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.

Review: Free finance course for students

Through my old money blog, I have made friends with other money bloggers and learnt so much through them. Recently, my friend Araminta from “Financially Mint,” has put her financial knowledge into a super helpful, FREE, 6-day course. As it has an emphasis on helping and teaching students, I thought it would be a great idea (for my benefit too) to try it out and give you a review!

The Frugal Frenchie

Day One: Planning

In day one of this email course, you’re encouraged to create a plan and set goals for yourself. Emails across the next few days will guide you and give you ideas on how you can reach those goals!Review: Free finance course for students

Day Two: Lower Spending and Budgeting

To get you started, one of the most commonly used words in finance – budgeting- is covered. Why is it important? What can it tell you? Araminta also shows you, through pictures and instructions, how you can keep track of your expenses, savings, debt, income and how to set a budget.

A big emphasis is placed on cutting down your unnecessary spending, and if not possible, Araminta has you covered with a guide to student discounts as well as a long list of available ones out there!

Day Three: Increasing your Income

I love how this course is catered to students. It’s always annoying when people assume you can just get a full-time job or something of a higher wage, we’re students! It’s not always possible!

Catering to this, day three of the course gives you several options for side hustles that you can manage alongside your studies, as well as a clear guide to helping you get started on each one. They’re super easy and really well explained- so don’t worry if it’s all new to you.Review: Free finance course for students

Day Four: Pay Off Debt

As I personally have no debt, bar student fees (I didn’t take out a maintenance loan), day four was really interesting for me. I learnt about interest and how potential payments could be made in future, and how to get your head around it. There were also some helpful tools attached to the email such you can try calculating a future payment plan for yourself.

Day Five: The Savings

You’ll see that throughout the first few days, there will be a continuous mention of “15% in your savings account.” This is explained in more detailed at the beginning of the budgeting email, so make sure you go back to it and understand that before day five!

In this email, there are heaps of good ideas on what to do with your savings. This includes investing ideas (with case study examples), with some relevant articles and resources and then explaining what a “FU Fund” is and why it’s beneficial to have one.Review: Free finance course for students

Day Six: Financial Education and Resources

The last day of the course is helping you to continue to grow your financial education. There is a free resource pack available through “Financially Mint,” as well as a list of other places you might grow your knowledge from.  Once you start budgeting more seriously than just on pen and paper, this email has you covered with some great recommendations for budgeting apps that you can try and have a whizz at.

Overall, as you can imagine, I found this course extremely interesting and above all, very helpful. If you’ve never really thought about your finances or don’t know where to start, it’s ever so helpful having tonnes of information in 6 clear, consecutive emails.

If you’d like to join the course, simply click here and let me know what you thought afterwards!

Advice with Annelies: loneliness

This series will answer people’s questions or worries, either that have been asked to me or I wanted to give my opinion on. Of course, these are just suggestion, and if the problem is severe, you should seek professional help or advice. Here’s the first Advice with Annelies: loneliness.

“I am 28 years old. I feel very alone and lonely most of the time. What should I do to overcome this? I don’t have friends or close relatives and am home 24/7.”

Of course, everyone’s situation is different, but to some extent, I understand how you feel. Last year, I studied a year abroad, away from family, and although I spoke to people at uni, I didn’t have anybody that I would see outside of it. I stayed at home whenever I wasn’t at uni, and only leave the house for grocery shopping.

In retrospect (because isn’t that a joyous thing) I think there are a few things I would change, which hopefully could help you.

Advice with Annelies: loneliness

“Am home 24/7.”

I really went wrong here. When in a situation of loneliness, you have to go out. It’s what keeps you sane. I realise when not at university, sometimes it can be harder to meet people and have an incentive to go out but have a look at what’s around you.

It’s important to get out of the house, even when there’s no particular motive to do so. A change in routine and scenery, is, to be blunt, good for your sanity. Having fresh air, taking a walk… it all helps relax your mind, put things into perspective, for some, it even acts as a form of meditation!

“I don’t have friends”

If you have a particular interest, look up on Facebook, or through the local library, whether there’s an association or club for it: if you like reading, see if there’s a Book Club… that kind of thing! Surrounding yourself with like-minded people is a great way to make connections as you’re guaranteed to have a common interest and a conversation starter!

Furthermore, if you work or are in education, make sure to attend as many events or trips as you can. If there’s a work do, make sure you attend, and you could use the excuse to speak to new people by asking if they’re going etc.

Advice with Annelies: loneliness

“I don’t have… close relatives”

Thankfully, we live in a world where it’s possible to keep in contact with people across long distances. If they have access to a phone or computer, you can skype them or just ring them and hear their voices.

If worst comes to the worst, you’ll just have to wait impatiently for the next letter to arrive, but it can make them feel all that more precious!

I wish you all the best!

The Frugal Frenchie

 

 

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!

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

What does positive body image actually mean?

