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Young woman takes five while moving home

1 August 2016

Graduate Financing

Stepping into the big wide world after completing a university degree can feel like a daunting prospect for students. Whether the next chapter involves more studying, taking the first steps into a career or jetting off to travel the world as so many graduates do, it’s a pivotal time for managing finances correctly. Here, Principality Building Society’s Senior Savings Products Manager, Kate Murray, shares the need-to-know information on financing post-university.  

Graduation season has well and truly started all over the country, with thousands of students picking up their hard earned degrees after three or more years of studying. It’s a time for great celebration, but equally one for thinking ahead and careful planning for the next stage of life outside the security of university. Regardless of the path that graduates intend on taking, it’s important to stay in control of your finances to help avoid large debts or a current account that is creeping further and further into an overdraft. 

Moving out of your university ‘digs’ 

For many students, moving out of their university house for the final time can feel like the start of the next chapter, packing up plenty of memories in the back of mum or dad’s car. But the last thing you want to be leaving with is a stack of unpaid bills. Remember to take a final reading on your electricity meter and let your provider know that you’re leaving, ensuring any outstanding bills have been paid. 

When the final person has moved out, your landlord may inspect the property, running through any inventory that was completed at the start of the tenancy. This is your opportunity to obtain the refund of your deposit. Since 2007, landlords for assured shorthold rentals have been required to put your deposit in a government backed Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDP), giving tenants added protection.  It’s important that you get an acknowledgment from your landlord that you have left the property and the inspection has been completed. If the landlord makes a charge for wear and tear in the house, ask to see a copy of the inventory and costs incurred so you can check they’re fair.  If you’re in dispute with your landlord, the deposit remains safe in the TDP while you resolve it. Once you’ve agreed how much you’ll get back, you must receive it within 10 days.  

Make sure your bank and phone provider know you have left the property and that they’re aware of your new address, so any post gets sent to the correct place. If you don’t change your address on record, you could end up missing important mail.   

Staying well away from your overdraft limit 

Without the security of the next student loan installment and often without a permanent job to head to straight after graduating, many students can find their bank balance sneaking worryingly closer to their overdraft limit. It’s important to avoid going over your overdraft limit. If you do, it could result in charges, which can be as high as £15 per card transaction, and it can become a vicious cycle that is difficult to escape. If you're struggling or have any concerns, talk to your bank who should be able to help you. It's likely to be far better to plan and budget where possible to avoid this happening. 

Switching to a graduate account 

Once you finish university, it might be time to consider switching your student account to a graduate account. However, realistically it’s not always possible for graduates to pay off their overdraft in the first year out of university, but the sooner you can do this the better. 

Setting a budget 

If you don’t have a set plan post-university, it can feel like an unsettling time. By setting a budget for the first few months at least, it will offer you a bit of structure to your finances to help you through this period and avoid any unwanted debt. To get your budget in order, consider everything from household bills or rent, living costs, travel expenses, leisure expenses and any additional costs. Life can be unpredictable so you might have to be flexible with your budget every now and then, but at the very least you can factor your incomings against your possible outgoings, helping you to avoid the red. 

After the graduation celebrations have died down and the reality of post-university life hits home, having your finances in order will certainly ease the pressure during this often strange transition period. Settling debts and bills, as well as creating a budget for yourself will help keep your finances in check for the foreseeable future before a permanent job comes along, allowing you to pay off any overdraft and start saving for things like travelling, a new home or anything else you have planned. Albeit daunting at first, this is the start of the rest of your life. Go get ‘em! 

Published: 01/08/2016