To some people, the notion of a gap year conjures up images of worldly travels and an easy-going life. For others, it’s a chance to try and figure out what their next steps are. For the frugally minded, however, it can be seen as a long-term investment in your own future. By approaching your year-out with the right attitude and utilising your time in the most efficient way, there are indeed a number of possible financial benefits you can capitalise on.
Building a nest egg
It’s no secret that student life itself is very costly. From tuition fees and rent, to travel expenses and food – and everything else in between – there are a lot of outgoings to contend with. By taking a gap year before you embark on your studies (or between degrees), you give yourself 12 months to work full-time, focussing on saving up as much money as possible. This can lead to a sizable nest egg to fall back on once the academic year is underway. After all, the more cash of your own you have set aside, the less you will need to borrow via student loans and the bank of mum and dad. This added level of financial security can go a long way towards reducing the strain of debt and money worries.
Real world experience
For most people, heading off to uni is their first time flying the nest. This can mean there’s a pretty big shock to the system in terms of both finances and the level of responsibility you are lumbered with. A gap year can thus prove to be a great way to gain experience of the real world, rather than simply jumping in at the deep end. Earning money, budgeting, paying bills and prioritising your time; these are just some of the valuable life skills and frugal habits you can hone during a year out of the bubble that is the education system. By the end, you should be well equipped to deal with the practicalities of student living.
A healthy CV
We’ve all heard the horror stories about students slaving away for years to earn their degrees, only to find themselves unable to secure a decent job because they lack ‘proper experience’. A year out can be spent hunting down a range of relevant jobs, work placements, internships and suchlike. This can be everything from extensive training programmes to merely working on the frontline within the appropriate industry. This early experience, combined with your eventual qualifications, comes together to form a well-rounded and fuller CV that will make you an exciting candidate for prospective employers later down the line. It can, in essence, act as a springboard to employment and better rates of pay upon graduation.
So, whilst a gap year may not be for everyone, it is indeed a perfectly valid option for many – One that may just leave your bank balance looking that little bit healthier when you head off to uni.