If you’ve just had your results back and have found that you’re heading off to university this year, then it’s time to start thinking about how you’re going to manage your money. Many prospective students will have heard the scaremongering stories about the cost of university and how difficult it is to make ends meet. Remember, in a financial emergency short term loans to suit you are always an option. However, it’s not difficult to learn to keep track of your finances and avoid student debts.
The first thing you’re going to need to learn how to do is budget. You’ll need to work out exactly how much your income equals, whether it’s from a part time job or your student loan company, and then compare this with your expected cost of living. Things to consider include the cost of your accommodation, bills, travel, books, food and how much you’re going to set aside for enjoying the university nightlife! Once you’ve set your budget, it’s essential to try and stick to it by reviewing your spending and statements on a regular basis. Of course, once you’ve actually moved out you’ll have a better idea of how much you will be spending on a weekly basis so you might need to reassess.
Shop Late At Night
There are plenty of ways to keep the cost of your food down, from choosing own brand products to shopping at several different supermarkets to take advantage of the best deals. One tried and tested method that works at any supermarket is shopping later in the evening. This is the golden hour when supermarket staff put yellow reduced stickers on all the items which are going to go out of date soon. This means that you can get some quality products for over half the price.
Use Your Student Discount Card
One of the many perks of being a student is that you are entitled to take advantage of student discount cards. Whether it is an NUS one, which you have to pay for, or a free UniDays account you’ll be entitled to a huge number of discounts on restaurants, clothes shops, travel and cinema trips. Every time you go out, get into the habit of checking your student discount apps to find out whether you’re entitled to reduced prices. Sometimes you can even try flashing your student ID at the cashier and they may provide you with a discount that you wouldn’t know about otherwise.
Choose a Student Bank Account
Before you pack your bags and head off to university it’s a good idea to set up a student bank account. Not only do some student bank accounts give you access to interest free overdrafts, they also often come with additional freebies and perks which can help you to save money in the future. Some student bank accounts offer a free railcard, which will provide you with discounted train travel for a year and is well worth having.
Generic advice is not a service regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.