Graduating and stressing about losing your student loan? Deep breath. Here are some tips to keep on top of your money worries.
Adulthood feels like moving from one stress to another. You’ve probably just got over your exam stress, and the general ‘the future’ stress is always looming. But now you’re finishing uni, it may mean that it’s the end of your student loan too and you’re feeling a bit stuck without it.
Repaying your student loan
One thing to remember is that, most likely, you won’t be paying your student loan back yet anyway. Repayment begins when you start earning a minimum of £20,195 a year, sometimes more depending on what plan you’re on. When you do start repaying, you only pay 9% of what you earn that’s over the threshold. For example, if you earn £25,000 a year and your repayment threshold is £20,195, then you would pay 9% of £4,805 a year – or £36 a month. That’s no more than the average phone bill.
Face the truth
Although it can be hard to face the realities of your money stress, it’s a lot more helpful to constantly be in the know. Be aware of your income and outcome and make a strict budget if you need to. Excel can come in very handy here – lay out all your bills and be honest with yourself. Adjust it each month, and keep money aside for emergencies – that way you’re covered when those inevitable nasty surprises come along. If you’re in a position where you think you might need help, go to someone you trust or even a financial advisor to get some guidance.
A part-time job
Throughout uni, you may have had a part-time job for a bit of extra money. You may not love it and it may not be your dream job, but now is not the time to get rid of it. If you’ve got something else bigger and better lined up, great! But most graduates aren’t in that position immediately, and that’s completely normal. By holding on to that job you’ll still have a steady income, something to ease that money stress, and it will make your CV more appealing to future employers. If you decided to keep your full attention on your studies whilst at university, then now is the time to branch out. As I said, it might not be your dream job, or even to do with your degree, but it’ll help to get the ball rolling and ease that initial money stress.
Keep a routine
Stay active, see friends and eat responsibly. Taking control of these parts of your life – you can’t control everything but being proactive will keep stress down. Don’t hide under the duvet all day! Set alarms in the morning to get you up, showered, and ready to face the day.
Don’t be afraid to say no
Inevitably, you’ll have friends and family who are better off financially and can afford things you can’t. Missing out on things is never nice, but it’s better to prioritise your finances than to worsen your money stress. Be honest with loved ones about what you can and can’t do, and if they care then they’ll make sure you can do stuff to. A nice walk or bike ride instead of the gym, of a cuppa at their house instead of a cocktail at a bar. Saying no means staying in control, and your friends will understand that.