Unless you’re extremely lucky, when you’re a student you will always have to watch your budget. Student loans and grants are just enough for the necessities but there’ll always be more tempting opportunities to seize hold of than you rationally know you can afford. Even when you’re living in student accommodation London can be very expensive so here are some tips for making your budget go further and getting more out of student life.
Use the Library
Academic books are expensive. For one thing, they are the work of lots of highly qualified experts who command large fees (and maybe one day you’ll be joining their ranks), and for another academic publishers know they have a captive audience of students who need access to their books to write essays and pass exams.
You can avoid a big bill by making full use of the library: check out reading lists in advance to get hold of the key books before a crowd of students from your course descend. Look outside the university network as well: local libaries might have books you need that are overlooked by other students, and with cheap DVD and audiobook hire, are also a good source for low budget entertainment into the bargain.
Odds are you’re likely to need your phone replaced while you’re studying: mobile phone theft is rampant, sadly, but so are students being careless, drunk, exhausted from pulling library all nighters or a combination of all three. This is a recipe for mobile disaster, with handsets lost, cracked or dropped into toilets on a night out.
Phone insurance can make sure you get a replacement handset without delay or additional expense. You can often find reasonable schemes offered by your provider or your bank. If you have family who are keen to contribute to your university experience, this is one relatively low cost way they can reassure themselves they are keeping you safe and happy while you study.
If you travel a lot it’s worth looking into the discounts and schemes that can save you money. Most bus networks offer a student travel card that works out to be a good deal as long as you know you’ll use it, and railcards require some initial investment but can pay for themselves, especially if you live a long way from where you study.
Remember, if you’re having difficulty with finances while you study, consult your student union who can direct you to resources that can help.