Mother’s Day or Mothering Sunday falls on Sunday 14th March this year in the UK. For many people, they will be spending their Mother’s Day away from their loved ones even though restrictions are gradually starting to ease – as of Monday 8th March you can meet one individual outside in a public space. However, for some a virtual or digitalised Mother’s Day will be a thing. Throughout this Money Matters Blog, we’ll give you some top tips and savings on what you can do for a slightly different Mother’s Day.
A card is the staple gift of all celebrations, be it a Birthday, Christmas or Valentine’s Day – a card is a necessity. If you are planning on posting a shop-bought card, you best be looking to post it very soon, as Royal Mail don’t deliver post on a Sunday. If you are planning on posting First Class you will need to have put it in a post box by Friday and for Second Class by Wednesday. (Always remember to check the collection times on the Post Box, because if you miss it, your post won’t be collected until the next day).
If you’re looking to find something more personalised or potentially funnier than the standard shop bought card, have a look online. There are loads of websites out there where you can personalise your cards with pictures or funny messages. These websites run all year round, so you can get the card of your choice for any celebration. Some of our favourite websites for personalised cards are Funky Pigeon and Moon Pig. They will post it directly to your recipient you needn’t worry about the stress of postage they’ll inform you of the last day that you can order this with postage.
What says Mother’s Day more than a beautiful bunch of flowers being handed over? For those of you living at home, you would normally be able to pop to a local florist (however Covid-19 Restrictions may prevent you this year) or a supermarket and pick up a beautiful bunch of lilies or daffodils. If you have one of NUS’ Totum cards, you can get 10% off in Co-op, making some great extra savings.
For those of you living away from home and needing to send something by post or for those of you living at home and wanting to order something extra special, There are a whole array of online florists out there, if you use the StudentBeans app, you can find up to 20% off at eflorist.
There are loads of different online florists and great supermarket bouquets to be found out there. However, don’t leave it to the very last minute and end up with a wilted twig.
Hampers & Gift Sets
If you are unsure of just one thing to get your Mum for Mother’s Day, why don’t you get them a few different things such as a hamper or a gift set? You can make your hampers and gift set reflective of what you want or what you know your Mum would love? Be it chocolate, wine, bath stuff or even cheese. You can do whatever you’d like with a hamper.
If you are currently living with your Mum, you can easily make your hamper, by grabbing some of her favourite things from the supermarket or even venturing to B&M to see what wonders they have available.
If you’re living away from home, ordering a hamper online to be delivered to your Mum’s front door is probably the easiest thing to do. There are tonnes of websites doing online hampers this year so you can be spoilt for choice. Websites such as Not on the High Street have a whole array of different hampers that you can order.
If you’re an avid online shopper and make the most of your Amazon Prime Student account, you can find some amazing deals and hampers on there too and make the most of the Prime next day delivery. Such as this Teamtime Delights Mother’s Day Hamper.
In the digital world that we are living in currently, with high-quality cameras built into our smartphones, we take more photos than ever before. But often they get lost into the ether of our smart phone’s photo album never to be looked at again. So why don’t you print these photos into an album?
Snapfish currently has 50% off on photo books allowing you to create a book of memories that can be flicked through, wherever and whenever.
If you want to have constantly changing photos, why don’t you consider getting a digital photo frame? These were all the rage a few years ago and allow for a constantly changing slide show of photos. Which could be a great way to share memories with your loved ones.
Whatever you do this Mother’s Day in this somewhat strange time that we are finding ourselves in, do what works for you! For many people, the Covid-19 Pandemic has brought financial hardships and difficulties so spending a large sum of money may not work for you. Remember it is the thought that counts.
But always make sure to see if Student Discount is available as you could save yourself a whole host of money!
University Mental Health Day is a significant day throughout Universities in the UK. For many, this past year of Covid-19 and its restrictions has had a significant impact on their Mental Health. One element that can have a significant impact on an individual’s Mental Health is their financial situation.
For anyone struggling financially, be it because their Student Loan isn’t stretching far enough, they’ve faced redundancy, been placed on Furlough because of the Covid-19 Pandemic or they have been unable to find work , this can make the management of their money considerably harder. For individuals with money worries – this can make their mental health worse. It is somewhat of a vicious cycle.
