It’s that time of year when students start to think about returning to university. For some pupils this will be the first time that they have lived away from home, and what with the rising costs of food, travel, fuel and utility bills, managing their money could be a real challenge.
However, with a little insight and forward planning, there are tons of ways in which a student can save money, from choosing the right student bank account, to sorting out discounts on their council tax.
We listed the top ways in which money can be saved, and remember, every penny you keep for yourself is more for those important things in life, like partying!
First stop is to pick up a NUS card from the Student Union. This card offers discounts from loads of stores, including Amazon, Topshop and many others. Typically you’ll get around 10% off most High Street retailers, and figures show that savings from using the card can be more than £500 a year.
Young person’s railcard
For those students who have to travel to their university, a young person’s railcard is essential. Costing £30 for one year or £70 for three, ask your parents to foot this bill, as many want to help but don’t know where to start. You’ll get a third off rail travel across the UK.
Student bank account
Choosing the best student bank account depends on what your priorities are. Some offer great freebies, but this is only good if you are likely to use them, so check carefully. The main consideration is the overdraft, a good rule of thumb is to choose one that increases with time, showing that once you prove yourself to be able to budget effectively, you’ll be rewarded with more trust from your bank. Also consider whether the bank is local and located near to you. Students tend to visit their branch in person more often, so it is important to have one that is close by.
A quick look at current student accounts shows that the best banks for overdrafts are Halifax and HSBC, with limits of up to £3,000. NatWest has an account where the overdraft gradually increases, and Santander are offering a free 16-25 railcard to all who sign up to its student account.
Did you know that you don’t have to pay your TV licence if you watch programmes via catch-up websites or on apps on computers or tablet devices? However, if you watch live programmes online or on a TV set, and they’ll be liable, you do need one. TV licences cost £145.50 per year, but you can get a part refund for the time where you are not at university.
There are many ways to save money on your council tax, firstly, you do not have to pay the charge if you live with other students in halls or if everyone who lives in a privately rented house is a student. If they are sharing with a working person, that person will have their bill reduced by 25pc.
Students are entitled to free prescriptions, dental treatment and eye tests, so take advantage and if you need glasses or dental treatment, get it while you are at university. For advice call the Health Line on 0845 850 1166.
Textbooks can prove to be really expensive, but you don’t need to buy every single one. Choose the ones that you will be referring back to on a regular basis, and then borrow the others from the university library. Or see if your university sells off second hand books from ex students, you may even get some good notes written in the margins!