Going to University has never been more expensive for students than it is today. Getting a degree means that you’ll probably earn more than your peers in whatever career you’ll be working in but what’s the best way to manage your finances when you’re studying?
In this article, Oyster Loan considers:
- how much it costs for students to go to university
- what you have to spend when you get there and how to save every penny
- what you can do to bring money in
- how to find help in financial emergencies
According to the Times Higher Education supplement, English universities charge up to £9,250 a year for the tuition fees for an undergraduate degree (£9,000 for home students in Wales, £4,030 for home students in Northern Ireland, and free to home students in Scotland).
Given that the average University undergraduate course lasts for three years, you could, therefore, rack up tuition fees totalling £27,750. And that’s before you think about every other cost – and there are a lot of them.
There’s nothing you can do about tuition fees but there’s a lot you can do to mitigate the other costs you face as a student. The average cost of accommodation is £4,875 a year and, for around two-thirds of students, that price also covers utility bills like gas and electricity. If you can, make sure you move into accommodation where the rent includes utility bills as they normally average £50 a month if you pay for them separately.
You can cut back on the amount you spend on public transport by buying a student travel ticket and railcard. Expect to pay around £45 a month for a travel ticket (£90 in London) and £11.50 for a railcard (this will save you a third on off-peak rail fares).
The average student supermarket shopping trip costs around £50, meals out can cost from £15, cinema tickets from £7 and a pint of beer/glass of wine around £3.50.
It all adds up and very quickly. To offset these bills, you can take out a maintenance loan from the government for up to £8,700 a year in the 2018-2019 academic year (£11,354 in London) but the exact amount you can take out depends on your parents’ joint income.
You can also help yourself though. Take advantage of every discount offer you can where you actually need what’s being sold off cheap – don’t buy something just because there’s money off. If you’re not going to the students’ union on a particular night and you’re heading out to town, could you and your friends develop your own circuit where there are special offers in all of the bars and the restaurants? Finding two-for-one offers could as much as half the price of your night out.
For the books you need for your course, can you buy them second hand from your student union or from eBay? Whatever you’re spending money on, look for an alternative cheaper option.
It’s always important to make sure that you don’t compromise your studies by working too hard. But in the spare time you have, you can raise cash by:
- finding a part-time job – in most university cities, there are normally thousands of jobs to choose from that you can fit around your lecture times
- freelancing – got skills others would pay for? Consider bidding for jobs on platforms like PeoplePerHour and up work
- Deliveroo and other food delivery jobs – the takeaway sector is booming at the moment and some local takeaways have up to 5 delivery staff on duty on busy nights
SaveTheStudent has put together a great guide on 40 ways to make money as a student – please click here.
No matter how much you’re earning or how careful you are with your spending, sometimes there’s a financial emergency that comes out of the blue where you need to find money quickly.
The first option you should check is to see if your family or friends can help you out. If they can’t, it’s always worth going to see your bank manager see if they can give you a temporary overdraft extension. If there is money left on any of your credit cards, that’s something to consider too.
If none of those is an option for you, you might want to consider a:
- Payday loan – that’s when you borrow the money and pay it all back plus the interest in one go, or
- Short-term loan – that’s when you take out a loan and pay it back over between two to twelve instalments.
Payday loans and short-term loans are expensive and you should not rely on them as part of your normal budgeting. If you feel that your debts are getting too big for you to manage, please contact your student union or a national debt charity like StepChange.
Use Oyster Loan to cover for emergency situations when you’re a student
Oyster Loan are not lenders – we are an FCA authorised loan broker. That means we help students who need money in a hurry to compare loan offers from our panel of trusted and reputable lenders.
Fill in our simple online form letting us know how much you’re looking to borrow and how long you’d like it to borrow it for. We’ll then send your details to the top UK lenders and we ask them for the best deal we can offer you.
There are no hidden costs or fees and you’ll know exactly when and how much you need to repay each month. Our service is completely free of charge to you meaning you can find the loan you need with the best possible terms.
To see quotes from hundreds of reputable loan providers, Click Here.