Society nowadays encourages us to embrace our bodies and to commit to activities that boost our self-esteem and encourage self-care. Nevertheless, we all have those days where we experience a negative body image and feel down about ourselves. What does positive body image actually mean? Despite what you may think, it’s not actually the opposite of negative body image. Let me explain….

What does positive body image actually mean?

In psychology, we would define positive body image as:

  • Appreciation for your body and the functions that it performs
  • Accept and admire the majority of their body, including parts not in line with society’s ideals
  • Feel beautiful/handsome, comfortable, confident and happy with their body
  • They can be viewed as having an “outer glow”
  • Emphasise body assets rather than dwell on imperfections
  • They can interpret incoming information in a body-protective manner
    • Ie. they will internalise positive information and reframe or reject negative information received
  • Favourable opinions of the body
  • Respecting your body by attending to its needs and engaging in healthy behaviours
    • E.g. if you’re hungry you’ll eat and not threat over “I’ve eaten too much today I might gain weight”
  • This links to protecting  the body by rejecting unrealistic ideal body images portrayed in the media

If it’s still not very clear, here’s what positive body image isn’t:

  • Being highly satisfied with all aspects of appearance, people can still hate a certain part of their body they’ve just learnt not to emphasise that area and have learnt to counteract it with what they find positive about their bodies
  • It is most certainly not expressed as narcissism or vanity
  • Positive body image isn’t foolproof against all body image-related threats. People might still feel a bit down after seeing a very thin model in a magazine, however, they can overcome it and focus on the positives
  • It’s not linked to disengagement from self-care, sometimes, people may have a positive body image because they engage so much in self-care
    • E.g. regularly moisturising etc.
  • Another important thing to note is that positive image isn’t aided by frequent appearance-related compliments from others, confident and appreciation for one’s body has to come from oneself.

What does positive body image actually mean?

It could be said that positive body image is more body acceptance than anything. It’s really the start to loving yourself and who you are. There are other benefits though, which can only encourage us to seek positive body image even more:

  • Less depression
  • Higher self-esteem
  • Fewer unhealthy dieting behaviours
  • Lower drive for muscularity
  • Greater intentions to protect yourself from UV exposure and damage
    • This might seem like an odd one, but in many places, the ideal is also to look slightly more tanned than is our natural tone. Some people go as far as to say that people who are too pale naturally look ill, which definitely doesn’t help the situation!
    • As a result, those with a negative body image might spend time in sun beds, applying darker foundation or even spending unhealthy amounts of time in the sun, whereas those who have a positive body image won’t do such thing as they’ll want to protect their skin from damage over appealing to the ideal

It’s easier said than done to achieve a positive body image, so if you struggle severely with a negative body image, there’s help you can seek (links I’ll leave below), however, if it’s just a matter of feeling self-conscious and loving yourself a bit more, here are some tips you can try to help increase just that!

  • Engage a little more in a technique called “Protective filtering.” This is where the body is interpreted in a self-protective manner,  so you learn to filter out negative information that’s potentially harmful to your body image.
  • This mentality is slightly linked to the next technique which is called “Media Literacy,” where you critically evaluate the media’s depiction of appearance ideals and try not to internalise the ideal but instead to ignore or reject it. I’ve written out some actual examples that participants came up with in an experiment, just so you get the gist.

– “The advertisements have clearly been digitally altered.”

– “The women in the adverts had hair and make-up done by professionals.”

– “The women aren’t a true representation of women in society.”

– “The women look the way they do as it’s their job.”

– “The women might not necessarily be healthy or happy.”

  • Another thing you can do is to engage with people who have positive body image and who don’t engage in fat talk
    • By doing this, you can avoid making comparisons between peers and there’s no “reference point” established for your group-weight-norm.
  • Unconditional acceptance of any defects you might have or areas you don’t like

What does positive body image actually mean?

Remember, your size, shape, look, hairstyle… none of that defines you. Let your personality and behaviour be the things to stand out at people and let that be what you put the emphasis on when you go out. Avoid opening the makeup bag but instead, open the door to people discovering your true self.

The Frugal Frenchie x

 

Links for help (including interesting articles to read on different treatments):

 

References:

  • Tylka and Wood Barcalow, 2015 :

What is and what isn’t positive body image? Conceptual foundations and construct definition

  • Wood-Barcalow, Tylka and Augustus-Horvath, 2010 :

Positive body image characteristics and a holistic model for young-adult women

  • Gillen, 2015 :

Associations between positive body image and indicators of men’s and women’s mental and physical health

  • Andrew, Tiggemann, Clark, 2015:

The protective role of body appreciation against media-induced body dissatisfaction

  • Mirror exposure:

Delinksy et al. (2006) Mirror Exposure for Body Image                                                    Disturbance

  • Cognitive dissonance:

Stice et al. (2001) Randomised trial of cognitive                                                                    dissonance  programme

  • Acceptance and Commitment:

Pearson et al. (2012) ACT intervention for                                                                              body image and ED (eating behaviour)                                                                                      attitudes