You may not be familiar with the term Buy-now-pay-later (BNPL), but you may have seen lenders you have done any online shopping in the lead up to Christmas. BNPL Lenders such as Klarna (the UK’s largest provider), Clearpay and LayBuy are names you may see when you get to the checkout on your favourite websites such as ASOS, Pretty Little Thing and JD Sports.
BNPL firms allow people to split the cost of their shopping into “more manageable” chunks over time or by “postponing” their bill interest-free.
Currently, more than 17 million UK customers have used BNPL companies to make online purchases, company data has shown.
Citizens Advice have released figures that 1 in 10 Buy Now Pay Later shoppers have been chased by debt collectors. Rising to 1 in 8 for young people.
The risk with how BNPL companies operate is the fact that it is not primarily based on credit. If you were to get a credit card or a loan, for example, the companies would run a credit check on yourself to ensure that your credit score is high enough to allow for the repayments. With most credit cards, if you don’t meet your payments you will get charged interest.
However, BNPLs do not run credit checks or charge interest. They assume customers will be able to meet the repayments be it weekly or monthly. The issues arise when payments are not made, fees for missed payments will then be charged. If any payments are missed BNPLs will often refer the customer to debt collection agencies instead to recoup the costs. (Please note, terms and conditions vary between companies).
As it currently stands, BNPL lenders are currently unregulated and there are calls from certain MPs to ask retailers to stop using BNPLs on their websites until it is properly regulated. However, regulation is in the pipeline.
Around the festive period, it is very easy to get absorbed in all the commercialism and need and want to gift people. However, within the Financial Guidance Team, we advise students to use the Money Saving Expert Mantra to ask themselves the following questions prior to purchasing.
· Do I need it?
· Can I afford it?
· Will I use it?
So, prior to making any purchases, take a moment, pause and think of the mantra. If you can’t afford something today. Why don’t you save up and buy it tomorrow?
If you are planning on making any purchases in the lead up to Christmas, ensure that you make the most of all the money-saving opportunities as a student through the numerous Student Discount providers. Such as UniDays, Student Beans and Totum.
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!
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.
We hope you are enjoying your studies at the University of Northampton, but we know that many students have problems managing their money, especially at the Autumn mid-term point – which if not resolved can negatively affect both your ability to get the most out of your course and student life in general.
The next Maintenance loan payment is not due to hit bank accounts until early January, so if you’re currently feeling a little short or wondering how to stretch your finances over the next two months, here are seven steps you can take now:
University may be the first time you’ve needed to manage your money – and getting into good habits with your bank account can help.
We have produced a two-part guide to getting the most out of your bank account: part one – which looks at choosing a student bank account, checking your balance regularly, and limiting transfers – can be found here; part two – understanding overdrafts, checking unnecessary spending, having two bank accounts, and where to find further support – is below.
At the start of term, the Financial Guidance team receive many queries relating to student finance and funding. Here is a list of the most typical questions – and answers – to help you while you study with us.
Welcome to the University of Northampton! Whether you’re a new or returning student, we hope you have a fantastic experience studying with us at Waterside. Money can be a cause of concern for students, but the Financial Guidance team are here to help; here is our checklist to help you get into good habits early when managing your money:
Whether you are starting university for the first time or continuing on your course this Autumn, there are several simple ways in which you can manage your finances more effectively– so you can focus on your studies and enjoy the opportunities university offers, rather than worrying about money!
Even if you struggled with money last year, it’s not too late to start afresh for the upcoming year – all it takes is a little time dedicated to planning ahead.
Here are our five ways to get ready financially for university:
So you’ve finished your course – what’s next? Studying for a Masters degree or other (postgraduate) course is a popular choice – whether you loved your course so much that you’d like to carry on, you’ve decided that you need another qualification for your desired career, or even that you’d like a bit more time at Uni before deciding what to do next, there are plenty of exciting study options available.
However, funding for a Masters differs from what’s available for undergraduate study – before enrolling on your dream course, it’s definitely worth taking some time to plan how you’re going to fund yourself for the next year of study – if you don’t have savings, or family who are wealthy and/ or generous enough to offer support.
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.