Many students would usually find work within the hospitality sector such as local pubs, bars, restaurants and night clubs or within the retail sector, as this often fits alongside their studies. With these areas having been impacted massively during the Covid-19 pandemic – with some areas not expected to re-open until the middle of June, this has had a huge impact on the options available to students. In yesterday’s budget announcement, it was announced that the Furlough scheme would be extended until September, so many may face the continuation of life on 80% of their normal income but still having to balance this against their usual living costs.
However, for those who have not been on furlough and may have lost their jobs or not been able to find work at all, University life may have been very challenging over these last few months.
With so many 18-24 year olds facing a loss of employment and many of those being University students,having an understanding of how your finances can impact your Mental Health and being aware of the support available to you, is vital.
Many individuals who are experiencing difficulties with their mental health, may feel anxious and isolated (especially so within the current climate) and may find the management of their finances challenging. However, the University of Northampton have a Counselling and Mental Health Team and Financial Guidance Team who are here to provide information and support to help you. You can find out more about the Counselling and Mental Health Team here:
Find out more about University Mental Health Day here:
Please find below more information about the financial assistance and support offered by the University.
The University of Northampton has recently received funding from the Office for Students (OfS) to help students who are struggling financially due to the impact of Covid-19. There are two funds currently available to students at the University of Northampton, which are:
The Office for Students (OfS) Covid-19 Hardship Fund
The Office for Students (OfS) Accommodation Hardship Fund
Both funds offer support of up to £500 per student and you can apply for both if you meet the eligibility criteria. To find out more and to apply for these funds, please visit the Finances section of the Student hub or click the buttons bellow.
The majority of Home and EU students at the University of Northampton receive some level of funding from Student Finance (dependent on their home region). For some, their eligibility for funding may have potentially changed with current circumstances, if you have had a change in circumstances and need to find out more about how this may impact on you, you may wish to contact your funding provider directly, please find details below:
*Those whose course started within the 2020-2021 Academic Year
Disabled Students Allowance (DSA)
Students experiencing mental health difficulties may be eligible for DSA. Students experiencing mental health difficulties may not identify as disabled; however, for many experiencing mental health difficulties, it can be disabling and have an impact on your access to education.
For more information about DSA, the eligibility criteria and how to apply, please click here:
Money management and Mental Health go hand in hand. If you have any questions about any of the above funding or want to find out more email email@example.com.
With Valentine’s Day or Galentine’s Day (for those of you wanting to celebrate with your girl mates) or even Palentine’s Day (for those of you wanting to celebrate with all of your pals) just around the corner, and the restrictions surrounding Covid-19 not seeming to disappear any time soon. Here are our top tips for hosting a Virtual Valentine’s day without breaking the bank!
A Pizza my heart
Valentines normally signifies going on a beautiful date to a lovely restaurant. However, this seems impossible with pubs and restaurants closed during this current lockdown. Why don’t you consider ordering the same takeaway at the same time and eating it together or even consider the same meal separately and eating it together?
We all know that we should avoid eating too many takeaways for both the goodness of our health and our bank balance. However, here are some top money-saving tips to get the most from your takeaways.
UberEats are always giving away fantastic promotions for new sign-ups, such as 50% of and £10 off when you spend £15. Don’t worry if you’re an avid UberEats user, there are still some amazing deals to be had. Have a look online and you can find some amazing offers and discounts.
Do you follow the University of Northampton Students’ Union on Social Media? If not, why not? Follow them on social media Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The SU has a partnership with the local Northampton Branch of Dominos and is always promoting amazing discount codes for students to use.
Not in Northampton for Valentine’s day? Don’t worry about it. If you happen to live near any other University in the UK, check out their SU social media pages as they too will be sharing some great Dominos discount codes.
If you’re in Northampton for Valentine’s Day and undecided on what to dine on. Check out the University of Northampton Residential Life team on Instagram. They’re always posting some amazing discounts and deals with loads of Northampton Takeaways and restaurants. Including a gigantic pizza that can serve up to 12 people!
If Takeaways aren’t your thing and you want to rustle up something fantastic and romantic don’t worry if you’re not the next Gordan Ramsey here are some great meals and tips to make the most of the 14th of February.
During February loads of supermarkets are promoting some fantastic meal deals that you can get involved in. We’re not just talking about a £3 sandwich, crisps, and drink (even though we are big fans!).
Asda is currently promoting a deal where you can get 2 pizzas of your choice, a bottle of fizzy drink, and a sky movie code to watch a film of your choice. Even if you’re apart for Valentine’s day, I’m sure everyone could handle a few extra slices.
