Being a student is not a cheap thing to do, studying at university costs many students around £10,000 per year. Learning how to make the most of what money you do have coming in, whether it be from your parents, loans, grants, or part time jobs, is therefore very important otherwise you could end up in significant debt when you leave University.
Creating a Budget
One of the first things it’s advisable to do, is to sit down and make an income/expenditure sheet. This is a document which shows all the income you have, and from what sources, and all the outgoings you have too. It will help you to see how closely matched your income and expenditure are, and whether you have any shortfall or not. It is important to remember to include everything you are likely to spend, including money for food, petrol and socialisation, not just bills and course fees.
Closing the shortfall gap
After creating your budget sheet, you may find you have a shortfall that you need to fill. If you do, there are a number of ways you can look at doing this, your parents may be able to help you out, and you might be able to take on a part time job. If neither of these is possible, or if you still have a shortfall even with these in place, then it may be time to consider other options such as taking out a student loan.
Student loans are designed to help students cope with the expenses of studying. There are two types available, one for covering the cost of course fees, and another that can assist with the cost of living expenses. Many students are in fact eligible for both.
Student loans are backed by the UK government, and are only available to students. They have very low interest rates – currently 1.5% – but this is dropping to 0% from September. Student loans do not need to be paid back until you have finished your course, and are working earning at least £15,000 per annum.
Discounts and Offers
It’s worth remembering that as a student, you do get a few perks such as many shops offering you a discount just because you are a student. You can also look at purchasing an NUS extra card which costs a few pounds per year, but offers even more discounts from well known sites online and on the high street including places selling books, fast food, entertainment, clothing and more.
Socialising doesn’t have to be as expensive as you might think either. Look online for free and cheap deals on eating out and going bowling etc. Many places are offering 2 for 1 deals on a regular basis these days, which can seriously help reduce costs. There are also other ideas you can take advantage of too, such as Orange Wednesdays at the cinema (as long as they don’t clash with your course lectures), and buying pizza and some beers from the supermarket to share with your friends rather than going out for a meal and a drink.
Go Second Hand
Many students sell off items that they no longer need, and you can do this too to make a little extra cash. You can also take advantage of others doing this to help you replace things you need, or to buy course materials more cheaply etc. Look on student notice boards, make use of your local freecycle website, and online auction sites as well as charity shops. They’re all great sources for second hand items.