Moving to university should be an incredibly exciting time, as you take a major step forward in your life and begin to strike out on your own, but it can also be quite stressful for many people. However, there are several things you can do to make sure that this interesting period of your life goes as smoothly as possible. Chances are that this will be the first time that you will have to be solely responsible for your own finances, so knowing how to manage your money and spend wisely can be crucial to having the best possible time at university.
Thankfully, no one expects you to pay for university all by yourself upfront and there is plenty of financial help to make sure you have the necessary funds available to help you get through your time of studying. Student Finance offer two main types of loans that are available to all students and are not dependent on your family’s income. The first is the tuition fee loan, which is usually paid directly to your institution and covers the tuition fees in totality. The second is the maintenance loan, which has some variation, depending on whether you’re living at home or in your own accommodation when studying and is at a higher value for students based in London. Both these loans are repayable from the end of your course. Further financial help is available in the form of a maintenance grant, which is means tested and available only to lower income families and isn’t repayable.
Most high street banks offer variations of a standard student account with many perks and features aimed specifically at students. One of the most important factors to consider when choosing a student account is the overdraft limit. Some banks are more generous than others and although you will have to pay it back regardless, it is always best to stay within the limits, otherwise you face incurring steep penalty charges. Other aspects to consider are freebies such as student railcards, which can end up saving you a fortune, customer service reputation in case of any concerns over money during your time of studying and location of branches; for instance, some banks have a presence on campuses.
This may sound like one of the more boring aspects of managing your money, but budgeting can make the difference between keeping tabs on your money and wondering where it’s all gone. One of the best tips is to set a figure that you can stick to for each week’s spending and it should allow for groceries, any study costs and going out and enjoying yourself. You should then be able to match this with the record of all the money coming in and going out of your account. Key tips for reducing expenditure include making the most of voucher codes (plenty available online) and student discounts, as well as using comparison sites to work out the cheapest places to buy the essentials.
This one-off annual expense may prove to be one of the most sensible you will make as being sure that your possessions, from gadgets to jewellery, are protected offers peace of mind and a real lifesaver if anything gets broken or stolen. There are several options available to keep home insurance costs down. It is possible that you will be covered by your accommodation (especially if it is in official university halls), or you may be able to be added on to your parents’ home insurance. Either way, having insurance may well seem like a godsend if anything goes awry.