If you want to go a little bit more upmarket and expensive. Marks & Spencer’s are offering a fantastic Valentine’s Day Meal Deal where you can choose a starter, main course, side, dessert, chocolates, and a bottle of wine all for just £20. This is sure to go down a treat.
Cooking at Home
If you’re looking to create a fabulous creation in the Kitchen without breaking the bank and setting the oven on fire. Here are some of our personal favorite dishes to cook. If you shop around at the best budget supermarkets such as Aldi and Lidl, we reckon you can create all of these for under £5.
· Spaghetti Bolognese
· Chicken or Mushroom Risotto
· Chilli Con Carne
If you want some more information on budget-friendly cooking ideas checkout Beat the Budget on Instagram or take a look at their website!
Sharing the Love and Screens
On Valentine’s day, cinemas are packed with couples and groups watching the latest romantic comedy with either Zac Effron or Hugh Grant in the lead. But with cinemas shut and nobody knows when they will reopen, how will people get their romantic film needs? The answer, through Watch Parties. Both Netflix and Disney+ have the functions included in them to watch films together at the same time. So if you want to romanticise together over an episode of Bidgerton or the spaghetti eating scene in Lady and Tramp, you can.
You may be wondering what films to watch together, so here are a few of our top picks!
Disney+ also contains all the Marvel and Star Wars movies and television shows, so if you want to try and watch Thanos destroy the Universe or the Mandolorian try and take Baby Yoda home instead you can.
On the 23rd February Disney+ will be adding its new channel Star. So if you’re looking for some more adult entertainment such as Grey’s Anatomy, 24, How I Met You Mother or Family Guy. This will be a very welcomed edition, especially during lockdown!
If watching films and series together isn’t your thing there are loads of different things that you can do virtually together and have some fun! From channeling your inner Queen’s Gambit and playing online Chess, get your groove on and have a virtual Spotify Party and share your favourite songs together and even a special Valentine’s Day playlist that you have created. If you want to get creative together why not get yourselves matching painting by numbers sets (you can currently order set when you can upload a picture of yourselves) or even get some clay and do some a virtual pottery class together. It could even be an extremely socially distanced version of the scene from Ghost! If you don’t fancy any of those ideas and you have the resources, you could even play together and shoot some zombies on COD.
Giving a piece of your heart and gifts
Some people are very organised with buying gifts and get them weeks and months in advance or some people leave it to the very last minute and end up having a mad dash to try and get something. With all shops shut other than essential retailers you may struggle to find something that ticks the boxes that you desire. Posting gifts from your home to theirs, potentially taking a very long time – especially if internationally. So below are some of our top tips for giving gifts without breaking the bank and hopefully arriving on time.
Amazon Prime Student
Amazon is the biggest online retailer in the world. Where you can buy anything from a television, a bicycle, the latest books, and even a kitchen sink. There are millions of different things to buy on there which will make for the perfect Valentine’s Day gifts.
If you have not already signed up for Amazon Prime Student, why not? The first 6 months are completely free and from then on it’s just £3.99 a month and you can cancel at any time that you want. Included with your Amazon Prime Student account, is one-day delivery (perfect for you any last-minute gift buyers), prime video (with contains some amazing videos and series), and Amazon Music.
If you are struggling for ideas on what to buy, here are some of our favourite top picks:
Cadbury Valentine Treasure Box
In our opinion Cadbury’s Chocolate is the greatest in the world. With everyone’s January diets over this is the perfect gift for anyone with a sweet tooth or thos individuals who are notoriously hard to buy for. – £14
Our Moments Couples: 100 Thought-Provoking Conversation Starters for Great Relationships
Whether it’s your first Valentine’s Day together or your 10th, this is the perfect way to interact with you partner and get closer than ever. Couples who make time for each other, stay together! This is the perfect gift to enhance your relationship even more. – £16.95
100 Things To Do After Quarantine Bucket List Scratch Off Poster
Having been locked down for the best part of a year now, people are urging to get back outside into the real world and start doing things again, and especially this time of year, start dating again. The closest thing to a romantic date outside of our houses this year will either be a a late night trip to Big Tesco or loosing ourselves in the aisles of B&M. This scratch off poster will help give us a sense of achievement when life goes back to normal and what we once took for granted, will provide some amazing date ideas! £11.98
With Amazon, the world is your oyster and there is so much choice available for you to purchase and with Amazon Prime Student, you can save a lot of money.
