So, after all that work you’re finally off to college – congratulations! If you’re also leaving home, then this is a really exciting time for you. A few steps taken now can ease the way. So read on and start as you mean to continue – in charge of your finances!
Check if you can get financial assistance
One of the first things you’ll need to do is to check if you can get the student grant.
There are other financial supports that you may help you to access or stay in college. For example:
- The Student Assistance Fund – provides financial support to students who find themselves in financial difficulty while attending college
- The Fund for Students with Disabilities – provides for the supports and equipment that students with disabilities may need to participate on an equal basis with other students
- Bursaries and scholarships, such as, the 1916 Bursary and the Society of St Vincent de Paul Education and Training Bursary Fund.
Check if there are opening and closing dates for applications to give yourself plenty of time to apply.
Visit studentfinance.ie for information on schemes that can provide financial assistance.
Review your income
The first weeks of September can be a bit of a whirlwind – finding accommodation, paying registrations fees, buying books, equipment and so on. Hopefully, you have planned for this and already have some savings set aside.
If you find you haven’t enough to cover all your costs, then you’ll need to be careful how you spend your money.
Consider the following:
- Getting a part-time job to support yourself
- If you need to borrow, borrow at a low interest rate
- Review your spending
Make a budget
It’s a good idea to work out a budget based on the money you have coming in and out, regularly.
A budget is a plan – a list of money coming in and money going out. It will allow you to have an overview of where you stand and show you how much money to keep aside for bills and how much is left for fun!
If you’re sharing accommodation, have the money chat at the start – how will you divide the bills, what are you sharing and who’s responsible for paying what. Then draw up your budget using our free My Budget tool.
Get more help if you need it
You’ve worked hard to get to college but hitting money problems can often be the reason for students dropping out. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself struggling sometimes – and if you do, remember to ask for help.
Find out what student services are available in your college. Student support services and chaplaincy are both there to help you manage in this new phase of your life. Check if they have the Student Assistance Fund or if they can help in any other way.
And if money becomes a worry for you, get in touch with MABS.