Fear not, they are actually the least scary thing about uni

Before venturing off to uni, most, if not all students, are recommended to get a Student Bank Account. This could have been done online with ease, or if your parents thought you needed a bit of fresh air instead of chilling out and watching Netflix, you probably went down to the bank itself. All banks offer a student bank account as far as I am aware, but a lot of them offer amazing packages that come with them. For example, I had a free £60 Amazon voucher with HSBC and let me tell you, I was definitely not complaining. So, it’s always worth doing a bit of research before you go ahead and change your current account. 

Now, I realise I have already dumped a lot of information on you and I haven’t even reached the climax of my point…the dreaded overdrafts. This is because finances can be extremely overwhelming, frustrating and complicated. Which is why I probably zoned out when the very kind woman at the bank was explaining overdrafts to me. So, I only had myself to blame when I came to freaking out over the need to use my overdraft. 

This wasn’t helped by the fact that my Mother had it etched in my mind that if I used my overdraft, I would be in debt for the rest of my life. She cursed and spat on the idea of even going a penny into the red and it scared me so much that I would have rather starved to death for my last week of uni than use my overdraft. This is simply not true. If you use your overdraft, you will not be in debt for the rest of your life. It is all depending on how you are using your overdraft and even in a worst case scenario, there are always so many other options that will help you with your debt, such as part time jobs and your next loan.

Even knowing this fact, I was still reluctant to use my student overdraft, which meant that I had missed out on a lot of events and I was stuck eating potato waffles for more evenings than I’d like to admit. This is when I decided that it was about time I read about overdrafts instead of relying solely on my Mothers promises. More specifically, I read up about my own personal banks overdraft, HSBC. The overdraft is up to £3000 and is interest free, which means that you don’t have to pay back any added fees, just the money you have borrowed. I also read up a lot about how natural it is to use your overdraft, specially in busy months like December which is when I needed it. Finally, I allowed myself a sigh of relief. 

I had already had a few friends that were actively using their overdraft and a lot of them commented on how natural it was and how it is put there for us to use as students. A lot of these friends then went home back to their part time jobs to work off their overdraft before their next loan came in, which is what I decided I was going to do. I roughly worked out how much I would earn over the Christmas holidays and then set myself a maximum amount within the overdraft that I could use. Thus, when I got paid from my part time job, I was happily and securely back in the black. Of course, not everyone has a part-time job in uni. One of my closest friends is in this position currently, and his advice is to really just keep track on what is is you’re using your money for - it’s important to remember when your next loan comes in come January, the money you’ve borrowed from your overdraft will automatically be taken from the loan. Again, it is a lot to remember but I promise that once you’ve organised and planned how you are going to use the money, you won’t feel as bad about having to need it. 

This doesn’t mean that you can’t go out and have fun, just try not to spend as manically as you would if you were one of the Kardashians. 

The best thing about this experience is that it has taught me that I need to be able to be more organised with my finances, which is one of the many things you supposedly learn at uni. When you get safely out of your overdraft (and you will!) you will find that you’re more aware of what it is you’re spending money on and how much. It has even persuaded me to perhaps look into getting a part time job at University, just so the situation doesn’t happen again. Though, if it does I know that I am prepared and won’t be as flustered and stressed as I was early December!

I hope this article helped boost your confidence about using your overdraft if it should ever come to it. It is not something to be feared, it is there for students to use.

Last but not at all least, don’t ever take advice from my Mother, unless you love eating potato waffles…

Here are some useful links to continue aiding you after this article:



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Written by a recovering overdraft user called Gee Harland, 10 months ago
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