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Student Money Management

Managing finances as a student can prove difficult. Trying to be prudent with money while living the student life, requires careful planning. Once the total costs of higher education have been calculated, including tuition fees, accommodation and living costs, a budget for student life should be planned and stuck to as much as possible.

The Basics

There are a number of basic but important steps that should be taken by students to ensure their finances don’t spiral out of control. These include:

    • Understand the cost of living out - Moving out of home is anything but cheap, especially for those studying in London , so students should ensure they are fully aware of what their living expenses will be.
    • Budgeting – Once all costs of higher education have been worked out, students should draw up a weekly/monthly budget and plan their spending, preferably in a spreadsheet form that can be edited when necessary.
    • Choose the right Student Bank Account – When shopping for a suitable bank account, students should keep an eye out for ones that offer benefits such as interest-free overdrafts and free banking facilities. (more on student bank accounts below)
    • Save – Students should try to cut costs on everyday living expenses, entertainment and other areas of student life.
    • Use a Student Loan carefully – Students can easily fall into the trap of spending too much on the fun side of university life and neglecting more important money matters such as buying course-related books and transport costs.
    • Stay clear from credit cards – Although these can be useful for things such as online purchases, they come with interest-based repayments, so should therefore be given careful consideration.


Accommodation and other Living Costs

Whether living in halls of residence, a flat, or in a house, accommodation costs are likely to be a student’s single biggest expense. The following are the other additional costs that students are likely to face when studying away from home:

    • Household bills - gas, electricity, water rates, phone, TV licence, contents insurance, etc. *Some of these will be covered by rent if a student is living in halls of residence
    • Food allowance – weekly shopping, eating out, etc
    • Travel costs – train fares, petrol costs for car owners, etc
    • Course costs - books, materials, etc
    • Clothes allowance
    • Socialising
    • Leisure and sports – memberships fees, court rental fees, etc

Getting the right advice on student finance matters can be crucial for some. Luckily, free and impartial advice, along with self-help material, is available to all UK students by calling the Credit Action student freephone helpline (operated by the Consumer Credit Counselling Service) on 0800 138 1111.

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