Got some extra cash? Don’t just spend it…


If you’ve recently received a cashback card from us, or are just lucky enough to have a wad of money lying around with nothing to do, you might be thinking the Black Friday sales are the ideal place to spend it. And while you could treat yourself to some new clothes, tech or one of those huge, oversized teddy bears, there are plenty of other possibilities which are less about consumerism and more about doing some good in the world – or perhaps investing in your own future.

See if one of these can tempt you away from the 50% discounts…


Lend to entrepreneurs in developing countries

Lendwithcare is an initiative from the charity Care International. It’s a little bit different from most charitable fundraising schemes, as you don’t make a donation as such. The idea is that you can invest in projects in developing countries through what’s known as microfinancing, where multiple lenders contribute a small amount to a common project.

With the help of a modest contribution from you, entrepreneurs in countries such as Rwanda, Ecuador and Cambodia can grow their businesses and then pay back the loan over time. You can then either withdraw your money or, even better, reinvest in another project and help someone else.

And if you spread the word around campus and get your friends involved, think of the difference that could make.


Help educate children worldwide

While you are studying at university, it’s worth remembering that not everyone has access to the education they need and want. Organisations such as UNICEF offer an easy way to donate so you can help their work in providing that education to children in need, due to factors such as poverty or conflict.

According to Save the Children, 124 million children or young people have either not started school or dropped out, with almost half of them in countries affected by war or disaster. You can also help educate refugee children through UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, whose work helps those fleeing Syria, Yemen, South Sudan and others – even relatively small donations can have a significant impact.


Get investing (or, at least, saving)

While it might seem a bit early to start worrying too much about your financial future, it really isn’t. Start the habit of saving some money in your 20s and you’ll be glad you did in a decade or two – guaranteed!

Sadly, cash in the bank doesn’t deliver the returns it used to, so you might be tempted to explore other ways of investing too. Stocks and bonds carry more risk, but the rewards can be far greater because of it. The trouble is – how do you know where to start and not get ripped off?

We liked this Save the Student article written by Andrew Hallam, author of Millionaire Teacher: The Nine Rules of Wealth You Should Have Learned in School, a book which aims to educate young people in the ways of finance so you know what to look out for. If portfolios, tracker funds and the like sound like a lot of hard work, this book could be a great investment in itself.


Help someone else… and yourself

Of course, you may be thinking that last suggestion isn’t very altruistic. But there’s no reason why you can’t look after your own needs and do some good too. The opportunities to volunteer as a student are almost endless, and it’s not too difficult to find a cause that resonates with you, with hours that fit in with your study schedule.

The Prospects website is a great place to start, as it points you in the direction of all sorts of volunteering opportunities in the UK and abroad. From conservation to medical volunteering, and even things you may not expect like sports coaching or volunteering at a museum or arts festival, there is always a way to help that’s right for you.

So, give your time, make a difference and you can spend that extra money on whatever you like… guilt-free.


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