As far as finances are concerned, making the decision to go to University is a big step. Prospective students not only have the dilemma of which course to do and will they get the grades, but also the consideration of how much debt they will potentially walk away with in the end adding up tuition fees, maintenance loans and the dreaded interest. It is important to mention here that you don’t actually start paying back any of these things until you are earning at least £21,000.
I went to University at the (oh so mature) age of 24. This was mainly due to a road accident leaving me with a leg fracture. Whilst I was recuperating from this injury at home I did a course in business administration at college, to ease the boredom, and had started work as a medical secretary in a large hospital. I started the degree part time and continued working full time, reducing it to part time in the 2nd year and then gave it up completely for the crucial 3rd year. I took out a student loan each of the three years and have since paid it all back gradually when I did start work and honestly didn’t really even notice it.
I have returned to education as a very mature student (and this time obviously I do have to pay fees!). Although I have a husband now who is working and paying the bills it is still important to budget and keep an eye on the cash.
Here is some of my advice to those new students who have just started University:
Make the most of student discounts by getting a NUS card – you can even get discounts on food shopping at Coop!
- If you are sharing a house with friends take turns to cook meals as often cooking for four can be done for not much more than cooking for one. Learn to cook a few specialty dishes really well to make you very popular!
- If you are living on your own or with strangers meal plan to avoid wastage.
- Don’t buy books from new as you can often pick up the same 2nd hand or on loan from the library for cheaper or free. Just don’t forget to renew library books!
- Go food shopping around Saturday teatime when the supermarkets are drastically slashing the price of fresh produce that is close to its sell by date.
- Research student bank accounts for the best deal for you. Check out the TSB student accounts that are available.
- Check out charity shops for some amazing vintage buys to combine with high street fashions.
TSB have put together their Savvy Student Guide with some fantastic financial tips too!
What would be your number one budgeting tip for students just starting University?
This post is an advertisement for which I have received vouchers as compensation but all views and opinions expressed are my own unbiased.