If you are looking for something personalised and to support small businesses, Etsy is the place for you, Etsy is a website which is focused on handmade or vintage items and craft goods. There’s a wide variety of different categories, including clothing, home décor, jewellery, bag, toy, furniture, art as well as craft supplies and tools. If you are looking to get something different with a personal touch to it and some extra love included within it, Etsy is the place for you.
As a student we understand that looking after your money can sometimes be tough and you want to save as much money as possible, so student discount is an absolute blessing. There are tonnes of different companies which offer some fantastic student discount. However, three main providers facilitate the discount. All you need to sign up for these is access to your my.northampton email to prove that you’re a student.
UniDays offer some amazing discounts for students such as ASOS, Misguided, Apple, Byron Burger, and JD Sports to name a few. UniDays is completely free to sign up to, all you need to do is download the UniDays app, sign up with your my.northampton email, and start saving lots of money.
Student Beans is works exactly the same as UniDays, it’s an app and it’s completely free to sign up to. With discounts available through boohoo.com, Missguided, GymShark and you can get a free cheeseburger, mayo chicken, or McFlurry from McDonald’s with your meal. There’s also a discount available at Flower Station if you wanted to send the one you love a dozen red roses.
Totum is the student discount provided by the National Union of Students (NUS), it was formally known as the NUS Extra card. It’s not currently free to sign up too. However, it is internationally recognised and you can use the ISIC discount throughout the world. When you sign up for your Totum account you also get a physical card and discounts with companies like O2, Robert Dyas, I Saw It First, Halfords, and specific Northampton based discounts too.
Valentine’s Day wouldn’t be Valentine’s Day without a card with a cute message declaring your love for each other. There are loads of websites out there where you can personalise your own cards with pictures and messages of your choice. These don’t just have to be for Valentine’s day, but can also include Birthdays and other celebrations. Some of our favourite websites for personalised cards are the following ‘Moonpig.com’ and ‘FunkyPigeon.com’. They even post it directly to the recipient, so you needn’t worry about that. Unfortunately, if you wanted to confess your undying love to a secret individual unless you know their address, you may struggle.
Home Made Wonders
If you fancy getting creative and making your own gifts and cards do it. However, don’t worry if you’re not creative at all, hopefully, all our tips above will help you send the perfect gift to your valentine, whilst saving yourself some money. However, don’t spend anything more than you can afford to. In the current climate, everyone is in the same boat in regards to being in lockdown. Instead of champagne at the Ritz, this Valentine’s Day may be more frozen pizza and the notebook.
Celebrating Valentine’s Day is about celebrating the one you love, with the one you love be it face to face if you’re fortunate to live together or be it virtually if you’re apart. Whatever your choice is, make sure it follows the Covid-19 restrictions that are in place.
Like the majority of University Students in the UK, you will be spending your first term of 2021 at the University of Northampton working from home. That is unless you’re on an allied health professional course. With so many students now moving back home the Student Loans Company (SLC) have released new guidance.
No matter where you live during your period of study your Tuition Fee loan is exactly the same. However your Maintenance Loan is dependent on where you live during term times. They are the following:
For individuals studying at the University of Northampton, you only need to worry about Living at home or Living away from home, outside of London. The approve image shows the maximum amount of loan an individual can get. Maintenance Loans are means tested dependent on household income.
Under normal situations, if you were to move back home during term time you would be reassessed and your loan amount would be reduced to the ‘Living at home’ rate. Currently, the UK Government has made the decision for those students who are still having to pay accommodation costs – both in on and off campus/private accommodation will not be reassessed. This is to provide students who are still paying rent the financial support that they need during these extraordinary circumstances.
Do you need to tell the SLC if you have moved back home?
You only need to do this if you have moved back home properly. By that we mean that you are no longer having to payout for accommodation costs such as rent. If you are still having to pay for accommodation costs, please do NOT update your SLC account as they will re-asses you to the ‘Living at Home’ rate of loan for this January.
However, if you have moved home properly make sure to update you account to reflect your new living situation. This will allow your rate of loan to reflect your living situation and will amend the amount that you will potentially pay back.
To update your information about you living accommodation and to make any changes, visit you SLC online account here.
