Can you cut the cost of student life?

Thousands of students are packing their bags and getting ready for university life. But how are you going to pay for it?

In Wales the tuition fees alone of an undergraduate course is capped at £9,000 per year and that’s without considering all the other costs.

The average annual cost for student accommodation in Wales now stands at £6,168, according to new figures published today by student housing charity Unipol and the National Union for Students (NUS). This represents a rise of almost 30% since 2018/19.

Then you need to add in transport, food, books, stationery, software and electrical equipment and, of course, a few nights out per week.

According to a UK Parliamentary report, the forecast average debt among the cohort of borrowers who started their course in 2021/22 is £45,800
Here are 8 top tips to cut the costs at university:

  1. It’s always best to budget
    Draw up a spreadsheet that shows your income, including student loans, scholarships and bursaries etc; then note down all your regular outgoings.
    2. Student bank account
    Get a student bank account that offers an interest-free overdraft for the longest period possible. An interest-free overdraft can help prevent you needing to apply for a credit card which will charge interest on your borrowing.
    3. Accommodation
    Many first-year students are offered accommodation in halls of residence that are managed by their university but can still be expensive. By your second year the chances are you’ll need to rent a property in the private sector. Remember you’ll need to pay a deposit and you might be asked to pay rent over the summer to secure the property, along with additional costs like utility bills, broadband, TV subscriptions etc need to be factored in.
    4. Insurance
    If you’re lucky enough to have a shiny new laptop or tablet, you need to make sure you’ve got contents insurance for worst case scenarios.
    5. Be more focused buying food
    Steer clear of well-known brands and opt for cheaper value products in the supermarket. Try going for a shop in the evening to spot any discounted items, and plan out your meals in advance.
    6. Get on your bike
    If you live close to the university then why not walk to lectures or use a bike? It’s a good way to save money on public transport or running a car. When it comes to travelling home, get yourself a 16-25 Railcard which cuts a third off off-peak train tickets and tube fares.
    7. Look out for student deals
    Most students can get Microsoft’s entire Office suite of programmes, and other freebies, for no cost. Depending on your course, some textbooks can be expensive but check noticeboards and online sites like eBay for second-hand bargains.
    8. Use your card
    A Totum Card unlocks 350+ student discounts in the UK, in store and online.
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