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, a valuable life skill for your independence.. Many prospective students will have heard the scaremongering stories about the cost of university and student life, and how difficult it is to make ends meet, or worse still, what if you are hit with an unexpected financial emergency. We, at Wizzcash believe having some money saved for a rainy day is better than relying on a payday loan. That’s why we have put together four handy tips to help you keep track of you spending and avoid increasing your 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 obvious university nightlife! Once you’ve set your budget, it’s essential to try and stick to it as much as you possibly can, 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. These days there are tons of apps that can help you to do this, you don’t need to be a part-time accountant on top of everything else you’ve got going on. Consider, if you are able, to put aside a small amount in a savings account, even if you have to use it at some point – just as a back up.
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 is to take a shopping list with you and make sure you stick to the list while in the supermarket. Another tip is to head to the supermarket 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 This is the golden hour when supermarket staff put yellow reduced stickers on all the items which are going to go out of date soon.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, it’s a good idea to check that they are items you can freeze, unless you plan on eating it that day. Also, making meals in bulk and freezing them is not only a time saver but saves on waste.
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. There are loads of places online that offer student discount too, so if there is something you need that you can get online it’s worth having a browse there as well. Sharing your tips with others is a good idea, you might get some in return.
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. Offers vary and can sometimes so it’s worth comparing banks to get the best deal for you. Learning to manage your finances early on in life – even while studying – can help set you up with good saving habits. There is funding available for those unexpected financial emergencies – for example short term loans. However, these can be costly, include interest and should only be used on a one off occasion.
Generic advice is not a service regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.