In uncertain times, a strong financial foundation can make all the difference between facing financial problems or staying financially stable when something goes wrong.
Here are 5 simple ways to build a strong financial foundation. 💪
Most people spend money without really thinking about it. They buy what they’ve always bought where they’ve always bought it, don’t check prices and don’t budget.
There are sure to be things you buy that you don’t need and probably only buy out of habit – daily takeaway coffees or that after-gym snack can really add up. Our founder Vivi used to buy a takeaway coffee ☕ every day on the way to the office. But when the pandemic hit, she stopped doing this and had £25 extra a week in her pocket!
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy things that you want. If you’ve budgeted and feel that it’s worth it, you can buy whatever you want. But it’s important to make sure this is the case, rather than continuing to buy something out of habit. Once you go through this process, you might decide that the money could be better spent elsewhere.
This doesn’t just go for coffees, of course, but anything that you spend money on.
Be smart about debt
Having a lot of high-interest debt can hold you back from achieving your financial goals. 👎
There are plenty of strategies when it comes to reducing your debts but the rule of thumb is to pay off debts with the highest interest first. The sooner you pay off debt, the less interest you’ll end up paying overall. Here are a couple of different ways to pay off your debt.
Credit cards 💳 can be particularly dangerous as they have high interest rates. Switch your debt to the lowest interest rate card possible – a 0% credit card is your best bet if you’re able to get one.
Credit card providers will give you the option each month to make a minimum payment on what you owe (which will be much less than the total amount owed), or to pay off the amount you owe in full – always aim to pay the amount in full if possible. To learn why just paying the minimum on a credit card isn’t enough, read this blog.
Increase your income
The thing about budgeting is that there’s only so much you can cut from your spending! You have to eat, 🍴 have a roof over your head 🏠, have electricity 💡, internet, clothes, the list goes on. This means there’s a limit to how much you can cut from your spending.
But the sky’s the limit when it comes to making money! 💸 Increasing your income is a great way to build a strong financial foundation.
Here are some ways to do this:
Get a side hustle: freelancing, selling stuff, affiliate marketing on Instagram to sell products etc. 📲
Take on an evening job: shift work e.g. in a restaurant, could work well while you’re studying
Seasonal jobs: during the Christmas 🎄 and summer holidays.
Scholarships and bursaries: there are millions of pounds of scholarships and bursaries available to students. A great place to find lots of them is at the Scholarship Hub. Spend the time to apply for things that might be right for you – there is a huge range available based on lots of different criteria
Getting a second income isn’t for everyone. Here are some things to consider before taking action:
You genuinely need the money – make sure the problem isn’t simply poor budgeting
It won’t overload your schedule – a second job shouldn’t take away from your studies! 🙅♀️
You want to be your own boss someday and can get paid to do something you love and get experience 💼
Here are some ideas if you are thinking about a second income:
Read our blog, 5 ways to make money as a student, for more ideas.
Make sure you have an emergency fund
Setting up an emergency fund is a great idea, so when something unexpected comes your way, you won’t be thrown off course.
A month’s worth of expenses is a good start for an emergency fund (you’ll have to work out a budget to know how much this will be, which you can do using our budget calculator) – but some people save up three, six, or even 12 months of expenses.
It all depends on your circumstances: how much can you reasonably expect to save, and how cautious do you want to be? There’s no one right answer, but the bigger your emergency fund, the bigger of a buffer it will be if things ever go wrong. 😌
Spend less than you make
If you spend more than you make, the only way to cover the difference is by borrowing money and getting into debt.
Spending exactly what you make is better but still means you won’t be able to put any money away for your future – to save or invest, or if anything goes wrong.
To build a great financial future, spend less than you make! With the extra money that’s left over, you can start to prepare for a great future, whether this is saving money into a holiday pot, ✈ creating your emergency fund, putting more money towards retirement, investing or something completely different!