Top 5 money lessons to know before graduating

We don’t learn about money in university, or in younger education at that. It’s sad but it’s true – no one teaches us how to pay taxes, how to budget and what a mortgage is. And yet, money is essential! No matter what career you get into, you’ll be earning a salary and using money to buy food, transport, etc.

So if the schools won’t teach us, we need to teach ourselves. Based on the several months I’ve been working and researching with Financially Mint, here are the top 5 money lessons you need to know before graduating.

Top 5 money lessons to know before graduating

1. Money is just a tool

My life changed when I realised I didn’t have to spend my entire life working for money at a job I didn’t like just to pay the bills and have a roof over my head.

Money is your tool to live how you want. You are the one who chooses what to do with it. If you want to use it to travel the world, that’s on you. If you want to use it on going out every weekend, that’s also on you. It’s about making priorities and deciding what you really want. Once you understand that, you realise that money is just a tool to achieve your goals and dreams; what you really need is willpower and a desire to do better.

And the key to making sure you use your money correctly is financial education – what we’re not taught in schools. Learning how to invest, how to start a side-hustle, how to save money. These are things we need to learn by ourselves, and the more we study them the better we get at it. So get started in college!

2. Invest, invest, invest

The key to growing your wealth: investing.

Investing is stowing away your money somewhere safe and watching it grow. It’s starting off with £500 and seeing it grow to £100,000 over 20 years. It’s what lets people retire early and always have cash for emergencies.

If you don’t want to start investing in college (check my how to get started in uni post), I recommend at least learning the basics and preparing for investing once you graduate. Invest into low fee index funds and put away some money every month. Watch your money grow into something useable for the future: a car, a house, retirement, etc.

Investing is one of the pillars of financial education, so I recommend every student to get started as soon as possible.

Top 5 money lessons to know before graduating

3. Control is key

Control means knowing where your money is and what it’s doing at all times. It means not having a heart attack every time you open your bank account (it happens) and it means knowing where to put your money once you get your paycheck.

This starts with a nice and simple budget. In my 6 day course, that The Frugal Frenchie has reviewed, we go back to the basics of budgeting: allocating your money to the right expenses and making sure you reach your ambitions/goals.

Being in control of your money outflows and inflows before graduating will make your entry into the workforce so much easier. You won’t have a pressure to get a job immediately (Emergency fund to the rescue!), you’ll know what kind of salary you’re looking for and you’ll know exactly where to put your money every month.

4. Don’t be in debt

Debt can good and can be bad. But when it’s bad, it’s pretty bad. The bad debt: credit card debt and payday loans. As a student, you hopefully will have very little debt (student loans are a separate case), and you really want to keep it that way. Credit card debt accumulates and will get more expensive every time – pay off all your debt and make sure you know what you’re doing if you take on any more debt.

Student loans are another story altogether. In fact, they’re so different that some people prefer calling your student loan debt a contribution, simply because the situation is so particular. Before graduating, take a look at your student loans and decide whether you want to pay them off. This post on Should I pay off my student loans? will give you an idea of how to make a decision and plan appropriately. And as always, do your research.  

Top 5 money lessons to know before graduating

5. Pay yourself first

The best part of the budget: yourself.

This means allocating a certain percentage of your income to yourself, to your goals. And you can start this in college: the minute you get your paycheck/loan/money each month, allocate 15% to your goals, to your emergency fund, to your debts. That 15% is what will get you out of the rat race, out of living from paycheck to paycheck.

If you start paying yourself first in college you will actually be prepared for adult life (shock horror). You’ll be way more flexible and really be able to pick the job you want – because you’ll have an emergency fund, you’ll be debt free and will have the motivation to keep working on your goals.

Again, this starts with the mighty budget. At the time of calculating your budget from your income, the first thing you do is allocate that 15% to ‘Savings’. And then the rest is for your expenses! No need to worry about saving up more.

Understanding these 5 lessons on money will get you prepared for the world after graduation. Heck, it’ll even get you excited – you understand that you don’t have to be stuck at a job you just tolerate, you can achieve that flexibility to help you find the job that works best for. It all starts with being in control and financially educated.

Ways that anyone can save money

Throughout the year, there might be a number of reasons why someone might find themselves a little tight on cash. This could be due to an unexpected bill, less working hours, more costly demands… you name it! We’ve all been there, and we’ll all be there at some point, so I thought it’d be useful to share some ways that anyone can save money.

