Studying for a qualification in the UK could be the start of a fantastic adventure, but there are a few things you need to sort out first. Here are five financial tips to help you make the most of your studies.
1. Set up a bank account
Setting up a UK bank account gives you more security and control over your money. You can still spend it when you like, and
it’s much safer than keeping it in your pocket or hidden under your mattress.
When you open a bank account, you’ll need to show the bank or building society two types of identification:
• your passport
• proof of your address in the UK
Depending on the bank or building society you choose, the proof of address you need could differ – so ask before you apply.
2. Make a budget
Don’t spend all your money in one go; plan how much you can afford to spend each month and stick to it.
Your rent and bills should be your top priority, so always have the money in your account to cover these each month before you pay your other bills. Here is a checklist of the expenses you might face as a student.
If you create a budget, you know how much to set aside each month to cover your essential outgoings, and you’ll know how much you can spend on everything else.
If you have applied for student finance support, then work your budget around that. You can learn more about the types of student finance available to international students.
3. Look out for deals and bargains
Try to avoid buying your weekly shopping from small independent shops, as they often charge more for day-to-day items like milk, bread and toiletries.
Supermarkets often advertise deals throughout the year, like half-price washing powder, or buy one get one free on a pack of toilet roll.
If you know you’ll need these things throughout the month or year, you could save money by buying them when they’re on offer.
Most supermarkets also reduce some food at the end of each day. This could include meats, cheese, or any food that is due to go out of date on that day.
This happens because supermarkets need to get rid of the stock before the day ends for food regulation reasons, although the food is still safe to be eaten the same day.
4. Shop online to save money
Even if you don’t have the internet set up at your address, you can use the university internet to grab yourself a bargain on most household items.
You could save money by buying things like toiletries and cleaning supplies online, just watch out for any delivery charges.
5. Shop around for books
You will be asked by your university to buy books from a reading list to help support your studies.
These books can be expensive, especially when you have to buy several of them at once.
Most universities re-use their reading lists, which means that previous students might be selling the books you need.
To help you find a reduced copy of the books you need, try looking in second hand shops, or online at retailers like Amazon or eBay.