They say hindsight is a wonderful thing. It can be in the sense that reflecting on past experiences helps you to avoid future mistakes. It also allows you to guide others into making better decisions than you had, so you can act as a sort of wiser elder. I often look back on my first year at university and how much better I could have taken advantage of the access I had to so many resources and new people. However when you are a young eighteen-year-old, it is rare to have developed that kind of wise head. A big regret of mine is squandering the student loan money I received on too many terrible take-aways and a whole plethora of other items I simply did not need.
I know other people who feel that way, which is not surprising as for many of us it is the first time in our young lives that we’ve had a sum of money like that sitting in our bank account for our disposal. It is easy to get overexcited and start spending like there’s no tomorrow. Therefore if it were possible and my current more financially savvy, business minded self could go back in time to talk to that fired-up little fresher, I would be much more aware of finding ways to multiply my money.
Designer clothes, lots and lots of designer clothes
I wouldn’t buy the clothes to flex. I would buy a small stock of clothes from discount outlets. Then I would set up an eBay shop to sell my wares to designer feens far and wide. If you put a little time into a venture like this, it can become extremely lucrative. The first year of university tends not to be as intense as those following, so there is usually a decent amount of free time to apply. YouTube is a great resource to gain tips from people who are already successfully doing this kind of selling.
Inviting students to dinner
Imagine it is the last few weeks of the term where many other students are broke and eating beans for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Then I step in and tell them they can come to mine for a delightful three course meal at a fraction of the price of a restaurant. Dinner clubs are a growing millennial trend and a great idea for someone making the most of being on a campus with thousands of other people who like to have new experiences and good grub with good people. I would charge £5 to £10 and ensure the food I cook is tasty, but made with inexpensive ingredients, so my profit margins are maximised.
Dorm room turned mini salon, massage parlour, study support room – the options are endless
This could be any place relating to whatever talent I have that can be used to provide relief for my stressed out, burnt out, partied-out student peers. As someone who has a talent for doing hair and other beautifying methods, you can advertise this and use a bit of the loan to buy start up materials and go from there. If your room is big enough, you can buy a massage table and some oils and become an amateur on-campus masseur/masseuse.
Furthermore, learn massage techniques from YouTube and use your friends to verify and spread your services via word of mouth. In fact you may have a talent that can be exploited with no start-up costs. As someone with a talent for writing, I sometimes proof-read and help edit my friend’s academic essays. I could have spread the word about this at university and charged for it. If you have a niche interest such as poetry or feminist writing for example, why not start an open-mic evening for all the ‘woke’ types who are not into the usual wild club nights offered? Your loan can be used to rent a small cafe space or you can turn the idea into a society and use university space for free. As a result, if you advertise it well you should be able to recoup what you have spent via ticket sales.
Between your own passion, free knowledge from libraries and YouTube, your inherent talents and a little capital from your student loan is your oyster in terms of starting a venture that will multiply your money and completely maximise that 3-4 year learning experience.