Money management can be one of the trickiest and most agonising aspects of student life. Student finance deposits a lump sum three times per year into your bank account and it is up to you to make it last! If you like to splash the cash this can prove difficult…
But don’t fret just yet, we share some useful hints and tips for maximising that student loan.
Depending on where you are studying, transport expenses can take a sizeable chunk from your budget. Regular bus and train fares to lectures and social events soon add up.
However there are various options available for saving students money. In many areas there are cut-price student travel passes, with some towns and cities offering free public transport. So don’t simply jump on the bus, take some time to investigate cheaper fares.
A 16-25 Railcard is well worth the investment for those frequently travelling home. Although it costs £30 per year, the card saves 1/3 off rail travel and could pay for itself in a single journey! In addition for anybody studying in London, the pass can be linked with an Oyster card to reduce transport fares across the capital.
Purchasing a bicycle will also save you cash. A cheap second-hand bike can be acquired easily and is then a quick – and free – means of travel. However, use a sturdy bike lock: there’s nothing worse than coming out of a lecture to find your bike missing a rear wheel!
If you look carefully there are some great wifi deals to be found. Although this can be a tedious process, potential saving are worth the effort. Many providers like Virgin and BT offer telephone and wifi bundles, particularly around the beginning of term. Enquire with your university as to whether they have a deal with any providers.
Now you’re no longer living off the bank of mum and dad, food shopping is up to you. While the prospect of guzzling pizzas and donuts with no parents to object may fill you with glee, food shopping can be surprisingly expensive.
While there are the obvious cut price stores like Lidl and Aldi, the savvy shopper can secure outrageous deals at rival superstores. Head to Sainsbury, Tesco or the Co-operative just before closing and snap up products on sale. Find a pint of milk for 15p or a £3.50 ready meal being flogged for under 50p!
No such thing as a free lunch right? Wrong! On internet sites like Gumtree many people give away unwanted items including; sofas, wardrobes, crockery and desks. For as student trying to furnish a new flat this is a gold mine. Providing you are able to collect these items (this may require a car) they are yours for the taking.
Ace bank accounts
Most banks offer student bank accounts for storing and managing savings and loans. There are some great perks from many of these accounts and it is worth shopping around to find the option that suits you best. For example, HSBC is giving away a £60 Amazon voucher, while Santander offers a free 3-year travel-card worth almost £90!
So, student life doesn’t necessarily mean being short of cash. By managing your budget well and making sneaky savings that student loan can go a long way!
Photos: Shutterstock/ connel, phloxii, qvist, Lisa S., Gustavo Frazao