Financial Advice and Support for Students Part 1
Being financially responsible for yourself is one of the biggest factors of both joy and stress for students. Some people enjoy being in control of their own finances, including every part of ‘adulting’ from paying bills to budgeting for the weekly shopping. However, student finances can also cause worry, particularly if you’re struggling to make ends meet. If you think you might need a bit of extra support, read on for the first part of our financial tips and where to turn if you need assistance.
Budgeting and Money Tips
If you find yourself down to the last few pennies at the end of the week, you could need to rethink your budgeting plan. Here are a few tips for you to get on top of your finances:
- If you haven’t already done so, sit down and work out all your incomings and outgoings. Incomings will be things like your student loan, money from parents, a part-time job, etc. Outgoings will be rent, mobile phone contract, and other regular payments. Once you’ve worked out what you have leftover for each month, you’ll see how much you have to spend on food shopping, entertainment, nights out, etc. It might take a bit of working out, because student loans are usually paid per term whereas other costs (such as rent) need to be worked out on a monthly basis, but it’s worth spending the time getting this all down on paper.
- Keep a diary of exactly what you spend each week. Everything from rent and bills to the 65p chocolate bar from the corner shop. Jot it down in a mini notebook or document on your phone, to make sure you’ve always got your accounts with you. At the end of the week, work out your total spending and see if anything is flagged up – how much do you spend on what?
- Do you have a part-time job? Many students manage to take on work without it interrupting their studies, and depending on what they’re doing, it can even benefit them in the future as proof of work experience. Not only that, getting a job is a great way to make friends.
- Don’t overspend – look out for deals. Loyalty points cards are a great way to get something back on your spending, and budget supermarkets are a great way to save money on more basic products. Check out apps such as OLIO (https://olioex.com/about/) for free/cheap meal sharing ideas.
Extra Support from the Government
Depending on your personal circumstances, you might be able to claim extra financial support while you’re a student.
- The Childcare Grant is available for student who have children under 15 who are financially dependent on them. There is also the Parent’s Learning Allowance.
- The Adult dependents’ Grant is similar to the childcare grant, but applies to adult dependents, such as partners.
- The DSA (disabled students’ allowance) is extra financial support for students with long term physical or mental disabilities, and is not dependant on personal income.
- Housing Benefits might be available to some students in special circumstances.
- Care leavers support might be available to students who have previously been living in care.
We’ll publish part 2 next week so good luck at Uni and with your finances.