Money-saving tips for students

With thousands of teenagers across the UK starting university this autumn, we’ve compiled some money-saving tips for students. This blog aims to help undergraduates reduce costs and stay in the black.

Keep track of your spending.

Create a spreadsheet so you can see how much you have to spend each month.

Buy second-hand course books wherever possible.

You won’t need to buy them all and you can borrow set texts from the library. You’ll find cheap second-hand copies online or through your university and can sell the books when they’re no longer needed.

Don’t overpay for transport.

Most universities are either city-based with decent public transport links, or campus-based with everything on your doorstep. Take advantage of student discounts on travel.

Be smart with food shopping.

Do a big shop at the start of each week and minimise the number of takeaways you order. Share cooking duties with your housemates and plan your daily meals in advance.

Don’t just stick with your current bank.

All high street banks offer dedicated student bank accounts, so it’s well worth shopping around. Choosing wisely can help you to save money with freebies and discounts, pay less for borrowing in an emergency or if you overspend.

An overdraft usually beats free stuff.

Having an overdraft means the bank won’t charge you fees if you overspend. With a student account, you won’t pay to get an overdraft and the money borrowed won’t accumulate interest like with some regular accounts. You’ll only benefit from an overdraft by sticking to the terms so take time to read them!

Stockpile cash through lazy saving.

This is an easy way to save for emergencies or anything else you might need cash for in the future as your bank or savings app does everything automatically. With auto-saving, round up or save the change function whenever you pay with your debit card, the amount is rounded up to the nearest pound and the extra few pence are moved into a savings or side account.

Use credit cards sensibly.

Taking out credit to spend more than you have should only be used when it’s the cheapest means of borrowing. 0% credit cards are a bit like student overdrafts in that you won’t have to pay interest on the money borrowed. The only way to benefit from credit cards is to stick to the conditions. Once you start paying interest, fees or penalty charges, your credit effectively costs you more.

If you do get into debt, don’t panic.

Seek help as early as possible as your situation may be quickly resolved with the correct guidance. Deal with all letters or emails as soon as they arrive to make sure that you’re clued up on your finances. Keep all correspondence in case you need it later.

Talk to people.

Don’t suffer in silence. Share your money worries with family and friends as they can offer moral, if not financial, support. University student services are also there to offer help and advice, as student money advisers can often provide one-to-one support. If your institution can’t offer the help you require, contact professional debt charities such as the MoneyHelper, Step Change or the National Debtline, where you’ll receive free, impartial advice.

Whether you are a student or a home-owner, you may like our to ready our home money saving tips blog, here.

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