Category Archives for "Finance"

How To Save Money on Books

save money student books

There is no denying that one of the most difficult things you’ll encounter on the way to obtaining your degree certificate is managing your money. Some people are lucky enough to have assistance in the form of government grants and student loans.

However, these forms of financial aid will often cover the tuition fees, yet they do not account for things like textbooks. When you first attend your university course and you are provided with your reading list, your mouth may drop to the floor.

You can find yourself needing to spend several hundreds of pounds just on books. Nevertheless, before you head straight to the university bookstore, you should read on to discover more about some of the most effective ways to save money on your textbooks.

Money Saving Tips For Students

  • Find out which books you’re actually going to need – Often, there are going to be a number of different books on the reading list that are barely going to be used. They may simply be included because of a certain chapter, in which case you would be much better off heading to the library and simply photocopying the pages that you need.
  • Opt for second hand books – Of course, the easiest and most effective way to save money on your textbooks is to purchase second hand textbooks. There are lots of different resources for this; both online and in your local area. There really is no need to purchase a textbook brand new. A second hand one will do the job perfectly fine and you won’t need to spend anywhere near as much money.
  • Ask the students in the upper year if they are selling any of the books – When the students who were in your class move onto year two at university, they may not need some of the textbooks on the list. Yes, some textbooks will see you through your full three or four years at university. However, there are some textbooks that you are only going to need for one year or one element of the course. This is why it is a good idea to see if any of the students in the year have any textbooks for sale. It is likely that they will be happy for a bit of cash to offload their books and you won’t have to spend anywhere near as much as if you were purchasing from the university bookshop.
  • Consider e-books – Another idea is to take a look online to discover whether an online version of the book is available. Often, e-books are cheaper than the real thing. You can either print out the pages that you need or simply take your laptop with you to your lectures. You may even hit the jackpot and find that the book you need has actually been posted online free of charge. If this is the case, make sure you download it and save your own copy just in case the book ends up being removed at a later date.
  • Split the purchase with your friend – Do you and your friend really need to have the same textbook? If you are going to be sitting next to your buddy in all of your lectures, why not simply share a book instead? When you combine this with the earlier suggestion about buying second hand books, you can really slash the price of having to make all of the purchase on your reading list. 
  • Use a comparison website – In addition to the suggestions that have already bee discussed, another good way to ensure you do not end up spending too much on the educational books you need is to use a comparison website. Nowadays, there are comparison websites for everything, from pet food to smartphones. These websites enable you to discover what sites are selling the item you need, and how much for. This enables you to find it for the cheapest possible price. However, if you are going to buy a book online, make sure you account for delivery prices because they can soon cause the amount of your purchase to mount up. 

As you can see, there are a number of different ways that you can save money on textbooks when going to university. If you follow the advice that has been provided above, you can ensure that you do not have to spend a small fortune on your reading list.

And don’t forget to check Amazon either!

A Guide To Student Insurance

student laptop insurance

Most students are living independently away from home for the first time, with complete responsibility over their finances and how they manage them. As such, it may be wise to think about how you cover those unexpected costs that can arise.

Many students aren’t able to cover the costs of accidents and unfortunate incidents out of pocket and may find themselves unable to replace the assets that are most important to their education and life away from home.

Here, we’re going to take a closer look at the types of insurance that could be essential to your student life. From your car to the contents of your home, to the travel that you might need to arrange to attend classes to the laptop that’s going to be your number one tool of choice, there’s a lot worth protecting.

Here, we’re going to look at what you need to know about all kinds of insurance that every student should consider.

Student Car Insurance

Even basic coverage for your car can be difficult to manage on top of the costs of being a student. In 2017, the average insurance premium along was over £1,200. In part, this is thanks to the fact that students are considered a higher risk customer by insurance providers, due to the fact that they are more likely to be in an accident. Many student areas around the country also have higher risks of theft and vandalism, which can also increase those premiums.

