Once tuition fees, takeaways and textbooks have been paid for, there’s not much left in the bank come end of term for cash-strapped students feeling the pinch. Whether they’re in part-time employment or not, keeping afloat financially is often just a big challenge for students as studying for the most taxing of degree courses. Half of students recently surveyed admitted to running out of money before their next loan payment or maintenance grant, leaving them potentially penniless until their next transfer. While many students can rely on the bank of mum and dad and the good grace of generous friends to tide them over their destitute days, for many more, a financial safety net is not an option. With significant rises in tuition fees and the average cost of living, more and more students are finding themselves priced out of higher education. For those who do study, keeping in the black as far as their bank accounts concerned can be a constant battle, but with a little financial planning and basic budgeting, it needn’t be.
Taking Stock of the Situation
The most important thing for any student looking to maintain a healthy bank balance for the whole term, getting realistic about their financial situation is the first port of call. All of the essential outgoings need to be addressed immediately and marked as priority payments. Rent, utilities and any other regular outgoings need to be paid for first, while food and other essentials that need to be paid for must also be budgeted for. Identifying the necessities and how much they cost will help any student determine the basic cost of living they’ll need to cover. If current incomings aren’t enough to cover the basics, it’s a clear sign that some serious changes need to be made.
Making the Most of Online Vouchers and Discounts
When budgeting, luxuries are often the first thing to go from the shopping list, but this needn’t always be the case. It’s still possible to buy popular brands and more premium products without derailing a budget. Online voucher codes and promos offers are an easy way of scoring big discounts on popular products. There’s hundreds of dedicated sites online outlining the best active voucher codes out there, from 50% savings on grocery orders, to huge discounts on popular foods, toiletries and clothing. There are sites like this one who collect such online vouchers.
Slashing Transport Costs
Transport costs can be a killer for anybody, but for students, shelling out for monthly bus and public transport passes be crippling financially. Many students in the UK don’t realise they’re entitled to a third off every rail journey by making use of the Young Persons Railcard scheme. It costs a mere £28 a year to sign up for a card, with cardholders able to use the impressive discounts on every type of journey, in any class and with any carrier. Students wanting to travel home or get out and explore while studying can also make big savings by booking in advance. Combined with a Young Persons Railcard reduction, it’s possible to travel cross country for only a few pounds.
Whether it’s planning a menu for a week, or knowing just how much disposable income there is to play with each month, making a thorough financial plan can seriously help students save. Overspending on food can be instantly dealt with by sticking to a meal planner and grocery budget, while setting aside an allowance for socialising can help reduce the urge to splurge on impromptu drinks and evenings out. Many students often find themselves in the red by the arrival of unexpected bills, so setting up a small savings account on the side for a rainy day will also help many from ending up in financial ruin weeks from the end of a term and their next maintenance grant or bursary payment.