You don’t have to accept vouchers for cancelled rail journey
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 Moneyfacts.co.uk, 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