Managing your student money

Bank accounts

Listen up – banks are desperate for your business! They reckon once you join up, they have you for life.

Check out the best deals as they offer plenty of freebies, vouchers and cash back.

The top deal this year, according to Moneywise Best Buy Student Account for 2017/18, comes from Santander.

​Its 123 Student Current Account comes with a free four-year 16-25 Railcard. This gives users a third off most rail journeys in the UK and normally costs £30 a year, meaning the freebie is worth £120.

But remember to check which is the best account for you.

Banks are desperate for student business because they think they have you for life once you’ve joined up. Often it’s true!


It’s so easy to go crazy at the beginning of the first term! Parties, clubs, books, drinks, takeaway’s, etc, it’s frankly fun and mayhem. It may seem boring now but check how much you have to spend for the term and spread it out. The second half of term with nothing to spend is not a lot of fun. Try looking at OnTrees which will help you with budgeting (recommended by NUS).

Invest in an NUS Extra card

​You can sign up online on the NUS website and it will cost you as little as £12 for a year. The card opens the gate to over 150 offers and discounts in places such as Amazon, ASOS, Spotify, Superdrug, Dominoes and you could even save on cinema tickets – Odeon cinemas offer 25% off.

Invest in an NUS Extra card for as little as £12 per year.

Sign up for a UniDays account

Visit the UniDays website and sign up to get great discounts on fashion, beauty, lifestyle, food, health & fitness, technology and many other items.

Free stuff!

The team at spend all day looking for new freebies and update their website with the best freebies, samples and free stuff offers every day. There are over 600 genuine freebie offers listed on their website and they add 5-6 new freebies everyday. Why wouldn’t you?! offer freebies across a huge range of products from food to fashion to flights.

Cost cutting websites

Have a look at the following sites, they all have great ideas to help cut costs.
Student Beans – a little hub of discounts and deals specifically aimed at students.
The Student Room which hosts student forums where people often share money-saving tips.
VoucherCodes or My Voucher Codes both offer great savings.

Cashback websites

Check out cashback websites, you can save money on anything from clothes, household bills and mobile phones to insurance and it won’t affect your student discount either.

Topcashback and Quidco offer the best deals and often have attractive rates.

Earn money from your student loan

If you have a lump-sum of cash that you don’t need straight away, stick it in a high-interest cash ISA. Likewise if you have income from a job, extra to your daily requirements, pop it in that same cash ISA. Although interest rates are historically low at the moment they are ​likely to rise in the near future.

Student funding

The savvy student will be looking for bursaries, scholarships and grants. There’s plenty of money hidden away, you just have to look for it. Speak to your university or Student Union, but also look for private scholarships, sponsorships, grants and emergency funds.

The savvy student will be looking for bursaries, scholarships and grants.


If you have a part time job at university or earn a bit more in the holidays, check that you are not overtaxed. The personal allowance 2017 to 2018 is £11,500. If you earn below that amount you should not pay a penny in tax, even on your savings.

If you are being taxed, check here for information on allowances and how to get help to claim the tax back.

Round-up your spend

Here’s a no brainer, if your bank runs a ‘Save the Change’ scheme (such as Lloyds TSB or Bank of Scotland), it’s a zero-effort way to load-up your nest egg. Each time you pay with a debit card, your spend is rounded up to the nearest pound and the leftover is moved into your savings account.

Never pay to withdraw your cash!

Avoid using convenience ATMs that charge. At £2.50 a go, that could add up to a big % of the cash you withdraw. Think about it, £2.50 of £20 = 12.5%.

Avoid using convenience ATMs that charge a fee, only use those that offer free cash withdrawals.

If you find yourself in debt…

Have a look at our blog, there may be a few pointers to help you.

Avoid overdrafts

​Keep a close eye on your bank balance. If you go overdrawn without discussing it with your bank, they can hit you with large penalties.

If you think you are likely to go overdrawn then go for the biggest 0% overdraft deal that will last as long as possible. Some providers offer ‘up to £3,000’, however this will depends on you and your circumstances and your credit score (rating).

Here are a few ways that could adversely affect your credit rating:

  1. You make credit card or loan repayments late, or miss them altogether.
  2. Being declared bankrupt.
  3. Entering into an Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) or having a County Court Judgement (CCJ) made against you will badly affect your credit worthiness.
  4. Making just the minimum repayment on your credit card each month.

If you go overdrawn without discussing it with your bank you can be hit with large penalties.

Use the banks to your advantage!

You will need some discipline to do this but you can make money by controlling your finances carefully.

Here is how it works. Keep a lump of money in a high interest savings account (as high as is possible with current rates, but they are only going to go one way) and use a credit card rather than current account to buy essentials such as food.

A credit card asks for payment once a month and as long as you pay on time and in full you do not pay interest.

​You then pay the credit card bill off with money from your savings account, so in effect any interest earned in that savings account is a bonus to your finances.

Get a part time job

If you are struggling for money you may need to find a part-time job. Don’t do too many hours, after all you are at University to study!

Jobs in shops, restaurants, bars and call centres are popular among students, ask your student union for details of opportunities in the local area.

Also look at job sites online, such as StudentjobE4S or Indeed.

Get a part-time job in a bar, restaurant or shop if you are finding it hard to make ends meet.

Beware of credit cards!

Just because a credit card company offers you a nice lump of credit, that doesn’t mean you have to spend up to that limit.

If you are unable to pay your credit card bill off each month, you are on the slippery slope to financial misery.

Avoid using credit cards unless you can afford to pay them off each month.