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How To Manage Your Student Finances

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According to the National Union of Students it costs more than £15,000 a year to be a student – that’s approx £4,000 more than the maximum amount of state loans and grants you might receive, and you’ll probably have to subsidise your further education with part-time work. Here are a few hints for some forward-financial planning:
1: 
Communication: Keeping in touch with home and the internet costs money, so shop around for the best deal from mobile and internet providers. Many broadband contracts last for 12 or 18 months, with a penalty for early termination.
2: 
Travel – coach or rail fares home. Railcard and Young Person’s Coach-card offers discounted fares for anyone in full-time education.
3: 
Accommodation: This is likely to be your biggest outlay and, together with electricity bills, will eat into your allowance. Consider renting a room in a private family home until you find your feet and work out exactly what you can afford, and what is available.
4: 
Utilities: Anything left on stand-by is wasting electricity, so turn appliances off at night and whenever you go out. Avoid using electric heaters.
5: 
Food – sharing and preparing meals with other students can reduce food expenses. Buy ‘own brand’ from the supermarkets rather than favourite brands.
6: 
Books and stationery. Second-hand book stores can slash the price off buying new; check out local £-pound shops for discounted stationery.
7: 
Social life: For an initial £11 for a NUS Extra card you will be eligible for discounts from more than 130 outlets, including books, DVDs, music, fashion, sports goods, restaurants and cinema tickets. Upgrading your NUS Extra card by £1.99 gives access to more than 40,000 discounts in 120 countries.
8: 
Part-time work: You don’t have to stack shelves, wait at tables or look for bar work. Put your course knowledge into practice and enhance your CV a the same time. Start with your university careers service, who will have links with local employers offering suitable jobs. Some universities also employ their own students part-time.
9: 
Banking: All this will need to be financed so shop around for the best deals from the high street banks. All will offer some enticing student offers but try not to be convinced by superficial offers. Investigate on-line banking and text-message alerts to help keep finances in check.
10: 
Insurance: You may find that your parent’s (or university’s)insurance already covers your mobile phone and computer. Check this out.
Conclusion: 
Sensible forward-financial planning might not be high on your list of priorities but it can result in not having to worry about paying your bills … while still leaving more for enjoying yourself.
Tips: 
Say ‘no’ to a credit or store card and pay with cash where possible.
Avoid direct debits where possible.
If you’ve paid tax and national insurance on part-time work, check whether you’re eligible for a refund at the end of the tax year.
Warnings: 
No matter how careful you are with your account management, the bank will require repayment of your loan within three years of receiving your degree.
No job is worth the money if it jeopardises your degree.

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