WEALTH at work, a specialist provider of financial education and guidance in the workplace supported by regulated financial advice for individuals, has created a series of financial education seminars for university students.
They are designed to develop students’ financial knowledge, preparing them for life during and after university. Students can learn how to manage their loans, how to budget and about the issues associated with renting accommodation during the course. They also gain an understanding of what to expect when in employment in terms of salary, benefits and pensions.
With the new term approaching, WEALTH at work shares its top 10 tips for students who are looking to cut their costs and boost their savings.
- Know where your money is going
Check bank statements and make a list of what you are spending each month. It is helpful to divide these into utility bills (gas, electricity and water), supermarket shopping, monthly contracts for mobiles, insurance, regular subscriptions, and other spending. This will highlight where your money is going and where savings could be made.
- Compare utility providers
If you pay the utility bills in your student house, consider visiting a comparison site to find out which providers are the most cost effective for you. For example, by shopping around 50% of people could achieve a saving of £369 on their dual fuel energy cost according to comparethemarket.com May 2019 data*.
- Get discounts for online supermarket shopping
Consider ordering online and getting your food delivered. Not only can this save money as you are not tempted by items in store which you don’t actually need, there are also lots of great online offers. Many supermarkets have offers such as £20 off your first order. However, the minimum spend on these offers can be quite high, so why not share the shop with a few friends?
- Do you need the latest mobile phone?
If your phone contract is coming to an end, consider a SIM only deal rather than upgrading to the latest phone. With a contract, you are effectively borrowing money for the phone, and repaying this loan through your monthly bill. Also, check your tariff as there are some very competitive deals available.
- Review other regular contracts
Are you making the most of the subscriptions you have? Could you cancel music and other TV services that you may under-utilise? Calculate how much you spend on these types of contracts and see how much of a difference cancelling these could have on your finances. For example, savings of £168** a year could be made by cancelling a couple of subscription services.
- Save on train travel
All 16 to 25 year olds can save one third off rail fares with a Railcard. Its costs £30 so after a few trips the card will have paid for itself – and over a year, you could save an average of £199***. The card doesn’t just save money on travel but also offers discounts on days out, restaurants and hotels too.
- Student discounts
Make the most of any student discounts available to you. Perhaps the most well-known for giving discounts is Totum (the new name for the NUS Extra card), but discounts are also available through Student Money Saver, MyUnidays.com, Savethestudent.org and StudentBeans, which give you savings on every day purchases as well as big one off items – everything from free cinema tickets, to 25% off National Express and free food. The savings could be significant!
- Only buy what you really need
Write a shopping list before you go out, whether it be for food, clothes, or whatever you need, and stick to it. Impulse purchases can add a fortune to the amount you spend each month, so make sure they are things you really need.
- Consider cash back cards and sites
There are many cash back cards and websites now available which offer money back every time you spend. For some people these might be a good idea, depending on how much they spend and where.
- Get things for free
Keep an eye out on sites like Freecycle and Gumtree as people often use these to give away unwanted items like books and furniture, which can be very expensive when bought new.
Jonathan Watts-Lay, Director, WEALTH at work, comments; “Financial education is important for everyone whatever your stage of life, but gaining financial knowledge during your student days, is invaluable for life during and after University. Learning how to manage loans and budgeting, understanding how salaries and benefits work, and the impact of saving on house deposits and pensions, are all key life skills. Gaining this knowledge early can have a significant impact on the decisions young people make, and could save them a fortune.”