Now that this year's Freshers are all settled in to their accommodation, we thought we'd give you a few budgeting tips and signposts to help with the transition:
- Work it out weekly
One of the main problems with receiving your student loan in one lump sum is resisting the urge to spend it all at once.
Instead, make sure you take off however much you need for rent, and divide the rest up into as many weeks as it needs to last. Then you'll be able to tell how much you have to spend per week.
- Shop Around
Have a look in each of your local food shops to find out which ones are giving you the best deal - it's worth the extra walk to a cheaper shop. mySupermarket.co.uk can help with comparing big name stores.
If you live near the city centre, the Leicester Market sells extremely cheap fruit and veg - usually for £1 a bowl.
Additionally, make sure you're buying own-brand items. Most people can't tell the difference in taste between supermarket's own food (like Asda Price), and branded food (like Heinz) - it's a lot cheaper. Plus, shopping after around 6pm means that most supermarkets have reduced the price of food they're trying to shift.
- Find out what you get for free
Make sure you're not paying council tax, as students are exempt. Students can also apply to the NHS Low Income Scheme so you don't have to pay for prescriptions, eye tests, and dental treatment once you hit 19.
Getting an NUS card will also help, with an immediate £25 worth of vouchers once you buy one, and 12% off a Young Person's Railcard!
Save The Student also post weekly updates on free stuff students in the UK can get for minimal effort, as well as help on all things student.
- Freeze your food
Try and get into the habit of freezing essentials like milk, bread, leftovers, and some vegetables. It's better than throwing away £700 worth of food a year.
- Savings calculators
Online savings calculators such as this one from the Money Advice Service can help you figure out how long it'll take you to save up for anything you've got your eye on.
Hope this helps, and remember that you can always post on our forum with any questions you might have.
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