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Practical tips to help you improve your credit rating and avoid expensive high interest loans

Student Money Tips

If your son or daughter is going off to university in September you may have some concerns about their finances. The Money Advice Service has put together a comprehensive guide to help with many different aspects of student financial life but here is a summary of their budgeting and borrowing tips.

Money and borrowing

The best borrowing option for most students is a government back loan. You can apply for a maximum of two loans in any academic year: one for tuition fees and one to cover the cost of living. These loans do not need to be repaid until the student has left university and is earning at least £21,000.

Many high street banks offer interest free overdrafts on student accounts so be sure to shop around for the best available deal. There are some good comparison websites for this purpose.

Be careful about credit cards with 0% deals as these will not last forever and charges can quickly become unmanageable.

A part-time job

If you son / daughter is going away to university there are two options available in terms of part-time work and the most suitable will depend on their individual circumstances.

If they have a heavy workload with many hours per day spent studying they would probably be better to work during their holidays. This is something they could arrange before they go away so they don’t spend valuable time job hunting when they return.

If their workload is a bit lighter they could work during term-term and generally the more flexible they can be in terms of hours the better their chances are of finding work.

Unavoidable expenses

There are some things that unfortunately we all have to pay for whether we like it or not but remember to use comparison websites to find the right deal for your circumstances if you can. These expenses will include:

  • Insurance for personal belongings
  • Car insurance if they intend to use a car while away
  • TV License
  • Mobile phone and broadband
  • Travel

It might be worth investing in a 16-25 Railcard if you think your son / daughter will be using trains for travel. This can save significant amounts of money even if it’s only for a relatively small number of journeys. Similarly some bus companies offer student discounts so be sure to do some local research.

Food and shopping

For many students this will be the first time that they will be responsible for buying (and cooking) their own food. There are lots of ways to save money, most of which you probably already know but to give you a few ideas:

  • Sign up for supermarket cards: Nectar, Tesco Clubcard, Boots Advantage etc. are an easy way to earn rewards.
  • Shop later in the day to take advantage of reduced prices on fresh products.
  • Share cooking responsibilities with housemates. It’s generally much easier, and cheaper, to cook for more than one person.
  • Where possible buy own brand or ‘basic’ products.
  • Use coupons and vouchers as often as possible.
  • Beware of ‘special offers’; often they really aren’t that special and we end up spending more money on things we don’t really need.

Money Saving Supermarket has more great shopping tips.

Finally, you’ll be amazed how many places offer student discounts for anything from haircuts to clothes to cinema tickets so make sure your son / daughter has their National Union of Students (NUS) card as soon as possible.

If you need a short term loan to help you send your children away with everything they need we can help.  Just fill in a simple online form and a range of loan offers will be returned within minutes.

Clare McDonald
Clare McDonald
As a mother of two, Clare knows the importance of being careful with money, so writes posts from personal experience.Clare also loves to find great deals, so shares her finding here.

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