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First time guide to managing your money at uni

By bzmike 10 Jul 2022

Money hacks that could save (and make) you some serious cash

When you arrive at university, your student loan will most-likely make your bank account look pretty healthy.

But—unless you want to spend the end of term living on toast sandwiches and not going out—you're going to want to make that money last!

You're on a budget

Managing your own money for the first time isn't easy, but these handy tips will help, and it might mean you can afford to treat yourself now and again.

  1. Check your bank statements
    Once a week, take five minutes to check your statement so you don't have any surprises at the end of the month. Some banking apps let you set up alerts so you can clearly see when money is going out of your account.  
  2. Consider whether you can afford luxuries
    Yep, that includes nights out and eating in restaurants! Once you know how much you have, you can plan little things to keep your social life afloat.
  3. Save money on travel
    Make sure you get a student travel pass for local transport, and don't forget your Young Person's Railcard to save 1/3 on train fares. These are investments that will seriously cut down on travel costs.
  4. Flash your ID
    Whenever and wherever you go shopping, take your student card with you to get that all important student discount. Some shops have it, even though it's not advertised so it's always worth asking at the till. Did you know you can get a free Cheeseburger, Mayo Chicken or McFlurry with your meal at McDonalds when you show student card!
  5. Write a shopping list
    Most of your money can easily be taken up on your food shop, so plan your weekly meals to ensure you only buy what you need. This has the added benefit of reducing your food waste, which is better for the environment too!

a woman standing in a supermarket

Making money

Many students find their student loan is not enough to cover the things you need to do at uni, plus the things you want to do. Here's a few ways to make some extra cash.

  1. Get a job
    This is the obvious one! Once you've settled in and are more familiar with the local area, check local job listings for a part time job. Make sure your CV is up-to-date, send it out, and make sure you only apply for jobs that fit in well around the time needed to study.
  2. Sell old/unwanted clothes
    If you have an ever-growing wardrobe, and you find you just don't wear half of it, then get some of those clothes sold! Vinted, Depop, even eBay are all great places to sell your stuff quickly and easily. 
  3. Become a private tutor
    If you feel confident and knowledgeable in your area of study, consider becoming a tutor to those who are a few years behind you. This can be a useful way to help consolidate what you know, as well as bringing in some money. 

There's no doubt that managing your money is a big challenge for most students. It's not exactly something that's taught at school, you're best learning it by doing it. 

It's perfectly normal to make mistakes managing your money too. If you ever feel you're struggling financially, or need some more advice about money you can get in contact with your university's student support team.

bzmike profile picture

bzmike Michael studied filmmaking at the University of Central Lancashire. He now works in student communications to help people make the most of their time at university.
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