Savvy Student money tips With Cobalt Advisors

It has been quite a while since I was a student, but one thing I remembered clearly was having to pay off a hefty student loan at the end of my studying time. It took many years to finish paying off the student loans I accrued during that time. University is a time that should be one of the most fun experiences you will ever have, but, when it comes to money, you can end up building up debts that you will  be paying off for a long time, even as you are trying to sort your finances for life after study. So being a savvy student when it comes to your dosh is an option you should definitely be trying out.

In my student days.

In my student days.

Tips With Cobalt Advisors

Some debt is virtually unavoidable, but there are things that you can do that will help you manage your finances a little better. Here are my top five tips for being a money-savvy student.

  • Open a student bank account. A good student bank account will offer a good rate of interest on any savings, and an overdraft facility that is free. The TSB student account also offers a free £10 overdraft buffer, which means you won’t pay any overdraft fees or interest if you go overdrawn (either Planned or Unplanned) or exceed your Planned Overdraft limit by £10 or less.
  • Look at your credit cards and make sure you switch to a low interest card like those from Cobalt Advisors, then keep this in a special place for a rainy day. You never know when you might need instant cash for an issue – car trouble, an unexpected bill, so having a card that you could use without massive interest accruing is both useful and sensible.

Irish Students Marianne and Connell in Normal People

  • Look for a part time job. During my university days I worked part time in a shop to top up my income. Even a few hours a week can help to alleviate money worries. Student towns often have seasonal work, bar work etc. Look at things like stewarding at sports events and other jobs that can work at the weekend. Most students do not spends all day every day in lectures, so use some of that spare time wisely.
  • Budget. Writing a plan that shows what money you have, and what you need to spend it on is essential for avoiding excessive debt. Having this information down on paper shows you what is left once your bills and books are paid for.
  • Being a savvy shopper – budget supermarkets, charity shops and jumble sales, you can still shop on a budget. I lived in Birmingham’s Rag Market as a student, and totally loved my look. These days Charity shops have everything from Vintage to designer so you are sure to be able to create your own look at a budget that suits.
  • If you do need to get a loan, get a student version with low interest, that doesn’t have to be paid back until your earnings reach a certain level.
Some of my fave students - Fresh Meat.

Some of my fave students – Fresh Meat.

These are my tips, ones which I used when I was a student. You can find more useful tips in this savvy students guide.

Do you have a tip you could share?

A few holiday Essentials

As we reach the end of February, our thoughts are finally turning to Summer days. Many of us have already booked our Summer holidays and are starting to list what we need. Holiday season is just around the corner, and with half term this week, people have already started jetting off to enjoy some much needed sunshine. But it is no secret that holidays, as well as being a time for fun, relaxation and excitement, are also a time that can prove to be very expensive. Travel money, holiday wardrobes, travel insurance, new luggage, all of these things can add up and make even the most budget of holidays rather more expensive than you may have budgeted for.

So this post is about planning ahead, not leaving all that shopping for holiday essentials until the last minute. A few bargain buys will update your holiday wardrobe without breaking the bank. Don’t forget to check out your local supermarket brands for bargains, Morrisons have an adult range as part of the Nutmeg range, whilst some branches of Poundland are stocking the budget brand Pep and Co in their stores. There are also a couple of ideas for must have items, investment pieces that you will be able to use year upon year.

Swimming Watches

If your holiday is one of water adventures, then it could be worth investing in a swimming watch. Swimming watches for women are stylish and durable, and are great if you want to indulge in scuba diving, swimming, water skiing, or any other kind of watery activity. These days a waterproof watch doesn’t have to be bulky or manly, it can actually have a sleek and stylish design.

A Maxi Dress

A maxi dress is perfect for evening drinks or daytime sightseeing. it can also double up as a pool coverup, or you could add a denim jacket and it will be great to travel home in. Choose a pretty pattern for extra style points.

Sandals

A cool pair of espadrilles will work for holidays and festivals alike. Add in a metallic touch, and you have a shoe that is stylish and versatile. Try to choose a pair that will work with most of your outfits so you can cut down on the packing.

Beach Cover Up

A beach cover up can look so much  chicer than a sarong, and this black dress has an interesting back detail. This means that it would also work for drinks after dark, just add a pair of statement earrings for an evening look.

A Hat

Protect your head with the coolest cover up around – it has to be a Fedora. You could travel in this to help it keep its shape, or pack your undies into it to avoid it being flattened in the suitcase.

 

A versatile Bag

Boho prints are another holiday fave. I love the pink accents in this tote bag, it looks like it has come straight from Talitha Getty’s 1960s Marrakesh wardrobe. This sort of bag would work for the beach, or for sightseeing.

Looking For A First Or New Home

I have to say that, at the moment, I am perfectly happy and content in my home. It is cosy and homely, in a nice area, and has the perfect school for Joe just on the doorstep. But in September next year, Joe will be at High School and the time maybe right for a move, and an upgrade.

Funding For A First Or New Home

When we bought our first home, in 2003, we were right in the middle of the housing boom, and you could still get 100% mortgage in the UK, which was handy if you had not been able to save for a deposit. Now it is getting harder to get onto the housing ladder, particularly if you are a first time buyer, even more difficult if you are a first time buyer with a low income. But if you live in the US, you may be able to get help through an affordable housing programme like the Chenoa Fund, which helps help credit worthy families to realise the dream of home ownership by providing hopeful home buyers with the financial tools to purchase a home. It takes away the problem of having to have a deposit ( a minimum down payment) which can often be a barrier, and is helping more and more families to get on the housing ladder. When combined with your first mortgage, qualified borrowers can receive a second mortgage or grant to purchase a home with little or no cash investment.

If you are able to obtain your funding for a mortgage, or through an affordable housing programme, the real fun starts as you are able to look at what you require in your new home. For me I would look for somewhere that would be both practical as a family home and yet large enough for family and friends to stay over, and there are certain features that would definitely make a home more attractive.

What to look for in a new home

1. A double garage

We have both a car and a van. One is currently parked at the back of the house, one on the road. A double garage would be both practical and a security measure too.

Double Garage from Warwick garages

Double Garage from Warwick garages

2. A dressing room.

I have a lot of clothes, more than a couple of wardrobes can handle. And despite the fact that I cull my clothing items regularly, a dressing room with some walk in wardrobes would be just lovely. I’d be happy to share it with the hubby too – he’s a bit of a clotheshorse too!

Love this!

Love this!

3. Period features.

I am not a fan of modern and new build houses, I currently love in a Victorian terrace that has lots of its original features, and would definitely be looking for something similar – a Victorian villa or a Georgian townhouse are two styles of house I truly love.

How fantastic is this Georgian townhouse in London.

How fantastic is this Georgian townhouse in London.

4. An exposed staircase and entrance hall.

One of the things about living in a Victorian terrace is that you literally walk straight into my dining room once the front door is opened – there is no entrance hall. I would love a proper entrance hall with a beautiful winding staircase exposed. Our stairs are currently hidden behind the living room door – they are steep and literally just a staircase, with no hall space.

1111borchert-hall

5. A large garden with lots of grass.

We have this currently – almost 100ft of garden with a large grassy area . The garden would need to be big enough for two sets of goals – we play a lot of football in our current garden so this is probably the most important space in the whole house and garden.

A garden big enough for a game of football is a must for my family.

A garden big enough for a game of football is a must for my family.

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What would you look for in your next home?