It isn’t always easy to manage personal finances for college and university students. You haven’t got a full-time salary that you can rely on and you’ll need to keep costs to a minimum to manage day to day living. Saving money is hard enough, limiting social spending will be a big challenge for many.
To start, you will need to track all of your income and expenditure. It may be helpful to create a spreadsheet and enter the various amounts into it. This will allow you to see what you’re spending money on at a quick glance and make any necessary changes. You should include income from student loans, maintenance grants, bursaries or any scholarships that you may receive. If a family member is also providing financial support, include this too. Don’t forget about any income you may receive from part-time work.
Savvy University Students Saving On Utility Bills
To maximise your savings, you’ll need to think about a number of different ways to reduce your weekly and monthly costs. This is where Utility Saving Expert, an online energy comparison site can help students in a number of ways. If you’re living in private rented accommodation, you can use their free tools to find cheaper home energy and contents insurance. Drive a car? Compare car insurance policies from industry-leading providers. With the right gas and electricity tariff and supplier, you could be saving hundreds of pounds annually.
Food shopping is another area where you’ll have to be cost-conscious. A larger shop at the beginning of the week is better than relying on takeaways every other night. Supermarket value goods instead of well-known brands can help you save money. You can also see discounts on food items by arriving at the supermarket towards the end of the day, take advantage of these. Preparing meals for lunch the next day instead of purchasing lunch from a sandwich or coffee shop will also help you save.
Transportation is another area to consider. Most universities have an excellent public transport network and the campus can easily be reached from your doorstep in a short space of time. Anyone who’s travelling by train regularly should purchase a 16-25 railcard. This costs around £30 each year and will give you one third off all rail fares. Local buses are still a viable option to getting around, look to see if you’re able to get a student discount on tickets or weekly/monthly passes.
There are also a number of websites that you can register with online which entitle you to student discounts on different products or services. For example, this could be for clothing or electronics.
Once your lecturer has provided you with your reading list for the upcoming academic year. It’s a good idea to buy any essential books second-hand where possible. You won’t need to purchase every book, as those that will be used infrequently can be borrowed from the university’s library.
Those living in private rented accommodation with other students will need to share the costs for gas, electricity, water and the internet. Comparison sites such as Utility Saving Expert can quickly help you find the best deal. It’s a good idea to set up a monthly direct debit so you’re billed automatically, helping you avoid any late payment fees. You can even compare mobile phone deals and contents insurance online. Sim only deals will often prove to offer the best value on minutes, texts and that all important data.
Open a student bank account. This can help you budget easier; you will also be given access to various perks such as a larger fee free overdraft limit. Some banks have previously offered a free 16-25 railcard. You should compare each bank’s student account offers to see what benefits you most.
Larger overdrafts will normally be more valuable to students compared to a freebie. This gives you peace of mind knowing that if you do incur extra costs for any unforeseen circumstances, you won’t be charged high interest rates and fees. Remember that an overdraft isn’t free money and should only be used in an emergency, as you will be expected to pay back this amount once you graduate.
Most undergraduate students will have a low income and have to balance their budget to manage day to day living expenses. This can prove challenging and as a result, some will find themselves in debt. Should this happen, it’s important to address it as soon as possible so it doesn’t have a negative impact on your studies. Afterall, that is why you’re at college or university. If you do find yourself in debt, don’t stress. Academic institutions have a number of advisors on site that are able to provide the necessary support.
In summary, university students will have to become financially responsible and take the necessary steps to save money where possible. There are a number of different steps that students can take to maximise their spending power, some of which we have outlined above. We wish you every success in your course.
25 May, 2020