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Information and advice on:
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STUDENT DEBT - WAYS OF MANAGING YOUR MONEY

Budgeting

Budget planning it key to managing your money. You need to be aware of how much money you have coming in, and how much you are spending. It's a good idea to write down all your expenditure and analyse it. You will be surprised how much you can save by simple cost cutting exercises. If you are thinking of taking out a loan, credit card, or credit agreement, draw up a budget plan and be realistic about how much to can afford in monthly repayments. If in doubt, don't take it out.

Monitoring APRs (Annual Percentage Rates)

When comparing credit card or loan deals, always check the Annual Percentage Rate (APR). Some charge huge APRs - naturally you should avoid these. Normally the lower the APR the less interest you will pay over the lifetime of the loan or credit card agreement.

Always read the small print

When you are taking out a loan agreement, or a credit card or a tenancy for a property, in fact when you are making any financial commitment ALWAYS read the small print. Financial agreements are usually legally binding once signed.

Monitoring your money and budget plan

Always monitor you expenditure against your budget plan. In particular, regularly check your credit expenditure. If possible, pay off your full balance at the end of each month. that way you will avoid interest charges.

Practice self restraint

When you become a student and live away from home, there are many temptations that encourage you to spend your money unwisely. Try to exercise self restraint. It is very easy to take out a credit care and other types of financial agreements, but repaying them is a completely different matter. Never take on more than you can realistically pay - remember, you are ultimately responsible for the amount of credit you commit yourself to. If you cannot meet loan or credit card repayments, you run the risk of obtaining a poor credit history which will make borrowing for loans and mortgages much more difficult in the future.

Never borrow from loan sharks

NEVER, EVER borrow money from a loan shark or moneylender, no matter how desperate you are for extra money. These people charge extortionate rates of interest, which will only compound your debt problems. If you are really concerned about your debt, talk to your bank or student counsellor at your university. If you fall into arrears, most loan providers will allow you to reschedule the debt by extending the repayment period and reducing monthly repayments to a level you can manage.

Do not be tempted to sign up for a High Street Store Card

Never be tempted by introductory discounts and offers made by High Street store cards as they usually charge a high APR.

If you have serious debt problems, see professional help

Never ignore letters from credit card companies or banks. If you tell them about your problems, they are usually keen to help. Many universities and student unions have their own 'Student advice centres' with qualified debt counsellors who will help you deal with creditors if your debt has got out of control.

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