The Frugal Frenchie x

Ways that anyone can save money

  • Stop bad habits
    • Like smoking or binge drinking
  • Check what discounts you’re entitled to
    • Student discount?
    • NHS discount?
    • Tastecard
  • Try have a no-spend week at least once a month
  • Do a money saving challenge
  • Consider alternatives to your current product
    • Look at price per kg/l
    • Are own brand products just as good?
  • Reuse, reduce, recycle
    • If jeans have rips, turn them to shorts?
    • Reduce waste by turning potato peelings into crisps?
    • Loads of possibilities here!
  • Use your utilities at night
    • Having a shower or running the dishwasher at night, can save you money
    • Check with your providers though
  • Get cashback on any online purchases
  • Buy things second hand
  • Sell unwanted items
    • There are so many apps to do this on like:
      • Depop
      • Schpock
  • Buy in the reduced section
  • Buy clothes out of season
  • Gift cards
    • Buy them on Zeek for profit
    • Earn them through surveys
  • Buy railway cards or bus cards for discounts

This is just a quick list but there are loads more ideas possible! Do comment your favourite ones; let me know what works for you!

My Christmas Stocking Fillers

I’m writing this blog post on my birthday as it’s when this time passes that I officially start feeling the Christmas spirit! For this reason, I’ve decided to give you a sneak peek into some of my Christmas stockings fillers this year, so have a nosy and enjoy!

  • Lip balms

I find these are such an easy “go-to” for stocking fillers. They’re small, handy and can be used anywhere at any time, especially during the winter months. These are my personal favourites this year:

I love all Jelly Belly lip balms so it seemed a great idea to grab this pack of 8 for my sister! I think Cherry Blue and Tangerine are such original flavours that I might have to borrow them from time to time aha!

My Christmas Stockings Fillers You can find these in Claire’s for £12.

I also spotted these two hilarious lip balms in the cosmetic section in Primark. It’s a “Christmas Pudding” lip balm and a “Christmas Dinner” themed lip balm. I thought these would make such festive little gifts and are bound to put a smile on the face of the receiver!

My Christmas Stockings Fillers

My Christmas Stockings Fillers

You can find these in Primark for £1.50 each.

  • CDs and DVDs

When you know somebody well, I think CDs and DVDs are such a great gift! Shows that you’ve thought of something that they’d love and it’s something that can be enjoyed over and over.

“NOW that’s what I call….” CDs have always been prominent in our lives. I personally love their “NOW that’s what I call music” but until I started researching, I had no idea that they also did “Classic Soul” and “Driving Rock.” These are definitely gifts that will appeal to my in-laws!

My Christmas Stockings

My Christmas Stockings

Both Classic Soul and Driving Rock retail at £7.98

In terms of films and DVDs, well 2017 has really spoilt us this year. From Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” and Universal Picture’s “Despicable Me 3” to more mature and action filled films like “Spider-Man” and “Wonder Woman!” I’ve chosen Wonder Woman on blu-ray as a stocking filler as not only has my boyfriend not seen it but it’s the second best selling film of the year so has to be amazing, right?

My Christmas Stockings Fillers

Wonder Woman is available on bluray for £13.30.

  • Stationary

Ok, how could I not have put this here? Everybody loooves a good bit of stationary!

Stabilo are always rocking it with their stationary but when I saw these 6 highlighters I fell in love. They’re so dainty and have really cute quotes across them such as “tres chic” and “Be youtiful.” I just think they’re so adorable and people of all ages would appreciate this! Still debating who to give it to actually!

My Christmas Stocking Fillers

My Christmas Stocking Fillers

These pastel love highlighters are on Amazon for £8.71 

  • Books

I think you really can’t go wrong with books. I personally got a book today for my birthday and I’ve got two books for my mum’s present and my little brother’s.

Because my brother is quite a “deep” reader, I thought this would make for a light-hearted, cute little stocking filler for him to enjoy and look through in his own time. I love that books can be catered to different ages and personalities, there are so many talented authors out there!

My Christmas Stockings Fillers

Barry Loser’s Christmas Joke Book can be found on Amazon for £4.98

What are your go-to stocking fillers? Have you sorted all yours yet? Let me know in the comments below!

The Frugal Frenchie x

*Disclaimer: this is not a sponsored post, however some products were offered in exchange for a review and this post may contain affiliates

How to avoid coffee and energy drinks forever

As somebody who drinks neither fizzy drinks, energy drinks, tea or coffee, I thought that it would be as good a time as ever to share my go-to energy source and teach you all how to avoid coffee and energy drinks forever and save money! It’s a win-win!

