Going to university will be a learning curve for your child, and not just in an academic sense. They will have to pay for things like nights out, food and utility bills that they may have never previously paid for with their own money. Getting through each day can be expensive for students, so we’ve put together a little guide to help your child to slash their outgoings.
Find a part-time job
Did you know that according to the Money Advice Service, the average student spends £21,440 each year? Given that student loans can be spread pretty thinly, it may be a good idea for your child to find a part-time job. Although the job may only be for a few hours a week, it will make a huge difference because they will have more disposable income in their pocket.
Purchase books second-hand
Every course will have a reading list that’s full of essential and recommended materials to help put your child’s course into context. However, if they were to buy every single book brand new, they could end up spending hundreds of pounds.
Many older students may have copies of these textbooks lying around and may be willing to sell them at a lower price. Encourage your child to ask their university Students’ Union for advice or even post their requirements on the university’s Facebook page.
Take advantage of student nights
Students can often go out four or five nights a week, the costs of which can rack up very quickly. Student nights can be great for making socialising less expensive, as clubs will often offer cheaper drink prices and lower entry fees to attract customers.
Get a student railcard
Rail fares are due to rise by 1.9% next year, The Guardian has reported, which could seriously impact an already stretched student budget. Rail travel is likely to play a major role in your child’s time at university, such as when they are coming home to visit family or even just enjoying days out.
Costing just £30 for a whole year, a 16-25 Railcard will give your child a 33% discount on First Class Advanced, Standard Advanced Standard Anytime and Off-Peak fares.
Not sure whether it’s worth the bother if your child doesn’t travel by train every day? In that case, read MyVoucherCodes’ blog post on the six reasons why students should definitely get a railcard.
Get an NUS extra card
With a three-year NUS extra card costing £32, there’s a whole world of savings to be had. This card will allow your child to get discounts in clothing shops, restaurants, cinemas, sports and leisure centres, both online and in-store.
With thousands of international discounts, too, the NUS extra card will allow your child to enjoy all of the things that make university living great.
Cook their own food
When your child is contending with a demanding student schedule, takeaways can seem like the most convenient eating option, but they can also be expensive and unhealthy.
Encourage your child to search for healthy student recipes and use their local shop’s own-brand products to reduce costs further. Even better, they could arrange some cooking nights with their friends and split the cost of the ingredients.
Take advantage of vouchers
Students represent big business for a university town or city’s economy, with plenty of businesses desperate to attract their custom. Many restaurants and salons deliver vouchers through students’ doors that offer deals or price reductions on the things that those at university need or desire most. These little savings really add up, so your child shouldn’t mistake them for junk mail.
Sell unwanted items
When moving out at the end of the year, it’s not uncommon for students to bin what they have been using: pots, pans, books and so on. These items could come in very handy for new students, so you should encourage your child to sell any items like this if they are in good condition. This will give your child more disposable income, while also reducing clutter.
Build up an emergency fund
There are times when even the tips listed above won’t help your child’s budget to stretch far enough, so it’s important that they save up early on to ensure that they aren’t deprived of the essentials during their times of need.
All that it takes is to put a few pence in a jar every day and hide it in a safe place. When you convince your child to add this technique to their daily routine, they will begin to stockpile money very quickly, which will provide a great safety net should funds run low.
Leave payment cards at home before a night out
Tell your children to prepare in advance and decide how much money they plan to spend on a night out, then stick to it. When they leave their debit card at home, the temptation to go and withdraw extra money will be eliminated, meaning that there will be no nasty shocks when they check their bank account the next morning.