However, if you drive a car, you cannot live without car insurance. It’s a legal necessity. However, there may be ways to reduce the cost of your coverage:

  • Invest in security: Added security features, such as alarms, steering wheel locks, and other insurance provider approved accessories reduce your risk of theft. This reduced risk can mean reduced premiums from your insurance provider.
  • Add named drivers to your policy: Having more experienced drivers as named drivers on the policy can also reduce your premiums. This is simply because the insurance provider sees that lower risk drivers are likely to use the car more often, meaning the overall risk attached to the insurance decreases.
  • Check out black box policies: Black box and telemetric policies use modern technology to track driving habits. If you prove your own safe driving habits, you can reduce your premiums significantly.
  • Consider temporary insurance: If you don’t need your car to get around at university too much, then you might want to consider temporary car insurance, instead. This insurance covers shorter periods of time, such as driving back home for the occasional visit, reducing the cost significantly.

Of course, as will apply to all types of insurance here, it’s also important to compare policies from different providers. There are a range of insurance market comparison sites that can help you see a range of deals. You also need to consider which policies apply to you. Third party policies, for instance, have become a lot more expensive than comprehensive policies as of late.

Student Contents Insurance

This type of insurance covers the possessions in your residence, such as your clothes, furniture and phone. Areas where students tend to live, such as in halls or shared houses, tend to be targeted more often by criminals, due to the fact that they are likely to have valuable possessions.

Theft is one of the greatest reasons to consider protecting your valuables with contents insurance, but it also protects against things like fire and accidents. Annual contents insurance costs don’t tend to be too much higher than £60. However, this is because they don’t cover everything. For instance, your laptop may be considered too valuable for contents insurance and worth covering in a separate policy. Besides laptop insurance, here are other types of content insurance worth considering:

  • Gadget insurance: This covers gadgets, such as phones and tablets, protecting them against theft, accidental damage, liquid damage, and loss. While many insurance providers provide it as a part of contents insurance, not all do, so make sure you do your research.
  • Tenants’ liability insurance: Your contents insurance will not cover the fixtures and fittings of your landlord’s property. As such, if you want to make sure you’re not paying out of pocket for any accidents that happens to their property, you may need to consider this as well.

Besides comparing the different student contents insurance out there, the best way to reduce your premiums is to secure your contents. Choosing properties with working burglar and fire alarms and ensuring that it has secure doors and windows that are always kept locked can help you manage your contents insurance costs. There is also the ability to increase your compulsory excess to reduce your premiums, but this means you will have to pay more if you do, in fact, have to make a claim.

Student Travel Insurance

Not every student is going to need travel insurance. This mostly applies to those who are studying abroad and can cover a wide range of needs, such as medical treatment for accidents and illnesses overseas, stolen, lost or damaged baggage, and so on. There are many different types of travel insurance, so you must pick one that fits the nature of your trip.

Single trip coverage, for instance, will cover you for one trip. Annual cover will cover you if you have multiple trips you’re planning. There are also more specialised types of cover, like backpacker trip coverage, sports travel insurance, and extreme sports travel insurance. It’s important to consider the nature of your trip to make sure you get the kind of coverage you need. For instance, a regular single trip coverage may not cover you if you end up getting in a snowboarding accident.

However, here are some of the aspects of the trip that most student travel insurance deals will cover:

  • Travel cancellation: This will cover the cost of a trip, including things like hotel and flight costs, should you need to cancel the trip or end it early due to emergencies and other significant events.
  • Emergency medical treatments: These policies cover not just any of the costs of medical treatments in the event of injuries, accidents, and illnesses. They can also cover the costs of having someone fly out to support you while receiving treatment, as well as the cost of getting back home after treatment is finished.
  • Baggage and possession issues: This includes cases of loss, theft, and damage. What possessions are covered by the policy can change from provider to provider, however, so It’s always worth looking more closely into.
  • Flight delay and cancellation: If a flight cancellation or delay causes you to miss out on something that you have paid for in advance, this coverage can help you recoup the costs.

