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How to make your loan last!

STUDENTS! Pay Attention.

Now you may read this title and laugh because how could you possibly live off so little whilst paying rent? Well we are here to tell you so take notes!

University is an exciting and scary time for all young adults. It is the first time any people will find their independence and also the first time you will realise how expensive everything really is! Transport, food, accommodation, academic books, library fees – the list goes on (and it is very long). The majority of students will spend their loan, max out their overdraft and live off cheap cider and noodles for three years. (Not that there is anything wrong with that). BUT… if you wish for something a bit more exciting than that during your time studying here’s some tips and tricks to make those pennies last a little longer.

1. Living at home.

Now this may seem a little obvious but living at home can save you thousands of pounds. Student housing is extremely expensive, you may find yourself paying anywhere between £85 – £140 per week just on rent. Not to mention the added cost of bills and food. People think you’ll miss out on the real experience of university, this is somewhat true. However, if you’re friends live away, or the friends you make on your course do, you’ll still have plenty of opportunities to have cheap nights out and wonder who stole that left over food you were looking forward to eating after getting back home. So, if you’re choosing a university within reasonable commuting distance then definitely look in to this smart money saving option.

2. Open a new ‘Student bank account’.

When you apply for university, and apply for a loan, apply for a new bank account too! Nearly every bank wants you to open an account with them so they offer some great incentives. For example, for 2018/19 students HSBC are offering an £80 amazon gift card, a free one year Amazon Prime and a £1000 overdraft with 0% interest fees. Sounds great right? Other banks such as Santander give away a free four year 16-25 railcard, valued at £90, that saves you a third on all train tickets. It is important to really look at what each bank has to offer and decide what will be best for you and ultimately save you the most money.

3. Discount cards.

Ever seen extreme couponing? It really works and it is so easy although you don’t need to rummage through newspapers. Nearly every supermarket offers various rewards cards. They’re free and you can get some great freebies. Most retailers and fast food places offer them as well like Subway, Nandos, Boots and Superdrug.

4. Food. Yes food.

Your weekly food shop can seriously rack up those numbers and push your budget to its limit. Unfortunately in most ‘student areas’ the supermarkets are smaller shops (Tesco extra, Sainsburys local) and they actually charge 3% more on every product than their larger stores. (TIP: you always pay more for convenience). The longer walk may seem like a struggle and thats why most people would rather pay the extra for the closer stores. However, it is definitely worth seeing how far away your nearest Aldi or Lidl is. These stores are significantly cheaper and generally wont be too far from any area. It would even still save you money if you and your housemates or flatmates shared a taxi.

5. Transport.

Is it just me or are people getting lazier? Everything is at our finger tips and this transcends into travel as well. At the start of the year invest in a bus pass! It can seem like a lot of money upfront but when you break down the cost you could save hundreds of pounds. Consider riding a bike – its free!

Written by: Cait Naven

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