The start of university is an exciting time, but there’s often lots to do to be fully equipped for student life. With the cost of living and tuition fees at the forefront of students’ minds this September, Pip Landers-Letts, Head of Youth, Student & Graduate Propositions at Barclays shares her top tips on how students can keep their finances in check during university and how to save money while pursuing a degree.
1. Boss your budget and save smarter:
Before the uni term kicks off, take a bit of time to do some personal admin and take your finances through a MOT – this way you’ll have a clear picture of what your finances look like and can start to work your budget accordingly. Your student loan is there to help you get through the term, so make sure you spend it wisely. Work out how much money you have coming in (e.g. student loans, grants, cash from relatives, part-time job), and try and put budgets against how much is going out (e.g. rent, bills, food, socialising, course materials). Knowing your incomings and outgoings is essential to building a solid budget and can help you figure out how much money you can spend eachweek. Most online banking apps have money management tools to help you stay in control of your budgeting and work out where your money is going so don’t forget to make the most of them too.
2. Find the right student account:
Shop around and make use of comparison sites to find the best account for you.. Remember, it’s not just about the perks but think about all the other things the account offers you, including money management and budgeting tools. Barclayshas recently announced it will also be offering digital account opening for its Student Additions Account, meaning that students can easily open an account through the Barclays app in minutes from a place that suits them. All you need is a selfie, ID and a UCAS code. As well as getting access to all the money management tools in the Barclays app, students will also receive a free 12-month subscription to Perlego, the online learning library that gives you access to over 400,000 academic and non-fiction titles
3. Plan your meals:
Preparing food at home to take into uni can help you save money each week – and you’re more likely to make healthier choices, too. From the coffee on the way to lectures, to the sandwiches at the uni canteen, eating out on a regular basiscan add up. View eating out as a treat and make sure you budget these occasions accordingly. When doing your weekly food shop, think about buying in bulk and cooking in batches. Not only will you save yourself money but you also avoid the hassle of preparing individual meals each day. If you live with friends, then cook together or take it in turn to cook on different nights.This makes dinner more sociable and helps save you a bit of money here and there.
4. Buy second-hand:
From English Literature to Chemistry, most university courses require you to purchase different books for various modules over the years. Instead of buying them fresh, try and get in touch with students from previous years to see if they are willing to selltheir old books for a cheaper price. You can also go online to see if you can buy any of your course books second hand or even pop your head in a charity shop. If you are a Barclays customer , you also get the perk of a 12 month free subscription toPerlego, an online book library which gives you access to more than 400,000 academic and non-fiction titles for free which could save you hundreds of pounds.
5. Budget socialising:
We all enjoy getting out and about and trying new things with our friends. But it doesn’t have to cost the earth. There will be so many free and fun things you can do at your student union or in your local area from one off events to hidden activitiesyou never even knew about – so invest your time in finding these gems and exploring your new home.
6. Discounts, deals and freebies:
Most shops and restaurants around the country – both in store and online – offer student discounts, so make the most of it while you’re at uni. Make sure you look around before you buy as there are lots of great savings deals and vouchercodes available for students.
7. Take advantage of the 16-25 railcard:
The majority of students will need to hop on a train to get to their respective homes, or will go to meet friends who have gone to different universities. With this in mind, it might be a good idea to invest in a railcard, which will get you a third off train fares. For just £30 a year, you’ll only need to take a few trips for this card to pay for itself.
8. Consider a part-time job:
If your university course hasn’t got many contact hours, then you could consider getting a part time job to do alongside your studies. Landing a job in the student bar could be just as fun as going there socially and you could even get the perks of discounts on food and drink. Also, working a few days a week could be a nice change of scene to studying, allows you to meet new people, and adds experience to your C.V, which will help you get a job once you’ve graduated.