Student Laptop Insurance

Amongst the most important possessions in every student’s loadout is the laptop. It’s essential for doing your work, studying, and managing your student life. However, laptops are often too valuable to be included as part of your student contents insurance without increasing your premiums significantly. As such, they may need their own coverage. Laptops can be covered as part of student gadget insurance, but there are more specific deals solely for laptops.

Before you look at student laptop insurance, it’s important to check whether or not your laptop is covered by any existing policies. It’s not likely, but it might be covered under your contents policy. Other ways to make the costs of student laptop insurance more manageable are as follows:

  • Decide on different levels of cover: Many policies allow you to choose whether to add breakdown cover (if it stops working), theft and loss cover, and accidental damage cover. Consider which risks are more likely and think about whether you could safely choose a policy that lacks any of these kinds of cover.
  • Protecting your laptop: Taking security measures such as registering and tracking your device (so it’s more easily recovered by police if stolen) can help reduce the premiums of laptop insurance.
  • Consider paying more in excess: Some providers will allow you to decide how much excess you will pay in the event that it is stolen. If you’re willing to pay more in excess fees, you can reduce your premiums.

As with all insurance deals, make sure that you compare providers across the market to get the best deal, too.

What student insurance do you need?

It’s important that you accurately assess your risk or, rather, what costs you can cover yourself and what costs you may need some help with. If you don’t drive a car or don’t have to travel to and from your place to study, then you’re not likely to need car or travel insurance. Similarly, if you don’t have contents that are worth enough to necessitate insurance, then you might be able to skip that coverage, too.

However, if you can identify those assets you can’t live without and can’t afford to cover, yourself, then hopefully the tips above help you understand what insurance is out there and how to find the best deals.

Student Finance

student finances

Going to university can be a fantastic experience in so many different ways. New people, experiences and much new knowledge as you complete your studies. The finance part can be a little daunting when you haven’t had to manage your money before in the same way. With this in mind, let’s take a look at some tips for managing your student finances! 

Maintenance loan 

You won’t need to worry about your tuition fee loan because this will go straight to your university without you having to lift a finger! Your maintenance loan is a loan that you are paid to cover your living costs and help you to make ends meet during your course.

These loans are based on your household income. So with a lower household income, you will qualify for more support. If your household income is higher, you will be expected to make up the difference that you will need to fund all your expenses. The extra money could be achieved via your parents, savings or you own part-time income. 

  Once you get your maintenance loan approved, you’ ll need to know how to manage it. The most important thing to do is to budget properly and stick to it. Write a record of all your expenses from your rent to your bills, an approximation of groceries and materials you will need to buy for uni. (Don’t forget to factor in your leisure fund for some nights out!)

Once you know how much you need to spend on everything per month, you can track this against your maintenance loan payments and ensure that you don’t overspend. It’s good to keep a record or spreadsheet of your budget, but if that idea makes you yawn- why not try a budgeting app?

There are plenty of great budgeting apps out there right now, which can help you to manage your finances in a tech-savvy way! 

Budgeting apps 

One great budgeting app out there right now is ‘Mint’. The app can be synced straight to your account and update your spending on the go. You can use mint to create all the budgets you could dream of from rent to food and even more niche ones like beer or clothes! There is a top feature on mint which allows you to track credit cards against the money you have to pay them back (an excellent feature if you’ve got your first student credit card)! 

 PocketGuard is another excellent app that helps you to stop overspending. This one links to all your accounts and allows you to compare your spending with your budget. Put all your expenses and bills into PocketGuard, and it will work its magic! There is also a helpful feature which allows you to analyse your monthly bills, be this the internet or your TV. PocketGuard helps you to see if you can find a better deal on these costs elsewhere. You can end up reducing your spending this way (yes please)! 