Being a student can often involve 9am lectures, people complaining of hangovers and seeing Red Bulls or Starbucks coffees everywhere. As we get older, we just seem to get worse; having a coffee to wake us up, keep our energy going and as a social activity.

What’s my secret?

I don’t know why, but with age, the smell of fresh coffee actually disgusts me more and more. As for fizzy drinks, I find them overpriced and I only like them when they’re flat anyway (is that weird?). Because of this, it’s easy to find myself at times feeling tired in the middle of the day or needing a burst of energy. How do I do this? With…..

How to avoid coffee and energy drinks forever

Fizz sticks!

What are they? How do you use them?

These are absolutely amazing! Rather than getting a load of caffeine, fat from milk and a large sugar intake, this allows you to get all your energy as well as contributing to your vitamin B and pantothenic acid intake and helping your metabolism. It does so through the antioxidants and natural ingredients. Using them is so simple: all you do is add 1 stick to 400 ml of water and stir. Yup, that’s it. 

How can they save me money?

As I’m not a coffee drinker myself, I didn’t want to assume that people spend more on coffee than they actually do, so I did as what would be expected from a 21st century gal and I tweeted it. Here are the results. Do they shock you?

*Bare in mind, that this doesn’t include the price of every coffee you make at home, this is only what people spend on the go. *

So, down to the gritty stuff.

According to the research from Buddy Loans in December 2015, we spend around £730 million a year on coffee alone! Think of all those instagram picture we see with Costa cups and so forth. The way to help the environment and save money is through fizz sticks.

For example….

  • You wake up and have a coffee at home. Total = £1.85 (according to LifeHacker).
  • The average Costa product is between £2-£3 (average £2.50). Total = £4.35
  • Let’s say you’re only a moderate coffee drinker and have a coffee at lunch and dinner only. Total = £8.05

Put this in a monthly and yearly context….

  • Monthly = £225.40
  • Yearly = £2704.80!!!!!!

This example can similarly be used with fizzy drinks. The average cost of a 500ml bottle is about £1.50, if you have about two bottles a day or combine it with coffee- you get the gist.

How to avoid coffee and energy drinks forever

In the case of fizz sticks….

  • Each individual fizz stick comes out as £1.02 (if at discount price). Take this in the morning.
  • If you’re feeling extra fatigued, you could have two max. Total = £2.04
  • Monthly = £28.56
  • Yearly = £342.72!!!!

That’s an incredible saving of £236.08!!

If you want to have a healthier substitute to these drinks, consume more water, help save the environment and save money, then give these a go! Comments are open to any questions and do get in contact for the discount.

The Frugal Frenchie x

*Disclaimer: this is not a sponsored post, however this post does contain affiliate links

5 top tips for Black Friday

Black Friday! The day of sales! Or is it? Sometimes companies up their prices just before Black Friday so that they can put it down to the original price on the day and people think it’s a bargain! Don’t get caught out by it, if you know how, it can save you a lot of money, so here are 5 top tips for Black Friday.

The Frugal Frenchie x

Set a budget

  • By doing this, there’s no chance of you overspending or getting carried away by good deals. Buy what you need or what can be useful and think carefully before parting from your cash!

Wait until Black Friday for your “must-have” purchases

  • If you look through your inbox, you might see emails from companies about promotions or exclusive deals… what they’ll also do, is send you emails to remind you of items that are still in your checkout or shopping bag. If you keep items in there for a while, companies will often send you a discount code to encourage you to finish the purchase

Plan for the future

  • As is the case with Boxing Day Sales, January Sales or Cyber Monday, if you find something that you know others will like for future gifts, be it for a wedding, baptism, birthday etc. stock up while it’s at a discount!

5 top tips for Black Friday

Walk into stores and only spend cash

  • With the invention of online banking and online shopping, it’s sooo easy to spend more than you expect or plan to. If you’re rubbish at sticking to a budget, then why not physically visit stores and only bring cash with you? That way it’s impossible to go over as your purse will then be empty. I personally use this method and I find it super helpful

Compare, compare, compare

  • To avoid thinking you’re getting a bargain when in fact it’s just the retail price, compare the same or similar items on different websites. If you’re looking for a new phone for example, Carphone Warehouse, might offer a different price than EE, who has an equally good phone on offer. I’m sure you’ll be surprised at your findings!

So, everyone, that’s it! I hope you find some great bargains and if you do, let me know about them before! I’ll be posting some deals on my social media during the day too, so give me a follow there so you don’t miss out.