Getting the most out of your bank account
The best way to stick to your budget is to bring awareness to your current spending habits and your account balance. We’d recommend you try to understand and make the most out of your bank account to reduce the risk of running into problems.
Student Bank Accounts
A student bank account is the same as a normal bank account. However, student bank accounts also come with additional benefits the most common being a 0% interest free overdraft. Providers such as Santander also offer a four year 16-25 Railcard as a free account perk to save you money in train fares at no extra cost.
Remember your overdraft is for emergency use only and shouldn’t be viewed as an extension to your income.
It is often a requirement for your Student Finance to be paid into your student bank account. As such, only ever open one account and make sure to read the Terms and Conditions before doing so. Breaching the Terms and Conditions can have very serious consequences (often involving debt collectors!).
Save the Change accounts
You always need to include a small amount of savings within your budget. Savings help pay for unexpected costs and provide better financial security.
Traditionally, when using physical money, we would save the spare change from transactions into a piggy bank. However, with the UK moving towards a cashless society it is becoming increasingly harder to operate like this.
Most UK banks and building societies offer a ‘Save the Change’ scheme (some may have different names) where they will automatically move the spare change from your transactions into a savings account. This may only be £0.10 per transaction, but every penny helps!
Providers who offer this service include Bank of Scotland, Lloyds Bank, Monzo, Nationwide, Starling Bank, TSB. Other providers such as Moneybox and Plum allow you to link your account to support round-up payments.
However, it’s worthwhile knowing you can probably get a better rate of interest on your savings if you moved your spare change across to an account manually. Compare the best savings account deals using sites such as MoneySuperMarket or Compare the Market.
It can be very easy to lose track of your spending, particularly in the age of contactless and Apple Pay.
Banks are able to send text, email, and push alerts to help you keep track of your spending and account balance. You can set up bank alerts for many different things, but the most common used by students are the ‘Low balance alert’ and the ‘Card use alert’.
Whilst it might seem trivial, receiving a notification to let you know how much money is left in your account can help you to prioritise your spending.
Check your providers website for further information on how to set up bank alerts.
You may have already set up a standing order for certain things such as paying your rent or bills. However, did you know you can also set up standing orders to transfer money within your own account?
It is very tempting to spend money when you have a large amount just sat in your account.
We’d recommend you move any big payments you receive (for example your student loan, salary, or savings) into another account to lessen the allure to spend. Once you have done this, set up a standing order to transfer your weekly budget into your current account. Combined with the bank alerts mentioned above, this should help you to stick to your budget!