How to manage your money

Coming to university is many people’s first experience of having to budget for themselves and it’s really not nearly as easy as it seems…

Hey, I'm Matty, a second year student here at Exeter, and I'm here to share with you some money tips on how to budget that little bit better at uni and make the most of your money in three simple steps:

Step 1: Organising your money

  • Check your bank account

Honestly, you’d be shocked to hear how many people I’ve spoken to who don’t check their bank account regularly. Yes, that night out was embarrassingly expensive, though you’re not going to help curb your habits unless you know what you realistically spend. Go on, open up the app and have a look.

  • Look at the features your bank offers

Many banks offer fantastic budgeting tools which can help you organise and break down spending. Digital banks like Monzo, Revolut and Starling are particularly good at this and can even help you set a budget which you can’t go over – look at this guide to digital banks here. On top of this, if you have savings in your account, make sure you’re getting the best interest rate by looking for attached savings accounts which most banks offer.

  • Consider opening a second account for uni expenses

It can be really difficult to manage your money if you have all of your money (savings, student loan, bill money) in one place. I have a second bank account which I use simply for university stuff which helps me separate expenses which are uni-based vs those which aren’t!

  • Not happy with your bank? Consider switching account

The current account switch service is a fantastic tool in the UK as it allows you to switch bank accounts with ease. Not happy with your savings rate, customer service or app features, consider using the service to easily switch to a new account. If the bank you’re switching to has a promotion running, you could earn up to £200 in cash rewards!

The Guild has tons of fantastic support guides on how to organise your money and info about the best deals on offer. Browse their page and reach out to the team if you need help, they are here for you!

Step 2: Saving your money.

  • Download student discount apps if you haven’t already

UNiDAYS, Student Beans and TOTUM are a select few of loads of fantastic student saving platforms. By getting these apps, you could save up to 50% off your favourite brands, just by using the relevant discount code.

  • Use your student card

Many shops will simply accept your student card and offer you a discount. If you’re not sure on whether a shop does, ask, there is no harm in trying and it may help you save money on something unexpected!

  • Sign up to loyalty cards

Sainsbury's Nectar, Tesco Clubcard, IKEA family to name a few. These schemes will help you save money on every shop (I usually get about £5 off every time) which in turn can help you budget better!

  • Get a cheap coffee machine

Campus coffee expenses add up fast, especially if you don’t have the ability to make good coffee from home. Browse gumtree or Facebook marketplace for cheap coffee machines, there are tons: I found a practically brand-new Nespresso machine on gumtree for £10 which serves me well and helps me save money every day!

  • Make sure you have student versions of subscriptions

Lots of companies offer student versions of subscriptions which are much cheaper than regular plans. You may need to confirm your student identity, but once you have done so, it can help you save tons of money every month!

  • Get a Railcard

If you’re like me and you use the train all the time then why not get a railcard? Santander offer a free 4-year railcard to anyone who opens a student bank account with them. If you’re not eligible for this, you can purchase a railcard for £30 which saves you 1/3 on all rail travel!

  • Use a round-up feature (if your bank offers it)

Many banks offer you the ability to round up to the nearest £1 which can be helpful in saving small amounts of money which you can put towards what you like!

The Guild run loads of giveaways and even gave away enough pasta to feed 1000 students last month! Follow and participate for a chance to save money and win big!

Step 3: Growing your wealth

  • Find a part time job

Hop on LinkedIn, Handshake or Indeed and get searching for part time jobs. Handshake is particularly good at finding jobs (especially university-based jobs) which pay better and are specifically tailored to students. Having a part time job can allow you to be a little bit more flexible with money which can help massively!

  • Become a social media influencer!

Have over 1000 followers on TikTok or Instagram, then you can influence on social media! Platforms such as Unitaskr, branded etc. are all fantastic ways to find small jobs which pay really well.

  • Sell on your house

Has your house not got student tenants lined up for the next academic year? Offer to help your landlord by selling on the house. They’ll usually pay you for doing so, you’re effectively making their lives a lot easier and might be able to house some friends if they are struggling to find a place. Always worth the try!

  • Become an event rep

Like free tickets? There are plenty of events which will pay you to promote to other students where you can be offered free tickets and get commission for each ticket sold! Get in touch with the companies which run events and offer to help out, they’ll usually advertise to students too!

  • Sell unwanted clothes on Vinted/Depop

Still have a full wardrobe of clothes you never wear? Now is the time to declutter. With a little bit of organisation and a few photos, you can make money out of clothes you never wear. Hop on Vinted or Depop to get started and make some money.

  • Take part in uni surveys/studies

Usually in late March, tons of university studies for dissertations (commonly medical, sports science or psychology based) will come available for you to take part in. Reimbursements are usually very good, and you’ll simply have to participate in some simple computer based or written tasks. Keep your eyes peeled, help someone out and earn money!

We’re so lucky that our university has so many AMAZING societies available. Want to develop your skills for free? Join a society. There are many careers focused societies which are really useful for employability but don’t forget that you can gain valuable skills from ALL societies. Browse the 300+ societies that Exeter has to offer, there is really something for everyone!

Followed all of these steps? Well done, you’re now a money master! (or at least I hope you are). Want to gain more advice or money tips? Follow the Guild on social media and make sure you read our emails to keep in the loop!

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