It’s a well-established fact that students are always short on money. If stereotypes were to be believed, students are always calling their parents to beg for money, while eating noodles for every meal as it’s all they can really afford.
While there is some truth to the fact that most students will struggle for funds, this doesn’t have to be the case. If you’re willing to put the effort into saving money where you can, then you can reap the financial rewards. A little research and a lot of savviness goes a long way when it comes to student finances; here are a few ideas to get your started.
NUS Cards & Discounts
If you don’t have an NUS card, then you need to buy one. The small upfront fee will repay itself many times over, especially if you like to eat out or buy yourself the occasional treat. It’s also worth taking the time to register with Unidays while you’re at it; great online discounts are available, and they’ll save you a fortune.
The Young Penalty
There are ways in which it’s more expensive to be under the age of 25 than it is at any other point in your life. There are a variety of ways in which it’s more expensive to be under the age of 25, from not being eligible for tax credits through higher costs for motoring.
So what’s the solution here? Learn. If you find yourself disadvantaged by your age, then do all you can to find the loopholes. While you might not be able to get tax credits or other welfare payments, you might be able to get financial assistance from your university. Additionally, you can save money on young driver insurance by adding a parent to the policy, or at least ensuring you run through comparisons before buying. There are always workarounds; you just have to be willing to put the time and effort into finding them.
Student Bank Accounts
If you haven’t switched from a standard bank account to a student account, then you need to go and do that right now — well, as soon as you’ve read the rest of this article, anyway. Student bank accounts are more forgiving than standard accounts, and could provide a vital source of funds while you’re waiting for your next loan instalment to arrive.
Avoid Predatory Credit Card Lenders
Credit card providers love students. Students have very little money, so they need to use credit if they want to be able to pay for a few luxuries — or sometimes, just be able to afford the budgets. As a result, credit cards are easy to obtain, as lenders are banking on you graduating and thus being able to repay. They also want to secure you as a customer for the future by building a relationship with you while you’re young. There’s no harm in having a single credit card, but keep the limit low and always try to pay off as much of the balance as possible every month.
Supermarket Shopping At The Right Time
Don’t just go to the supermarket when you have tie. If you plan your trips carefully, then you will be able to take advantage of the reduced items on special offer. Supermarkets vary their reductions, but as a general rule, 7.30pm to 9pm should be consider the perfect time to snag yourself a bargain. It’s worth investing in a small freezer so you can buy meat and ready meals at a discount, then freeze them until needed.
Be Disloyal With Multiple Loyalty Cards
Loyalty cards are meant to be just that; ways to encourage customers to be loyal. There’s nothing stopping you from having an entire wallet full of different loyalty cards, though. Look out for special offers that allow you to double or triple points accumulated on a shop, which can allow you to build up a substantial balance in a short period of time. The Nectar scheme and Tesco Clubcard should be your first port of call, while beauty fans might also want to consider the Boots Advantage scheme or Superdrug’s BeautyCard.
Life as a student is tough. The requirements of your degree mean that you have no choice but to try and exist on a meagre budget, which can be disheartening. However, as the above ideas show, this reality doesn’t mean you can’t apply some crucial financial savvy to your student life — and live as well as you possibly can, right through to graduation.