Student Finance Survival Tips
Be proactive with your budgeting and monitor your spending. Get into the habit at the beginning of term and check your bank account and budget weekly – it's much easier to deal with regularly, in small chunks, and will help you to see potential money problems before they become major issues.
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- Check what grants and bursaries are available to you.
- Sign on with the bank which offers the best long-term benefits.
- Draw up a weekly budget and stick to it – take time to review it regularly. You will feel much more comfortable with your finances if you're on top of the situation.
- Find a part-time job and be paid gross if not liable for tax. Read about the benefits and advice on how to balance part-time work with study.
- If you are a mature student, working while studying, or have children, you may be entitled to tax credits. Find out more about tax credits for students from the NUS.
- Make the most of any student discounts.
- Get to know how to use the library at the earliest opportunity.
- Before you buy anything, ask yourself if you really need it and if you can afford it.
- Understand how credit works – and how to use it wisely. The Money Charity has useful advice on what you need to know about credit.
- You should also understand how credit scores work. Read about credit scores at the Prince's Trust.
- Use the internet to buy and sell on secure sites.
- Opt for the best value telephone landline provider, if you need one.
- Keep an eye open for the best mobile package.
- Buy essential books and equipment second-hand.
- Shop in local markets, charity shops and the students' union.
- Register with uk.freecycle.org and use it both when you're looking for items, and when you have belongings you no longer need.
- Be careful with heating and lighting.
- Try and buy in bulk if living in a student house, and share costs with your housemates.
- Share to save whenever you can, particularly on transport.
- Walk or cycle during the day rather than take public transport.
- Check to see if your belongings can be covered by your family insurance.
- If you're struggling financially, get help! Your university and students' union will have student advisors who can help you.
- There are several organisations offering free and confidential financial and debt advice (e.g. National Debtline, Citizens Advice, StepChange, and Christians Against Poverty). Don't ever pay for this advice – contact one of the genuine, independent, free and confidential services for help.
- Don't keep on spending in the vague hope that everything will be OK; and don't put off asking for advice – the sooner you deal with any financial difficulties, the better. It can be really difficult to face up to facts and ask for help, but you will feel better for it.