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    Do you want to know how to save money as a student?

    Hannah is a student advisor at Cardiff University and is also a vice-chair of the National Association of Student Money Advisers (NASMA).

    Please be aware all answers will be posted on Tuesday 7 February.
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    I have a real problem with not being able to save money, Do you have any tips on being strict with not spending money on things that are not important and how to keep saving money?
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    What are the biggest barriers to students saving, and how can they save when it looks like money is tight?
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    Posted on behalf of: makaelar

    What are the main sites students use to help save money while in university eg coupons/ deals?
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    Anyone know any money saving websites?
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    (Original post by SophieAmelia98)
    I have a real problem with not being able to save money, Do you have any tips on being strict with not spending money on things that are not important and how to keep saving money?


    Budgeting and saving is easy; at least in theory! When it comes to actually managing your money though there are lots of things that affect how you spend and/or save. As a student it’s not always easy to save just for the sake of saving. Instead there is more of an emphasis on saving to help you manage your cashflow during the academic year.

    To work out what you could save, (and where you have to be strict with your budget) you first need to know where your money is going. It can be useful to complete a spending diary for a week or two. A spending diary is where you keep a record of all the money you spend so you can see what you’re spending it on. Alternatively you could look back at a bank statement and see if what you think you’re spending on a particular item, eg food or going out, is what you thought.

    You might be surprised by looking at where your money goes. For example, if you spend roughly £2.50 every week day, that adds up to £12.50 per week, which adds up to £600 over a whole year! So the little things in your budget can make quite a difference too.

    To be able to manage your money effectively you also need to know what your priority costs are; things like rent, utilities, food, etc – all the things you have to spend money on. Only by taking this away from the money you’ve got coming in can you work out what you’ve got available to spend on other things you want or what you can afford to save.

    When you're shopping or about to buy something a useful thing to ask yourself before paying for something is ‘Do you need it?’ and if the answer is yes, then think about could you get it cheaper from somewhere else.

    I hope this offers some help to you but if you would like further help to work out a budget, what your priority costs are and areas that you could cut back on, I would recommend going to your university’s student services and speak to the money advice team there. I would also suggest having a look for information they may have on their website or intranet.
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    (Original post by CJ)
    What are the biggest barriers to students saving, and how can they save when it looks like money is tight?
    There is 'saving' and there is managing your money effectively (budgeting) to make it go as far as possible. By budgeting you can manage where your money goes by thinking ahead.

    When things are tight it's about going back to budgeting basics:
    - What have you got coming in?
    - What do you have to pay for?
    - What do you have left to spend on what you want?

    Students can look at ways to increase the money they have available to them. For example;
    - Keeping a spending diary will help you track where you money is going and you might be surprised how much you spend on little things here and there.
    - Students can look for part time work (but make sure it won't affect your studies). Lots of Universities have jobshops that help students find part time work. This could be permanent or one-off jobs.
    - Making the most of the financial products available to them such as student bank accounts and the interest free overdraft facilities that may be available. Student overdrafts can be really helpful to students in helping them manage their cashflow but remember that an overdraft is a limit and not a target!

    Students can also look to reduce their spending;
    - Drop a brand in your shopping
    - Don't buy lunch out, take a packed lunch instead. Same with buying a coffee - it's cheaper to buy a flask and take that with you!
    - Cook with your housemates
    - Buy second hand books or equipment
    - If travelling, make the most of student discounts, such as the Young Persons Railcard if you will be using the train.

    Although if anyone is struggling financially, or foresees they are going to struggle, I would recommend going to speak with a student money adviser at their university. The adviser can check that the student is getting all the funding they are entitled to and they may also know of additional funding from trusts or charities that the student can apply to.
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    Which do you think is the best student bank account?
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    (Original post by CJ)
    Posted on behalf of: makaelar

    What are the main sites students use to help save money while in university eg coupons/ deals?
    The main sites that I am aware of include:

    NUS
    Save the Student
    Student Money Saver
    Money Saving Expert
    Student Beans

    I know within my team at Cardiff University we share via social media lots of budgeting tips and information about additional sources of funding our students can apply for; so it's also worth following your university!
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    (Original post by Sophierose92)
    Anyone know any money saving websites?

    Here are a few that I am aware of:

    NUS
    Save the Student
    Student Money Saver
    Money Saving Expert
    Student Beans

    I know within my team at Cardiff University we share via social media lots of budgeting tips and information about additional sources of funding our students can apply for; so it's also worth following your university!
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    (Original post by jamie445)
    Which do you think is the best student bank account?
    I couldn't say which is the best student account sorry. Students will look for different things when opening a bank account. This may be based on their credit rating, the amount of interest free overdraft available or the location of a physical branch.

    To help though, the website Money Saving Expert does have an article to help students think about what to compare when they are looking to open a student bank account which is helpful. You can find it here.
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    Thanks to Hannah and to everyone who asked a question. We have lots of webchats throughout the week so check our calendar to see what's coming up.
 
 
 
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