Media alert: Back to (big) school - money saving tips for students

BACK TO BIG SCHOOL – MONEY SAVING TIPS FOR STUDENTS

The Money Advice Service offers money saving tips for sixth form and university students

Education’s an expensive business, particularly when you hit your late teens and you’re heading off to sixth form and university. Aside from tuition fees and student loans, just managing your money day-to-day can seem to be a real challenge. And if you don’t manage your finances properly during your student years, it can have a serious impact on you in later life. For example, research released recently by the Money Advice Trust found that 37% of 18 to 24 year olds already have significant debts, at an average of £2,989 per person (excluding student loans and mortgages)*.

That’s why for students, the chance to save a few quid is usually a welcome one. To that end, the Money Advice Service has compiled a few handy money saving tips for students at sixth form and university. Let’s be honest, you’ve got enough to worry about with exams without having to worry about your finances too!

Sixth form

Sixth form normally sees students become more independent. In most cases, gone are the days of school dinners and assemblies. Sixth form students are likely to be buying their own books, heading out of school for lunch and travelling further afield – particularly if they’ve joined a sixth form college that’s separate from their old school. All of this means that sixth form students are likely to be meaningfully managing their money for the first time.

· Buy travel tickets in advance. If you’re starting sixth form, there’s a good chance you may be travelling slightly further afield and making use of public transport. If you’re doing so, it’s worth looking into how you buy your tickets and figuring out if there’s money to be saved here. If you travel regularly by bus or train, then a weekly or monthly ticket may well work out cheaper for you.

· Find a part time job. By the time you head off to sixth form you might be thinking about joining the world of work. A part time job can supplement your income and help you cover the cost of travel, food and drink while you’re at sixth form – but be aware of any money you spend while you’re at work on things like lunches and factor that expense into your budget.

· Getting on the road is expensive – be smart about it. It’s really common for students in sixth form to be learning to drive and it also tends to be the case that getting on the road is incredibly expensive! A course of driving lessons can easily cost hundreds of pounds, so it’s important to shop around and find the driving instructor that’s not too expensive and will give you a fighting chance of passing your test quickly! You might also want to think about asking a family member to help you practice, which can cut down on the number of lessons you ultimately need. Be sure to shop around when it comes to getting insured too. Insurance policies for younger drivers tend to be quite expensive, so it’s worth visiting a few price comparison sites to ensure you’re getting the best deal.

University

The heady days of university life tend to go hand in hand with some questionable spending decisions. As much as you might be determined to work hard and play hard, neglecting your finances during this period can have a lasting impact on your finances after you leave uni. Keep track of your spending and manage your money sensibly and you’ll be able to stave off the classic “baked beans and pasta” diet for as long as possible!

· Budget carefully at the start of each term.As a university student, chances are that you’ll be relying heavily on the maintenance loan that’s paid into your account at the start of each term. The temptation might be to treat yourself to a shopping spree or hit the town for a night out, but it’s important that you’re strict with how you spend your loan. Work out a budget in advance, take off any essential payment (like rent and bills) and then divide the amount remaining across the term to work out a weekly budget. The Money Advice Service’s updated budget planner can help you with this. There’s nothing worse than ending up skint and bored in the last week of the summer term when exams are over and parties are happening! It’s also worth thinking about starting to put a little money into your savings too. Saving a small amount regularly can add up to a substantial pot – and this will put you in a great position when you leave uni.

· Consider whether you need insurance.Not the most rock ‘n’ roll topic of conversation, but insurance can be an absolute life-saver. Student houses are notorious targets for burglars, so it might be worth thinking about taking out contents insurance. These days, a lot of policies include handy extras, such as services that quickly replace your keys if you’ve lost them. If you break or lose your laptop or mobile you’ll feel like you’ve lost a limb too, so think about getting essential gadgets like these insured in case of loss or damage.

· Choose a student bank account that’s right for you. Banks are keen to get their hands on students as customers. As a result, they tend to offer a number of perks with student accounts, most commonly a 16-25 railcard. If you travel by train a lot this can help you save money over the course of your studies, but it’s important to not get sucked in by tempting offers and freebies that you’re not going to make the most of and to ensure that you choose the account that’s right for you. Some student accounts allow overdrafts of up to £3,000 completely interest free. This means you don’t have to pay interest on anything within the authorised overdraft limit while you are a student. But remember this isn’t free money: after you graduate you still have to repay what you borrow.

NOTES TO EDITORS

*Source: The Money Advice Trust “Borrowed Years” report. August 2016 p.4.

For media enquiries contact:

· Joe Cockerline or Joanna Brady at the Money Advice Service. Email pressoffice@moneyadviceservice.org.uk or call 020 7943 0593 during office hours or 07767 438 670 outside of office hours.

Budget planner updates

Recent updates to the Money Advice Service’s budget planner offer significant improvements to the tool. The budget planner is now better optimised for use on mobile devices, as well as becoming more accessible for users with disabilities who rely on assistive technologies such as screen readers. The user flow has been streamlined for general ease of use, with a new summary page to ensure the information that’s most relevant is presented clearly and succinctly. The updated budget planner can be seen here.

About the Money Advice Service

The Money Advice Service is an independent organisation. It gives free, unbiased money guidance online at moneyadviceservice.org.uk or via free phone on 0800 138 7777. Debt advice is also provided through a variety of partners across the UK. The Service was set up by Government and is paid for by a statutory levy on the financial services industry, raised through the Financial Conduct Authority. Its statutory objectives are to enhance the understanding and knowledge of members of the public about financial matters (including the UK financial system); and to enhance the ability of members of the public to manage their own financial affairs.