As a student, you’ll be on a tight budget, so it’s important to manage your money well.
If you’re worried about how you’re going to cope, read our advice with some handy tips from our current students on how to make your money stretch further.
Most big banks offer student accounts with a variety of freebies and interest-free overdraft deals. Make sure you compare interest rates and other charges and pick the best overall deal, not just the one with the best freebie or the one nearest campus. Don’t rely on your overdraft as an extra source of income and never go over your overdraft limit, as charges can mount up.
Resisting the temptation to utilise city centre conveniences like taxis and takeaways can save you a lot of money.
Set a budget that includes all your cost, including toiletries, clothes, uni essentials and socialising.
It’s really important to budget week by week to make sure your money will last throughout each term. A simple way of doing this is to:
Now stick to your budget! Make sure you don’t overspend by using online banking to check your balance regularly.
Remember that you’re likely to have to pay a deposit for your second year accommodation in the second term of your first year. I think a lot of people forget about it and don’t budget for it.
Make the most of student travel passes. As a student, you are entitled to a 16–25 Railcard (even if you’re a mature student!) which reduces all fares nationwide by a third. You can buy a one- or three-year railcard online, or at your nearest train station office. Stagecoach and First Bus offer discounted weekly, monthly and termly and annual tickets across Manchester. You can also buy these from the Student Union and can even use your Met Card to pay.
I use my Unirider bus pass to travel to University. I can use it on so many buses so I’m never waiting long at a bus stop.
Sign up for any freebies from your mobile phone provider, as a lot of them offer discounts on things like cinema and concert tickets. I have signed up with Vouchercloud and Student Money Saver websites and get a lot of discounts and freebies from those.
If you are living in a Hall of Residence, you don’t have to pay Council Tax and you don’t need to claim an exemption. If you are living in private accommodation with other students you don’t need to pay council tax but you do need to let the council know that you are exempt. You can claim an exemption online if you live in Manchester. Contact your Student Hub for further advice.
Get to know your local grocer! Picking your own fresh fruit and veg means you only get as much as you need. The stall outside All Saints Park on Oxford Road is a great place to start.
If you can, save money by pooling resources with your flat/housemates and cooking together – it’s also more fun! If you are really organised, plan your meals for the week ahead, make a shopping list and stick to it. Supermarket own brands are often much cheaper and can be just as tasty.
Make your own lunch and bring it with you every day. The cost of lunches, drinks and snacks really adds up.
Save money on books by borrowing from the library where possible and make sure you make the most of their catalogue of e-journals and databases. You can also share books with friends on your course and check local bookshops for second-hand deals.
Lobby your course librarian for extra copies of high demand texts before splashing your cash. When it comes to buying books, there are plenty of alternatives to Amazon so shop around. Some Facebook pages exist for course specific resource selling.
If you have a part-time job and earn a total of less than £11,000 per year, you shouldn’t pay any tax. If you have been charged tax then you can reclaim it, either at the end of the tax year if you have an ongoing job, or if you have a short-term job you can reclaim when you’ve finished working. More advice is available on the Gov.uk website.
Not everything has to cost a lot. There are lots of great art galleries and museums in Manchester that are well worth a visit. Throughout the year there are lots of markets around the city centre that are worth a leisurely browse. There are also green spaces – Platt Fields park in Fallowfield is popular with students and is good for a summer BBQ.
It is still possible to do lots of interesting things and save money. Both the Manchester and Whitworth Art Galleries are free and in walking distance of Manchester Met accommodation.