You don’t have to ac­cept vouch­ers for can­celled rail jour­ney

Warwickshire Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE -

INANCE and fresh­ers are not al­ways a grade A com­bi­na­tion. As stu­dents pre­pare to head off to uni­ver­sity, many will get their first real taste of fi­nan­cial in­de­pen­dence.

And with a whirl­wind of so­cial engagements, the pres­sure to blow the bud­get when you’re set­tling into stu­dent life can be strong.

More than half (56%) of stu­dents who have al­ready had their first taste of uni­ver­sity life say liv­ing away from home was more ex­pen­sive than they had ex­pected, re­search from HSBC found.

The study found that, on av­er­age, stu­dents can ex­pect to spend £3,304 dur­ing the first 100 days of start­ing their first term and also sug­gested stu­dents spend nearly twice as much on al­co­hol and nights out dur­ing their first 100 days of study as they spend on course ma­te­ri­als. The £3,304 av­er­age fig­ure in­cludes £1,279 spent on rent, £670 on food, £184 on travel, £155 on cloth­ing, £328 on course ma­te­ri­als and £626 on al­co­hol and nights out.

As a re­sult of their spend­ing habits, one quar­ter (24%) of stu­dents bor­row money, use a credit card or dip into their over­draft be­fore the first term is over, the re­search among more than 1,000 uni­ver­sity stu­dents found.

To fund their first 100 uni­ver­sity days, three-quar­ters (75%) used a stu­dent loan and 42% had help from fam­ily mem­bers such as the “bank of mum and dad”.

One in six (16%) had a job to fi­nance their first 100 days of study­ing and the same num­ber used an over­draft. It seems a lack of plan­ning is be­hind many

money mis­takes made at uni­ver­sity.

Look­ing back, 35% of stu­dents sur­veyed would have bud­geted more care­fully and 33% would have saved more money be­fore­hand.

One big fi­nan­cial de­ci­sion stu­dents will need to make is which stu­dent ac­count provider to use.

Rachel Springall, a fi­nance ex­pert at web­site Money­, says just be­cause a par­tic­u­lar bank is nearby or on cam­pus, or of­fers par­tic­u­lar perks, this doesn’t mean

it’s the best deal for your needs.

She says: “Stu­dents need to be sure the ac­count can sup­port them through their years of ed­u­ca­tion.

“Some perks are just gim­micks and don’t give much value to the longevity of the ac­count. Re­search­ing all the avail­able ac­counts and weigh­ing up the over­draft fa­cil­i­ties should be the first step.”

Rachel warns that while it’s tempt­ing to dip into your over­draft, “there is a huge dan­ger of rack­ing up a large amount of debt and not be­ing able to pay it back”.

Shar­ing with your house­mates – whether it’s set­ting up a rota for meals or hand­ing down course books – can also keep costs down.

Rachel also sug­gests mak­ing the

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