For international students, above and over the uncertainty surrounding the entire process of travelling abroad, settling at your accommodation, making new friends, and managing your finances can be unsettling. So, in this segment, we obtain advice from a current student in the UK, on how to manage your finances while you are studying and make the most of your time at university!
Living costs in the UK will largely depend upon where your university is located, and where you choose to study. However, it is crucial to keep in mind, that costs can quickly rack up if you do not budget properly. For the average student, over and above the costs of accommodation and fees for university, a budget of £400 to £600 should suffice. However, this is largely subject to your own tastes and fancies.
To budget effectively, it is essential to open a current account with any of the standard banks like Santander or HSBC, or you can also open up an account with one of the hugely popular mobile banks like Monzo and Revolut. Both, mobile and standard banks offer savings accounts, which are recommended for students. Whatever the source of your budget is, i.e. if your parent or sponsor sends you money every month or a lump sum at the start of the year, try to keep the money in the savings account, as you will also earn some interest on it.
Most debit cards issued by British banks have the facility to enable contactless payments, which are an effortless way to travel around, especially if you are in London. Buses and tubes both accept contactless cards as a form of payment, hence saving you the trouble of buying individual tickets. However, make sure that you do not get misled by this ease! You can travel for cheaper by purchasing day tickets, or off-peak tickets, so make sure that you properly analyse your potential ticket options before committing to one!
Also, if you are a student who will be travelling across the UK frequently, suppose to visit relatives or for any other matter, ensure that you purchase a Student Rail Card, which will take 1/3 off any rail ticket! It is a very handy investment, especially for frequent travellers.
Moreover, it is important to set up a monthly budget figure and stick to it. If you spend less than what you projected, you can use the money towards next month’s budget or put it in your savings account.
Coming to spending, make sure to sign up for a free Unidays account. Unidays is a website and mobile app that verifies your student status directly with your university and offers lucrative discounts on a plethora of items, from tech gear to fashion. Physical stores and online websites alike accept Unidays as a form of student verification, and standard student brands offer a minimum 10% off all purchases.
Lastly, stores like Primark and Lidl provide standard clothing and groceries at lower prices than other mainstream brands and can prove to be a budget option to fulfil your requirements!