Times are hard, and everyone you speak to seems to be struggling to make ends meet whatever their financial situation. Even those on relatively good salaries are feeling the pinch as utility bills continue to rise and the weekly shops seems to cost more and more every time.Of course there is one group of people who are infamous for moaning on about money, or lack of it, and they are students. Leaving the comfort of the family home and moving into student accommodation, suddenly being responsible for their own finances and managing their own budget can be quite a shock to the system to some young people. The realisation that money doesn’t grow on trees can be a difficult lesson to learn for even the brightest sparks. So what can we all do to make our money stretch a bit further each month, short of robbing a bank?!Well….banks, theres an interesting place to start. Some blame the banks for getting us into this mess in the first place but hey no need to hold a grudge. Lets just have quick think about how we can use the banks to improve our own individual situations.
Students can often get a really good deal from banks so while they are out looking for student properties it may be a good time to bring up the subject of bank accounts.They will often offer some really good incentives such as free music downloads, gig tickets and discounted train fares just for opening a new current account with them. As for the rest of us, keep an eye on interest rates on your savings account and if another bank is offering a better rate then switch. likewise with ISA’s and mortgage deals. Being on the ball and playing them at their own game is the only way to bet the bankers!
Cashback is the new buzzword for the internet savvy shopper and most students know their way around cyberspace pretty well. Sign up now to quidco, topcashback or kidstart to take advantage of some really great money saving deals. High payers tend to be mobile phone companies and, insurance providers as well as many well known high street stores and restaurant chains. There is a voucher available for almost anything online so never buy anything without googling it first!
One thing that students learn very quickly is that the best way to save money is to learn to share. Some find this hard, others take to it very well. But living in student accommodation is far easier and cheaper if you can agree a food budget and shop as a collective rather than every man for himself. Buy things like pasta in bulk and give the cheaper supermarkets a go instead of sticking to the one your mum always uses! Be brave and experiment a bit with cheap but interesting recipes that are easy to prepare for a group of people. And although it is tempting to opt for a take away every night (which are often conveniently located close to student properties) this really is the most expensive option so avoid, avoid, avoid!!
Money may be tight but with a bit of thought and planning you can make even the smallest budget stretch to meet your needs.