Stay on top of your finances with this handy know-how guide
Having just received their results, thousands of sixth-form and college graduates around the country will be preparing to leave home and embark on a journey of educational independence.
Leaving home for the first time can be a difficult transition to make for many first-year university students. They are now facing increasing pressures due to the rising cost associated with attending university. Tuition fees are in excess of £9,000 a year and additional costs such as accommodation, travel, food and study materials can add to the mounting debt that students face when they finally graduate.
According to the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS), students starting this September will rack up debts of between £43,000 to £57,000, whilst a study by insurance company Endsleigh discovered that more than a quarter of students say their first loan installment lasts less than a month.
Alejandro Artacho, founder and CEO of accommodation website Spotahome, comments "One of the hardest things about leaving home for the first time is getting used to the extra costs - especially for students who can’t rely on their parents to make ends meet.”
Accommodation is one of the biggest expenditures for students, recent research carried out by the National Union of Students (NUS) found that students spend 85% of their loan on rent. As housing costs can be one of the major expenses for a student, it is essential that they do all they can to reduce their outgoings, and living in a shared house can be the most cost-effective way.
There are many accommodation alternatives to find the perfect place for a semester or the whole year, however, Spotahome is a specialist service that is quick and easy to register with and that allows its users the unique advantage of being able to view the property without travelling to the city they are about to study in. In addition, it is safe, secure and scam-free. Authenticity is often a concern for students who are relocating to an entirely new city.
Alejandro continues: “The current system forces students from poorer backgrounds into having to work excessively to make ends meet. As a result, we are seeing increasing numbers of students looking to flatshare as a way to shrink their outgoings. However, we have a few tips on how students can make their money go further.”
1.Set a budget and review it regularly - this is one of the most important steps to make sure that you are fully in control of your expenditures. There are lots of free mobile apps that can help you keep track of your spending or even bank cards/prepaid cards that will cap your spending.
2. There is nothing wrong with the occasional take away, however, indulging in fast food every night can become extremely costly. Cooking for yourself can save you hundreds of pounds a month. If cooking isn’t your forte, YouTube and social media platforms such as Facebook or Instagram are packed full of cookery videos and tips on how to create cheap yet filling meals.
3.Keep an eye out for discounts or buy in bulk. It might not seem like much, but that £1- £2 difference really adds up. Also consider getting a discount card such as the NUS Extra card, it can provide you with access to exclusive deals. If you don’t feel like investing in a discount card, simply try asking for student discounts wherever you go, you can get discounts on things such as cinema trips, meals out and even travel!
4.Text books are a costly but essential expenditure. Before you shell out, check your university or public library to see if they are available there. Some books are also available as e-books, and you can download them for a fraction of the price. This can save you a significant amount each semester. Amazon and second-hand booksellers are also a great option for securing cheaper versions of your allocated textbooks. Don’t forget, you can make some money back by selling your books once you have finished with them, Amazon, eBay and even apps such as Ziffit are great for selling books.
5.Travel can be extremely costly. If your university is far from your home town, why not consider getting a young person’s rail card. It costs £30 and it will save you 1/3 on rail fares throughout Great Britain, there are also bus companies that offer very cheap fares. If you live off campus, you can save money by walking or cycling - you can buy a decent bicycle for around £100, saving you tons in transport costs, and it’s also a great way to stay fit – saving you the cost of a gym membership.