Managing your money
Budgets can be tight when you’re studying, but you can still live well and enjoy yourself. University might be your first experience of living independently and looking after your money, so follow our money-saving tips to help you spend your cash wisely.
- Shop around for bank accounts – many offer incentive gifts or better interest rates
- Technology is your friend - app based banks and automatic saving apps give you greater control over your money.
- Check your bank balance regularly – this helps to stop overspending
- Open a savings account - transfer some of your loan and wages into your savings account as soon as you get them, so you don't spend it all straight away
Food and drink
- Look out for ‘reduced’ stickers – head to the reduced section in supermarkets for the best deals, you’ll normally find the biggest selection in the evening
- Make a groceries list – stick to your list to avoid impulse-buying
- Freeze food if you don't think you'll use it, or make meals in batches to freeze multiple portions
- Make your own lunch rather than buying food on the go
- Pay attention to the ‘price per kg’ on labels when food shopping to get the best value for money
- Don’t shop on an empty stomach – you’ll end up buying snacks you don’t need
- Go meat-free – meat is often the most expensive part of a meal. Replace it with cheaper alternatives like tinned beans and lentils
Set a realistic limit on how you’ll spend during the week by taking out weekly cash. So once you’ve reached this cap, you won’t spend any more during the week!
- Get a student discount card – many high street shops and supermarkets accept discount cards and you can save a lot by using them
- Collect and spend loyalty points – get something back for the money you spend
- Price compare – spend time finding out which shops sell items at the best price
- Use the library instead of buying books – many of the books you’ll need for your studies can be found in the library for free
- Buy from charity shops– save money and give something back by shopping in charity shops
- Swap clothes with your friends - you don’t need to shop to get a new outfit
- Have a no-spend day – try one day a week when you don’t spend any money
- Take cash on nights out and leave your card at home – decide how much you’re willing to spend and only take that amount of cash. Make sure you have enough to get home at the end of the night
- Join student clubs and societies – membership often includes discounted access to facilities and equipment, making your hobbies more affordable
- Shop around for discounts – sites like Vouchercodes, Groupon, and Tastecard give you discounts for different experiences
I would suggest learning to cook at least two good meals and make enough to put these in the freezer and stock up on for days you're too busy to cook or for future use.
- Reduce your electricity bills by installing energy-saving bulbs in your home and turning off devices when not in use (standby mode still uses some electricity)
- Save on your heating bills by layering up when you get chilly. Hold off on the thermostat and grab a jumper or blanket
Myth-busting finance facts
Make your money go further by being savvy about your finances. We’ve busted a few myths about money to get you ahead of the game.
All debt is bad debt
False - Going to university would be difficult for many students without a student loan. Because of the way government student loans are repaid they are always affordable. They’re also different from other loans, as the money you owe is written off after 30 years.
The larger the maintenance loan, the higher your repayments
False - Bigger loans don't mean bigger monthly repayments. Your repayments are based on how much you earn, not how much you owe.
Student loans will affect your credit score
False - Your student loan won't show up on your credit report so it can't affect your credit score. However, you may be asked about it as part of a mortgage affordability check.
If I move abroad, I won’t have to repay my student loan
False - You’ll still have to pay for the amount you earn above the threshold, adjusted to local currency. The Government recently stated they will investigate this kind of situation more thoroughly in future. Look out for updates.
Your student loan attracts interest
True - Interest will be added to your student loan. This is currently calculated as inflation, plus up to 3% more, depending on how much you earn. But remember, the amount you pay back every month is not affected by how much you owe, only how much you earn.