From saving money for rent and cutting costs on food shops, to looking after your car and not getting into unnecessary debt, money experts (and our own team) impart their financial wisdom and share how they can help you…
Keep Track, Be Honest and Do Your Homework
Alison Pask, Managing Director of Financial Capability and Community Outreach, at the London Institute of Banking & Finance says…
Keep track of what you spend: There’s nothing worse than running out of money and not being able to afford the basics, such as food. Doing a budget helps you keep track of what you spend versus what money you have coming in, helps you avoid running out of money and ensures you’re able to make choices about what you want to spend your money on. There are lots of free tools to help you budget, or just make a list to help you keep track, making sure you don’t forget any regular bills that come out of your bank account. It may help to split your income up into a monthly allowance, so if you overspend one month you can make savings the following month.
Be open: If you’re having money troubles and get advice from people you trust, such as parents or impartial sites such as the Money Advice Service. The worst thing you can do if you have money worries is bury your head in the sand, do nothing, or try and solve it by going to a ‘pay-day’ loan company or similar. Talk to your parents and your friends – they’ll likely have been through similar situations – and tackle things sooner rather than later. The later you leave things, the worse it will get.
Do your homework - If you do need to get a short-term loan, go to a big-name brand and check how much interest you will pay. A high percentage figure (called APR in the jargon) means you’ll pay more back! If you’re using a credit card to get you through short term cash flow issues, make sure you pay back what you owe quickly – don’t just make the minimum payment. For help on managing debt, visit impartial sites such as National Debtline.
Sell Your Unwanted Stuff
A recent study revealed that Brits could be sitting on £290 worth of unwanted tech items, so by selling these items, you could have your next few food shops covered, and even some money left over for a few nights out! So, if you have a load of unused video games or old tech lying around, such as old phones or consoles, then trade them in to
musicMagpie to get some extra cash.
Another top tip is to use a spending tracker app. It’s so easy to lose track of your spending but with a spending tracker, you can see all of your outgoings and identify where you can cut back. Just enter your current balance and then deduct purchases as you make them!
Set Targets and Put Money Aside
Ollie Purdue, Founder and CEO of Digital Current Account Provider, Loot says…
"Students notoriously have very little money to play with, so it’s important to make it go as far as possible. The best part of being a student is that, typically, you don’t have to worry about a mortgage or supporting a full family – it’s the time of life when you can really go out and have fun!
"The first step to making the most of the opportunities being a student presents are to take control of your finances. Whether it’s a night out, a birthday or a holiday, taking a close look at your spending, setting targets and regularly putting aside money ensures that you never miss out. Thankfully,
new tech like Loot makes this easier than ever by analysing your spending and giving you an intelligent, accurate and easy to understand breakdown so you can see exactly where your money is really going."
Save Money On Your Car
Freddy Macnamara, founder and CEO of Cuvva, says…
Having a car at university can be an expensive luxury, so if you’re going to do it, it’s worth thinking about how you can keep the costs down. The biggest expense is likely to be insurance – in the last year, annual premiums have risen by a staggering 14.6% (Consumer Intelligence) and the average annual premium quote for 21-24-year-olds is now £1129 (
One way around this is to think about who you’re living with and whether you can effectively share one car between a household. Using a pay-as-you-go policy, you could borrow your housemate’s car for quick trips and you’ll only have to pay-by-the hour. If this arrangement suits everyone, then it could collectively save a group a lot of money. Getting short term insurance can also be a very quick, stress-free process – with
Cuvva, it can be completed on our app in just a few minutes.
You can also save money by driving economically to minimise your petrol consumption. Avoid going out in rush hour – traffic jams eat up a lot of fuel. Try to accelerate smoothly, travel at a constant speed and keep your tyre pressure high.
Also think about parking. Don’t arrive at your accommodation without a plan of action of where your car is going to be when you’re not using it. If there’s no allocated parking outside your building, check out local car parks and how long you can use them for free.
Finally, make sure you budget. At the beginning of the year, include the costs of petrol, parking and insurance into your term’s calculations.
Use Technology To Make Good Decisions
Simon Rabin, Founder and CEO of Chip say s…
There is so much patronising and confusing saving advice out there for students. Being told to cut back on avocado on toast or stay in rather than have a night out is not helpful or realistic. We think we should all be using technology to make better decisions for us, whilst also allowing us to live the life we want.
Chip’s algorithm calculates how much you can afford to save, without impacting your life, and automatically transfers these small amounts every few days to your Chip savings account. Before you know it, you’ll have saved enough for a long weekend away or to pay off your overdraft... and you can still go out just as much as before.
