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A healthy bank balance is often an image that doesn't last for long, but a little bit of thought and some clever planning can stop the digits from dwindling...
Open a savings account - Manage your student loan as effectively as possible during your studies. If you can, save your loan instalments into an easy-access savings account so that they will be earning a little interest. Look for the latest deals at MoneySupermarket.com - Compare All UK Savings Accounts .
Interest rates are very low at the moment, but it's good practice to seek out the right savings accounts from the start and understand what makes a good financial product. Get advice from your parents, peers or the university welfare team to make the right decision.
Budget - The cornerstone of any good personal finance plan is budgeting. Essentially, this means you must only spend what you can afford and not more than you earn. It sounds simple but many students forget that student loans will eventually need repaying, along with bank overdrafts. So the more disciplined you can be at this stage, the less of a burden you will have after graduation.
Be realistic about your financial means. Work out how much you have to spend each month on essentials such as rent, utilities, travel and food. Then work out what's left for entertainment, clothing, course materials and other sundry items and allocate a budget accordingly. Ideally, save a little each month for emergency funding.
Online banking is a fantastic tool to use if you struggle to stay on top of your finances, as you can keep track of every transaction to the penny. It can also be worth making a checklist of all the items you buy, weekly or monthly. Check out our budgeting section for tips.
Set a target - If you aim to save for something like a trip abroad, a new outfit or a celebratory weekend, with a reward at the end of the tunnel, it can make it much easier to put the money away each week.
Get the discounts - Being a student means you get plenty of perks. Student discounts and offers are everywhere and with an National Union of Students (NUS) card you can get money off everything from Amazon to Topshop. It is always worth asking whenever you are in a store or restaurant if they offer student discount as it is not always advertised.
Make sacrifices - Treating yourself once in a while is fine, but buying lunch out everyday from a café or on campus is going to take its toll on the purse strings. Instead of spending £3 or £4 a day, spend £5 a week on salad, bread and fillings. It's much cheaper and will save you a fortune over a month.
Recycle - There are many websites and local groups where you can share and swap items for free with other people. Charity shops and car boot sales offer the same shopping experience as the high street at a fraction of the price, but with bargains bountiful.
Learn to share - Go to the student library in the first week of term and take out the books you need before someone else does. For those books you need to buy, check whether it is essential to have the latest edition. If it makes no difference to your studies, buy older editions which will cost significantly less from websites such as Amazon or second-hand bookshops. It's also worth speaking to others on your course to arrange clubbing together for essential purchases.
Look for bargains - Food is an area where savings can be made without compromising on quality. Firstly, never go shopping hungry. Go later in the day and see whether there are offers you can benefit from. Seek out deals and investigate local markets and discount supermarkets.
Consider putting a kitty together with housemates to buy staples such as rice, pasta and potatoes in bulk. Buy fresh food in season and eat what you buy - wasting food is literally throwing money into the bin. Cook large meals in advance and freeze individual portions for lunches.
Shop around - When trying to save money whether it's on your bank account or car insurance it's good to shop around. The internet can help with this and visiting a price comparison website allows you to see the whole market at a given time. You can then choose the ones you like and visit their websites for the finer points.
This is not a definitive guide, just some tips to help you save a bit of money for a rainy day. Being sensible with your cash and remembering that your student loan is for a term not just for a day should mean that you have enough to live, eat, buy books and have a few nights out.
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