Student grants 

Depending on your circumstances, you may be eligible for other means of financial support in the way of grants or bursaries. These options will again depend on your financial circumstances. You may have been awarded a bursary if you are from a low-income household or have children to look after.

When you are applying for your student finance, it’s worth looking into anything extra that you can apply for, even if you’re unsure if you qualify. When you are at university and trying to manage your studies and money, you’ll be happy with any extra pennies you can get!

If you do get a grant, it’s best to put this straight into your budget for your living costs as opposed to seeing it as some extra cash to splurge with. Remember, you got this money for a reason, so it’s best to keep it for that reason! 

Student credit cards

Student credit cards are sometimes considered a no-go area because it’s just another debt to pay back. However, if you use a credit card to your advantage, you can both help yourself out financially and build a good credit ranking.

The key is to understand the interest rates because if you can master this, you will be less likely to overspend. When you are searching for a credit card, you should pay close attention to the APR, the credit limit and any late fees. Having a good understanding of all of these things will allow you to stay on track.

You will want to try as much as you can to pay the balance off in full each month to avoid any interest or charges. You can put your credit card into your budgeting app to help you to do so. 

Student bank accounts

 To apply for a student bank account, if you don’t already have one, you will need to take with you some proof of address, proof of being a student and a form of photo ID.

You can have a shop around online and look to sources like this to see which student bank account might have the best perks and be the right fit for you. It’s a good idea to get an account with an overdraft because then if you run out of the money you will have some backup funds to help you out. Most student accounts will not charge you interest on your overdraft.

Having said this, it’s better to use your overdraft as a backup as opposed to relying on. If you spend a huge overdraft and never pay it back, once you graduate the interest will start being charged at some point!

Part time jobs 

If you want to keep on top of your finances at university, you could consider getting a part-time job. While you won’t want to take on too much that puts a strain on your studies, a few hours a week might be something that you could manage.

Even a little extra cash a week could make a world of difference. Once you get your schedule and figure out your hours in uni and workload, you could try and look for something that could fit around your lifestyle. Try it for a while, and if the workload becomes too much, you can always leave the job by giving enough notice.

You could end up saving a little bit of money this way if you can be sensible with your finances. 

Shopping lists 

When you first become a student, it can sometimes be a little difficult not to overspend. If you write a shopping list of exactly what you need before you get to the supermarket, this will make it much easier for you to stick yo your budget and not waste anything.

You may have had a favourite supermarket when you lived back home, but now that you’re paying the bills, why not check out a budget supermarket? There are plenty of great offers at places like Aldi and Lidl where you can get lots of fresh produce at a reduced price to a more ‘upmarket’ store.

You can make small savings every day but purchasing the essentials as opposed to splurging on lots of items that you didn’t really need! 

Parental contribution 

If you are from a higher-income household, it likely that your parents may be contributing to your university expenses. Again, you should factor this into your normal budget as opposed to spending it on leisure items.

Sometimes, it’s not always so easy to stay on top of your finances, but with a little trial and error, you will find some good habits! If you get into an emergency situation, don’t be afraid to reach out to your friends and family for help. Sometimes we all need a bit of extra help, and you can always pay people back when you can. 

Phone & wifi costs  

Mobile phones can be a significant expense, so it’s a good idea to have a shop around before you sign up to an expensive contract. Consider opting for an older model; you’ll still be able to get something high quality at a reduced price.

If you buy an old phone with no contract, you could opt for a sim only deal which will save you money. If your wifi isn’t included in your accommodation, then you will want to ensure that you check out all the options and find the best price you can. Sometimes it’s tempting to go for the first option you see, but this may not be the best one to save you money! 

It’s not always easy to manage your money, so don’t stress if you get it wrong and blow the budget once in a while. Once you get into good practices with your finances, the whole thing will become second nature. Remember, you can use the summer holidays to work full-time if you wish when uni is out! Doing so could give you a real boost with your money when you return for the next year in September.