Budget savvy tips for students
As freshers’ week kicks off across the UK, for many students it will be the first time they’ve had to think about personal finances or budgeting.
According to the Institute of Fiscal Studies, the average graduate accumulates a staggering £50,000 of debt over a three-year degree.
While we can’t magic up a money tree, we have put together a few budget-savvy tips to help students get to grips with budgeting.
- Student bank account: Get a student bank account that offers an interest-free overdraft for the longest period possible. An interest-free overdraft can help prevent you needing to apply for a credit card which will charge interest on your borrowing.
- How much do you have per week? Your student loan is paid into your bank account in three instalments at the start of each term, so it might seem like you’ve loads of cash to splash in freshers’ week – but you haven’t. That money needs to last the whole term, so, having put aside the rent, insurances etc. divide it up by the number of weeks in the term and spend it wisely
- Accommodation: Many first-year students are offered accommodation in halls of residence that are managed by their university but can be expensive. By your second year the chances are you’ll need to rent a property in the private sector. Remember that going into a rented property, you’ll need to pay a deposit and you might be asked to pay rent over the summer to secure the property. Also remember to check your energy bills and see if you can change tariffs for a cheaper option.
- Insurance and taxes: You’ll probably have some expensive equipment with you like a laptop or phone, so check whether your items come under your parents’ home insurance.
- Get on your bike: If you live close to the university then why not walk to lectures or use a bike? Not only is it a healthier option, but is also a good way to save money on public transport or running a car.
- Do some paid part-time work: If you have the time, a part time job will benefit financially and look good on your CV.
- Avoid expensive broadband bills: If you’re in private accommodation then consider whether you really need to take on a pricey broadband contract. You can get it free at the university and most cafes and shops out and about.
- Look out for student deals on software: Most students can get Microsoft’s entire Office suite of programmes, and other freebies, for no cost.
- Use your NUS Card for Discounts: An NUS Extra Card unlocks student discounts across the UK from supermarkets to cinemas, pizza restaurants and bus companies.
- Don’t buy new books: Depending on your course, some textbooks can be really pricey. You can’t get by without them, but check noticeboards and online sites like eBay for second hand bargains.
Although university life comes with plenty of hard work, there’s also lots of fun to be had too, so remember to strike the right balance between work and play and keep a close eye on those finances!