Take Advantage of Discounts
Anita Naik, Lifestyle Editor, VoucherCodes says…
If you’re getting cabin fever while stuck on campus, why not venture into the city for a spot of dinner? For cheaper meals out, check the
VoucherCodes app to browse offers at a range of restaurants near you. Lots of places now offer 2-4-1 deals and cheap set menus so you can enjoy a slap-up meal for less. It’s also worth checking your local pub – many will offer special deals for students, especially during the day.
Cheap as Chips
Let’s face it, even on a tight student budget everyone deserves a good old takeaway every now and again. There are loads of ways you can make your money go further so you can still enjoy a takeaway treat without destroying your budget. If you’re ordering a curry, why not cook your own rice to save paying for sides? Alternatively, save on delivery charges by collecting in-store and make the most of family deals by splitting the cost with your friends.
Stay prepped for the week ahead by buying food in bulk and cooking it in large batches. Remember, you can always freeze food in meal-sized portions to avoid it going to waste. Simple dishes like chilli are super easy to make in big batches and can be served with everything from jacket potatoes to rice, giving you plenty of variety in your diet.
Want to see your favourite DJ or band play but can’t quite justify the hefty ticket price? Check out Facebook event pages for people looking to sell their tickets at the last minute. There may be occasions when people are happy to accept less than face value for the ticket, so it’s always worth having a look. Also, if you have spare time in the summer – sign up to festival volunteering sites as they offer tickets at some of the biggest gigs of the year in exchange for a few hours work.
Get Your Card Out
A close companion throughout your student years is your NUS card. If you didn’t know already, this little saviour will get you discounts from some of the biggest names on the high-street. That’s not all though, you can also use it to get reductions on everything from travel to cinema and theatre tickets, so make sure you’re making the most of it.
Save and Stroll
Travel can be expensive and we all want to stay healthy, so why not save by swapping the bus for walking? Not only will it help you hit your 10,000 steps a day target, it’s also a great way to take some much-needed time away from studying – try using the extra time to listen to inspirational podcasts and reflect on your day.
Earn While You Learn
If you fancy earning a bit of extra cash, it’s worth signing up to market research and mystery shopper sites. These companies regularly look for students to work with them for a couple hours a week doing things like answering online surveys or even doing a bit of shopping. If that’s not your thing, try signing up to task websites - locals around you may need a hand mowing their lawn or walking their dog for an hour, perfect if you want to finance your next night out.
Socialising on a Shoestring
If you’re planning a night out with a friend or your other half – why not consider going out for dinner during the week rather than on a Saturday? A number of restaurants offer money off deals on week nights to get people through their doors, so check apps like VoucherCodes for any restaurants near you that are running offers – you’ll be surprised at the variety of different cuisines and discounts you can find.
Keep on Top of Money
Your financial footprint
As you get older and start to sort your own money you need to become more aware of what your financial behaviour is telling other people about you. Once you turn 18 your credit score and report is born. The financial decision you make from then on make an impact on this score and it’s important to keep it healthy. Maintaining a good credit score means you’ll have access to financial products with the best deals, such as mobile phone contracts and credit cards.
Get the right bank account
Spend some time researching all the student bank accounts available well before you leave for university. Don't just choose a bank because they happen to have a branch on your campus – while it would be useful, most banks will have branches in your local town centre and online banking as standard.
Don’t go crazy on your student loan
Don’t burn through your entire student loan in the first term despite the temptation. Try to keep tabs on your bank balance and what you are spending, to avoid any nasty surprises.
The dangers of defaulting on a loan or credit card
Despite their best intentions students can take out a short or long term loan or a credit card to help keep them afloat. If you do take out a loan or credit card make sure you shop around for the best deal. You don’t want to damage your credit score so it’s crucial you don’t miss a payment. Ensuring you pay what you owe on time is a must. Setting up a direct debit is the best way to ensure this never happens.
Avoid the utility bill trap
Having a shared bank account where money for bills is paid into will mean you are "co-scored" by agencies. If your housemates are unreliable and regularly behind with repayments consider keeping your finances completely separate.
As Justin Basini, chief executive of
, highlights: "Actions that may seem harmless at the time, such as missing or ignoring a minor payment on a shared account, can come back to haunt graduates years after leaving university. ClearScore
"These mistakes could easily affect their credit scores which in turn can impact everything from taking out a mobile phone contract to renting or buying a property later down the line.
"A better credit score ultimately leads to better deals on credit products and getting a grip on this sooner rather than later will help students and graduates get set up for a more stable financial future."