One piece of money advice for a prospective student – part 2

Going to university is exciting, but it can also be daunting – especially if you’re having to manage your money for the first time.

If you’re starting university this year, here are some tips on student finance and funding from some of our current students* to help you get it right; part 1 – which considers applying for funding, budgeting, and student bank accounts – can be found here.

Part 2 – which looks at shopping, learning to cook, part-time work, and where to find further support – is below.

Shop around for bargains

‘Always look out for deals’

Don’t forget to take your student ID out with you for possible discounts; you may also want to consider investing in a TOTUM card (this used to be known as ‘NUS extra’) for extra savings.

‘If in doubt, ask yourself three times before buying – ‘do I need this?’’

Check out websites like Save the Student and Money Saving Expert for deals, as well as our blogposts Make small changes to save money and Mend your spending habits for ideas on how to shop more smartly.

Learn to cook

‘Plan ahead – it’s better to have a weekly meal plan, rather than eating out every other day or grabbing a lot of expensive ingredients and wasting them.’

‘Don’t buy coffee at University – bring in hot drinks from home in a travel mug.’

While the occasional takeaway or night out won’t break the bank, regularly eating and drinking out (whether a three-course meal, or buying pre-made sandwiches everyday) can seriously drain your cash – so mastering a few recipes instead before you get to Uni can really make a difference. It will also make you popular with your new flatmates!

Although student cookbooks are available from all good real (and virtual) bookshops, there are plenty of recipes online; check out Save the Student, BBC Good Food, and Cooking on a Bootstrap for cheap and tasty meal ideas.

For further ideas, see our Savvy shopping, Cooking vs takeaway, and Minimising expenditure posts.

Work, work, work

‘Find yourself a flexible part time job.’

Part-time work is an excellent way of improving your bank balance, and may also help you with your CV too! Whether you decide to work while you study or during vacations only, details of suitable opportunities are available from Unitemps or other local agencies.

Apply for additional funding

‘Look out for bursaries and scholarships, and if you fit the criteria, apply!’
‘Apply for the hardship fund – you don’t have to pay it back!’

Our bursaries and scholarships are listed on our website, and we can also offer additional funding for students who are struggling financially (Financial Assistance Fund, and EU Hardship Fund – eligibility criteria apply).

Don’t worry!

‘My money tip for a prospective student is not to worry too much about money!’

Learning to manage your money is a skill, but it is one that can be learned. By planning ahead – including setting a budget and then sticking to it! – you can balance the books, and be able to spend more time enjoying all the opportunities university has to offer.

‘Don’t be too proud to ask for help if you start to struggle.’

The Financial Guidance team are here to help. If you’d like further guidance on funding, including help putting your budget together, please get in touch.

For further ideas on managing your money at university (or what to avoid!), see our One piece of money advice – part 1, Top 5 good money habits to start and Top 5 bad money habits to break.

If you have any budgeting tips, let us know and we’ll feature the best ones on the blog!

*feedback collected from NSMW (National Student Money Week) surveys in 2018 and 2019