College Advice Blog

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Jun 22, 2012

5 Survivor Tips for Student Finances


Recently, many students are leaving university with debt due to the growing cost of tuition.  If you are currently a student, it is important that you work to a budget in order to make the deficit as small as possible.
  1. Live on a budget.
Upon starting university, try working out a weekly budget and make it a priority to commit to it throughout your stay. 

Consider working out how much you will receive every month from your student loan, any part time jobs and parent contributions. Divide this amount by four to give you a weekly budget. It is a good idea to withdraw this amount in cash and leave debit and credit cards alone. 

Only having cash makes it easier to see how much money you have left at any one time. Whilst it may be tempting to spend the full student loan allowance in fresher weeks, this will only lead to more debt and stress later on in life.
  1. Get a part time job.
Although you may baulk at the idea of getting a job whilst studying, it does make good financial sense. Even if you do not want a part time job during your studies, it is important to gain some extra income in the holidays. 

It is important to maximize any income that is generated during this time. Currently, UK students can earn up to £4,745 without being taxed. If you do not expect to earn over this amount during your holidays, ask your employer for a P38(s) form, which means you will not have to pay tax on your earnings from the first pay packet. 
  1. Stay in university accommodation.
At most schools, university accommodation is cheaper than renting privately. It is a good idea to try live in university accommodation for as long as possible. Many universities offer all students their first year in digs before expecting them to make their own arrangements in the latter years. Many will allow students to return in the second and third years of their degree. It is worth asking individual university on their policy.
  1. Learn to cook.
Get in touch with your inner chef and enjoy it. Your bank account will love you for it. It is much cheaper to prepare your own food at university rather than to continually rely on convenience foods. This type of food has risen in price sharply over the last few years. 

There is an endless supply of student cook books, which detail healthy and nutritious meals that will not break the bank. Try to shop in bulk. This will save you money and encourage you to cook even more.  
  1. Consider student discounts.
There are hundreds of companies in the United Kingdom that offer discounts to students. In order to keep on top of your finances, it is worthwhile to maximize such offers. Discounts can be found on food, cinema tickets and clothes to name but a few. It is also worth searching around for vouchers and offers which will help save money.

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About The Author
Amy Harris is a writer for FinancialTraining.co.uk – which helps British and international students find the right financial courses in London and the UK. Amy is an American expat herself, and enjoys helping people find their dream job, no matter where in the world it may be located.
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