Life as a student is not easy. Students in the UK graduate with around £57k of debt. That’s not a small amount, and although you don’t have to start repaying your student loans until you are earning more than £25,000 a year, it’s still not nice knowing you owe the government so much money.
Whilst most students have no choice but to take out loans to pay their tuition fees, you can take steps to ensure you don’t accrue too much extra debt. Your other biggest area of expenditure is the cost of living, which includes, food, rent, study materials, travel, and entertainment. If you can save money or earn some money, you stand a much better chance of avoiding serious money woes.
Here are some helpful tips to make your student loads stretch further – and give you some extra spending money.
Apply for Grants and Scholarships
There are hundreds of grants and scholarships available to students and many of them are undersubscribed. The great thing about grants and scholarships is that they don’t need to be repaid. If you’re successful, the money is yours to keep.
Some grants and scholarships are very specific to a subject area or student, but others are more generalised in their requirements. Search online and see what’s available. You never know, you might qualify for one.
Get a Job
Sure, working while you are at university is likely to impact your social life – and not in a good way – but it really is the best way to generate some extra income, not to mention a bit of work experience for your CV.
Be sensible. If your workload is heavy, don’t take a job that requires long shifts or overtime. Trying to do too much and burning the candle at both ends will end badly. Instead, look for a job that fits around your course, or only work when you have time off from university.
Temporary jobs are perfect for students, as they can be slotted into a summer break or the Christmas holidays. Speak to a reputable temp agency such as Staff Heroes and see what positions they have available. You are sure to have some skills an employer needs, so put yourself out there!
Hint: remember to reclaim any tax you pay via PAYE. Fill out a P50 form from HMRC to do this.
Max Out Student Discounts
Students are entitled to discounts in restaurants, entertainment venues, and on public transport. Never pay full price if there is a discount available. You will have to register for some discounts and prove your status as a student, but there are some great discounts to be had, ranging from 10% to 50% off.
Always carry your NUS card with you, as it gives you an automatic discount in-store at many high street shops and restaurants.
Instead of splashing the cash on nights out and buying everyone a drink, learn to say ‘no’ and only spend what you can afford. Look for discounted food at the supermarkets. Go bargain shopping in sale season or second-hand clothe boutiques. Cook meals with your housemates and share the cost. Walk or cycle to campus instead of catching the bus. Hunt for coupons online – there are many websites where people post information about coupon deals. Become a member of forums such as MoneySavingExpert, which will help you save money!
There are dozens of ways to save money on your cost of living, and the good news is that living a more frugal existence, making the most of your student status, and supplementing your income with part-time earnings will help.