Ways students can save money at university
It’s that time of year again, the outcome of all the hard work, stress and worrying is sealed in one envelope for hundreds of thousands of youngsters. The start of university is approaching and the temptation to spend is EVERYWHERE. If you want to save money at University, take a look at these top 10 tips – you might be surprised by how much you really can save!
It’s almost too easy to go a little wild when we receive a large sum of money like a student loan, but so many make the mistake of forgetting that a student loan is supposed to last until the end of the term (or somewhere near).
‘Freshers Week‘ is approaching, the lack of budgeting experience and the need for six new outfits for each night out in the clubs a student loan doesn’t stretch too far and I can almost guarantee almost every parent will receive that ‘ muuuuum ‘ or ‘ daaaaad ‘ text before mid-term.
There are many ways to ensure your money go further, keep reading to find out our top tips for every student embarking on their university adventure this month!
1 – Refund on TV licence (a simple way to save money at university)
Although a TV licence doesn’t seem too much at £12.25 per month, you can get a refund on your TV licence for the months you’re not in your student accommodation.
So, if the licence is purchased in September and you move back home the following July, you can get a refund for the remaining two remaining months of the licence, worth £24.50.
2 – Apply for a Council Tax redemption
If you’re a full-time student living alone or with other students then you don’t need to pay council tax. You can apply for council tax exemption via the gov.uk website.
3 – Don’t buy contents insurance
.. Well check with your parents before you do as you may be covered under their house insurance through a ‘contents away from home‘ clause.
If not, they will probably be able to add this on at a small fee and a lot cheaper than securing your own insurance!
4 – Invest in travel cards
The 16-25 Railcard was designed for young people in full-time education (although full-time students who are over 25 may also be eligible). The card can be purchased for one year or three, and gives you a third off rail journeys across the UK.
The card also gives you access to partnership offers and competitions, including West-End theatre discounts and holiday offers.
5 – Don’t pay over the odds for your energy
Once you’re living away from your parents you will have to factor in bills. If you’re living in halls then you might not have a choice over who supplies your energy. If not, use a comparison site like MoneySupermarket.com or uSwitch to check prices, you can even earn cashback when you switch through some sites.
It’s illegal for your landlord to prevent you from switching to a cheaper energy supplier, although you may need to tell them if you do.
6 – Get the right bank account
Most banks offer dedicated student bank accounts with a range of perks and interest-free overdrafts. Avoid the temptation of signing up to a poor account just because of a freebie.
If you have a job and receive a regular income its worth looking around for a bank which offer interest on balances!
7 – Mobile phones
Most if not all students rely on our phones these days, but it’s a monthly cost which isn’t cheap!
If your contract is approaching its end make sure you shop around on comparison websites to avoid high monthly fees. Contact your current supplier and tell them you are a university student … they may give you a discount on price to avoid you leaving and taking your custom elsewhere.
8 – Get cashback on (nearly) everything you buy
Cashback websites pay you when you click through to them and make a purchase, so every time you shop online at selected retailers you can earn money back on your purchases.
Many popular online sites such as Quidco offer free membership for users and will offer cashback on utility bills, holidays, clothing, groceries and more. For instance, you can earn cashback of up to £70 on a Sky TV package, or up to 5pc on purchases at Currys PC World.
9 – Don’t pay too much tax
If you work during term time or over the summer to keep yourself afloat, make sure you’re paying the right amount of income tax. Students are taxed just like anyone else. If you earn less than £11,500 a year (as of 6 April 2017), you shouldn’t pay any tax no matter if your 18, 45 or 60.
Even if you only do summer or temp work, you’ll be taxed as if you’d earn that rate all year. Therefore, if you’re a student and your total earnings for the 2016/17 tax year came to less than £11,000 (the previous personal allowance), and you paid tax, see the HMRC website for how to apply for a refund.
10 – Don’t buy new books – rent, borrow or buy second hand instead
At the start of a new term, it’s likely you’ll be given an extensive list of books you’ll need over the year, depending on your course, some textbooks can really break the bank and leave you out of pocket.
In the first few weeks of term there’s usually a rush in the Uni library for the texts you may need, meaning you could be left waiting. So, instead of rushing out and buying them new, see if the local library has a copy. At the very least you can take time assessing how often you’ll need it.
Make sure you check on line as many Uni books will have an online version saving you up to 50% off!
University will be one of the best times of your life before you make the leap into the working world. Enjoy it and don’t let worrying about money ruin your experience. However keep in mind you still need to live for the rest of the term so budget and keep asking yourself the question before purchasing ‘do I need it ‘ and ‘ will I use it ‘ trust me, that will save more money than you know!
Red Star Wealth are an independent financial adviser based in Blackpool, Lancashire.