Going to university can be an exciting time, but it can also be an expensive one. After all, for many students, they'll be in charge of their own finances for the first time, which is a learning curve in itself! Knowing how to make your money go further can be one of the biggest challenges of student life, so here are a few top money saving tips to help you do just that.
- Know where you stand. Start the process by taking a look at your outgoings for the year ahead, including your accommodation costs, utility bills, insurance policies, potential food costs and any other associated spending. Once you know what you've got to contend with, you'll have a better idea of how to tackle it!
- Find the right student bank account. Next on your list should be finding the right student bank account to meet your needs, and remember to look closely at every feature – not just the freebies! Some will be useful, such as a railcard which can be used to cut the cost of rail travel for years to come, but make sure to focus on things like interest-free overdraft limits and accessibility.
- Get comparing. Now you're in the brand new world of money management, it's important to get into the habit of comparing quotes for all your financial products. This includes everything from mobile phone contracts to student insurance, and even utility providers if you're in a shared house and are responsible for organising such things – the more you can save on the essentials, the more you'll have to spend on the not-so-essentials!
- TV for free? Sorting out a TV licence is of course essential for all students, but after that you're far less restricted than you used to be. You'll probably want some kind of phone and broadband deal if you're in a shared house rather than student halls, but do you really need the TV package that goes along with it? Freeview could be a great way to go, and if you must have extra entertainment options, consider things like Netflix or Now TV that run on monthly subscriptions rather than tying you in to a set contract. That way, you can cancel it if you need the extra cash that month.
- Set a budget. It can be tough to restrict yourself, particularly if you're not used to money management, but try to avoid the temptation of blowing your entire student loan on a shopping spree or epic night out. Instead, work out what you'll need to spend on essentials each week and how much you can spare to enjoy yourself – you'll thank yourself later!
- Be a savvy spender. Always be on the lookout for ways to save some cash, be it through supermarket discounts or vouchers, free loyalty schemes with your favourite shops, or more student-focused deals. A student card (NUS Extra) should be at the top of the list, but make sure to do your research to see what else is out there.
- Get a part-time job. Chances are, your student loan won't go much further than your rent and food bills, so it could be worth getting a part-time job to supplement your income – provided it doesn't interfere with your studies, of course. Doing so can not only give you more financial freedom but it can reduce the chances of ending up in debt, and you may even find you can build a savings pot for an extra financial buffer.
- Stay focused. It can be easy to get overwhelmed when it comes to money matters, particularly if you're finding it difficult to make ends meet. But, if you stay focused, make cut-backs where you can and remember what it's all for, you'll hopefully be able to save some cash while living student life to the full. Enjoy!
Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.