sometimes – you can also learn ways to distract yourself (and that doesn’t exactly need to be all about restricting yourself from all the fun).
Recently I returned to saving money for the second time in my life. And I feel like it was a combination of stopping to smoke, cutting down on clubbing, and starting to diet and eat fever takeaways. Although, I had to step away from some friendships in order to sustain my progress, I managed to find new and more meaningful ones. So these struggles don’t last forever, even if it might feel that way in the moment.
Thank you for reading this post, I’ll be back to you with more money wisdom’s for artists tomorrow!
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