Talking about money is like talking about sex or who you vote for – uncomfortable for a Brit, especially if the person you are talking to likes to do it very differently from you! But it needs to be done – so let’s talk about money – your students money – or yours!
According to the Daily Telegraph the top mistake students make is not picking the best bank account deal. Banks offer loads of freebies with the knowledge that people tend to stick with their banks for life. According to MoneySupermarket Santander is giving the best freebie at the moment – a 4 year rail card worth £120. Also if your child needs an overdraft make sure they go for the biggest 0% overdraft deal, and ensure they know not to go over their limit.
Teach your child how to budget – not just the obvious fact that when their maintenance grant comes in at the beginning of term it shouldn’t be spent by Friday of Freshers Week! A budgeting app recommended by 90% of the students that tried it is OnTrees (as in money doesn’t grow – geddit?) Another budgeting idea is to have 2 bank accounts – one with the money in to cover essentials – bills etc. the other for non-essentials (as parents see it anyway!) social life, gigs, balls/parties.
Insurance – special student insurance is more expensive than a standard insurance policy, but they do tend to give better cover. Check that expensive items such as computers, phones or bikes are included.
Teach your child how to cook basic meals, the benefit to making a meal plan and the difference between ‘display until’ and ‘best before’ dates. Pass on the top tip of eating before shopping to avoid expensive impulse purchases
Book buying – there are creative ways to save a few quid. The obvious options are Ebay, Abe and Amazon. The less obvious options are; borrowing from the library, (they’ll have to be quick off the mark for this one to avoid the stampede), buying them from the previous years students and renting the books (for up to 50% less than buying) from coursesmart.co.uk.
Ensure they apply for an NUS extra student card – this card offers a discount in lots of places, amongst them; Amazon – 10% off clothing for the first year and 5% off music and books, New Look & Top Shop – 10%, Yo Sushi – 25% Tues – Fri.
Train tickets, obvious but worth mentioning that if the journey from home is a long one instead of buying a ticket from A – Z, you buy one from A-L, then L-P and finally P- Z it can work out much cheaper. All legal as long as the train stops at A,L, P and Z!
Last but not least I read a good piece of advice (I haven’t credited it because I can’t remember where) – don’t compensate for the hole they will leave by buying them a load of stuff they don’t need. There will be plenty of opportunities to give them money later on! Below, some useful web sites. Have you got any tips to pass on? S