If you are undecided about your accommodation in the future and plan on moving away from home in the third term, due to the uncertainty of how Covid-19 will affect face to face and remote teaching and learning, the Government advice and guidance will be updated accordingly. As soon an we know anything else, we will update this blog accordingly.
Can you get any extra funding costs to cover the costs of moving back home and studying at home?
For many people working from their ‘home’ home is not as effective as whilst working at University. For many people they have experienced some new costs and unplanned expenditure. For many students who have had their income reduced due to being furloughed or because of their loss of employment this can be an extremely challenging time.
However, you cannot get any extra funding from the SLC to cover the costs of ‘living at home’ For those receiving the Maintenance Loan for living at home, should be able to cover the costs associated with living at home. For those of receiving the ‘living away from home’ rate of Maintenance Loan will continue to do so to cover costs such as accommodation.
The University of Northampton, has received money from the Office for Students (OfS) and is able to provide a Covid Hardship Fund which all students are eligible for provided they meet the requirement criteria. The Covid Hardship Fund, can be used for students to purchase equipment that they may need to work effectively from ‘home’ home or to cover short fallings brought in by the Covid-19 pandemic.
To find out more about the Covid-19 Hardship fund, take a look at our recent blog post here.
If you’re still to apply for Student Finance this year, what should you put on your application for living arrangements for this term?
If you are going to be at home for the majority of this January term – with the current uncertainty surrounding Covid-19, this could be extremely likely. Yet, you’re still having to pay accommodation costs for you accommodation away from home such as rent. You should still put ‘living away from home’ for this term on your application. If you won’t have these costs, then put ‘living at home’.
If you still have accommodation costs, even through you’ve moved back home and don’t want the higher rate of loan?
You must inform the SLC in regards to any changes to your contact address by logging into you account. If you do not want to continue receiving the higher Maintenance Loan of ‘living away from home’, you’ll need to update the extra step when updating your contact address to tell us about your change of living arrangements fo the majority of this January term.
Once that change has been made, they will re-asses your student finance and reduce your entitlement for the January term. If you have already received the higher rate as your January Maintenance Loan payment, the SLC will recover the ‘overpayment’ from future payments.
If you receive your student finance from Student Finance Wales, Student Finance Northern Ireland?
The current information about the ‘living away from home’ loan rate mentioned throughout this blog, focusses on those receiving funding fro Student Finance England. However, the rules are pretty much the same, if you are still having to pay for accommodation costs whilst living at home due to Covid-19 restrictions, you will still be entitled to the ‘living away from home’ Maintenance Loan.
If you have any questions or concerns about your student finance, feel free to contact the University of Northampton Financial Guidance Team by either emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or visiting the Financial Guidance page of the Student Hub.
Covid-19 has had a devastating impact on the entirety of the world. The financial implications of such have been felt by many, but especially by University Students. With many students struggling with the loss of part time work, being placed on a reduced income because of furlough and the increased expenditures that often come with being at home.
The University of Northampton have received additional funds from the Office for Students (OfS) to support students through this extremely difficult and uncertain time. The OfS Covid-19 Hardship Fund, is available to all students studying at the University of Northampton, to support those who are facing financial hardship as a direct result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The OfS Covid-19 Hardship Fund can offer short term support only, with its intended purpose to be a contribution towards essential costs for those who have had a reduction in earnings or have lost their income, or those who have additional costs due to the result of the current pandemic. The Financial Guidance team will not consider requests for support towards the cost of fines issued by the University or the Police as a direct result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Fund will be available to all University of Northampton Home, EU and International students who are enrolled on a full-time or part-time, Undergraduate or Postgraduate course or studying with a University of Northampton Sub-Contract partner. Please be aware that the OfS Covid-19 Hardship Fund is limited and applications will be processed in date order by the Financial Guidance Team.
The awards available will be capped as follows:
‘Home’/UK students without dependents: £300
‘Home’/UK students with dependents: £500
EU students who are eligible to receive the Tuition Fee Loan support only/International Students: £500
To apply for the OfS Covid-19 Hardship fund, please complete the application which can be found on the Student Hub:
The deadline for all applications is Wednesday 17th March 2021. The Financial Guidance Team will not be able to accept any applications submitted after this date. Please be aware that funds are limited and may be fully allocated before this deadline date.
The Financial Guidance team have created a Frequently Asked Questions document, which can be found here: