When people are leaving the nest for the first time, there are usually three reactions: giddy excitement, absolute panic or a bit of both. Whether you're leaving for your first year in university or starting your first 'real' job somewhere far from home, there's generally a few concerns once reality hits that you're no longer under the protection of parental guidance. For a lot of students, there can be that temptation to splurge on that good old student loan - after all, it's only first year right? In the case of the intern, depending on the industry and employer, that first pay check may give you the illusion that you're currently a Mayfair baller. However, I'm here to help you stay on the right side of that awesome interest-free, student over-draft. So how can you save money whilst still enjoying yourself?
1) Budget. Whilst this sounds like something only old, married couples do - if you haven't started doing this, you should! This doesn't mean go crazy on those Excel skills that you never thought would come in handy; instead have clarity over how much you have each month and allocate it to your activities. Even jotting it down in your diary or Evernote will be helpful. For those of you who prefer something more detailed try this (https://www.budgetsimple.com). That way, you have set limits so you don't accidentally go over your 'going out' budget by £300.
2) Leave a little room for contingencies. Unexpected things happen more frequently than you think when you're out in the big wide world. During my gap year at KPMG, I woke up one morning and the mirror on my right wing literally decided to fall off by itself as I reversed from my car park. I wasn't particularly impressed considering the mechanic's explanation was 'sometimes the mirrors just fall off when the weather changes'. I also had to fork out £75 because the wing mirror was electronic which, as you can imagine, I hadn't budgeted for. Moral of the story? Be prepared for the unexpected (or don't buy Vauxhall Astra's).
3) Stay away from unnecessary Direct Debits. Ever paid for a membership to a gym that you haven't attended in 2 months? According to this article goo.gl/9QjkYi, 42% of Brits continue to pay for services they don't use, with gym memberships being the biggest offenders. I indeed am also a culprit. I'm pretty sure the Economist enticed me into a student deal during Freshers and I probably only read about 2 articles from the 12 months that I've paid for. Honestly, if you can bypass it, don't sign up for it. If you're at LSE you get a free subscription to the FT and universities tend to do little deals like that. Amazon also have a 6 month free subscription to Amazon Prime for all students with a valid email address. Alongside this, most work places have fantastic deals with partner firms which can save you money and avoid setting up direct debits. Also if you sign up for a free trial please, please don't forget to cancel!!
4) Check your online banking account regularly. When you're broke it can be almost painful to check your account balance. However, let's all avoid being that person that tensely waits to see whether their card is going to be rejected or not; why play Russian roulette with your life? Knowing what you have (or don't have) in your account is likely to deter you from being trigger happy with your card. You can also see how many unnecessary £4 Starbucks you ordered in one week and hopefully force you to become a bit more disciplined.
Hope this helps! :-)