How much money are you wasting as a student?

The life a student is hugely rewarding. Although interesting, social and fun, student life can be difficult and more often than not that difficulty revolves around one thing: money.

The National Union of Students conducted research that showed the average university student having paid for housing and bills is left with just £11.15 a week from their student finance. Most students are forced to take part time jobs which they have to juggle alongside the workload and many of these positions are poorly paid with flexible contracts offering them the freedom they need but denying them stability or a regular income on which they can rely.

Although most students will agree that it is a struggle making ends meet, many of the smaller steps to save money are overlooked. It is a tired and over used cliché to “look after the pennies and the pound will look after themselves” but as with most clichés there is more than just an element of truth behind it.

Having spoken with a number of students on the issue a few key points regularly overlooked are:

Utilities: this is a highly competitive market and legislation has made it far easier to switch provider. As well as finding the best deals it is important to regularly shop about and check what tariffs you are on and their suitability to your usage. Phone, gas, electric and internet companies are keen to get and keep your custom so if you feel their service isn’t right for you then speak to them about your other options.

Late payments: poor financial management leads to extra costs for paying late bills and bank charges. Looking for helpful credit cards can alleviate financial pressures and help you better manage the money you have. Many companies will give you extra benefits for having paperless billing and setting up standing orders so this is another option to consider.

Gadgets: your average student home will have televisions, desktop computers, laptops, stereo systems and a whole host of other power hungry appliances. Leaving these things switched on or on standby mode over the year will mean you are wasting a considerable amount of money. If you’re not using something, switch it off. The same is true of lights and hot water systems.

Saving money is a daunting prospect that suggests all manner of sacrifice but when done efficiently that need not be the case. Just keep your eyes on things and look after the pennies. Then the pounds will most definitely look after themselves!

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