28 August 2013

Posted by Discount Insurance on Wednesday, August 28, 2013
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You've just found out your A-level results and got that all important confirmation e-mail from your chosen University. Now it’s time to live like a student.

Here at Discount Insurance we have put together some cost-saving tips for you!

Invest in travel cards

No doubt throughout the University term you will be making trips home to see your mum and dad, or even for a boozy weekend at a friend’s university. The last thing you want to worry about is paying extortionate train prices. The 16 – 25 Railcard was designed for young people in full-time education. The card gives you a third off rail travel across the UK; and access to partnership offers and competitions, including West-End theatre discount and holiday offers.

As of August, 2013 - a one – year card will cost you £30 and a three-year card for £65 which can be bought online at: 16-25railcard.co.uk. However, if you sign up to certain student bank accounts, they sometimes include a rail card as part of their sign up package. If you usually travel in a group, most rail companies have a group money-saving deal – for example, three or four adults can travel for two thirds of the cost of two adults.

It’s also likely that there will be local bus operators offering travel cards, if not specifically for students, then for local residents. If you use the bus to travel into university each day, then figure out the cost of single journeys, return journeys, and a week-long travel card – it’s almost guaranteed the travel card will work out the cheapest.

Watch TV for free – legally!

The BBC license fee terms stipulate that you must pay the license fee if you watch or record the television as it is broadcast. This means you don’t need a TV licence for watching on-demand TV over the Internet. Buy a cable to connect your laptop to your TV, and that’s a lot of free, good-quality viewing with no spend. Also there are a number of pay-monthly services which require no TV license such as Netflix and LoveFilm which give the user access to hundreds of films and TV-series.  And if you do happen to have a licence, make sure you claim one quarter back for the three summer months you’re probably not in your house.

Cook from scratch and buy in bulk

Cooking from scratch is far cheaper – than simply buying ready-meals or eating take-out every day, plus it’s probably a whole lot better for your health. It’s a lot more effort and involves a little trial-and-error, but it’s much more rewarding! Buying in bulk is a no-brainer; staple; non-perishable foods like pasta are great to buy, especially as a household or a flat, as it works out so much cheaper and lasts a long while.

Vouchers & Offers

Students get bombarded with vouchers and offers particularly during ‘fresher’s week’ – a seven-day welcoming party for new arrivals at the start of the academic year. Make sure you take full advantage! In addition, there are some great sites out there to help you cut costs. A very good website is www.studentbeans.com – a little hub of discounts and deals which are specifically aimed at students.

Health Costs & Council Tax

These are still areas where students can save! Students get exemption from council tax when living in halls, or if everyone in a privately rented house is a student. However, if you do live with non-students, although the council tax bill may be reduced, you do still have to pay it! Ask your local council for more information.

Students get help with health costs such as free prescriptions, dental treatment and eye test – phone the health costs advice line on 0845 850 1166 – and they will be happy to help with any questions and queries.

Earn a little money from home

We’re not about to tell you a trick that has allowed so many ‘stay-at-home mums’ to earn thousands from home. That isn’t real. But there is a way to earn a modest amount of cash not doing very much, and that is to do online surveys or turn up to special focus group events. Payment is done in cash or vouchers, a few pounds at a time online – and a lot more in the flesh, when completing surveys for marketing firms or political pollsters.

Find the cheapest utilities

Your bills – gas, electricity, water and Internet – will account for a massive chunk of your student loan every month, so it really pays to shop around and do your homework! Don’t be afraid to switch suppliers if there is a better rate elsewhere, you do not owe these companies any loyalty!

Consider going on a meter for water, and winter fuel will hit the wallet hard if use too much central heating. And if you’re the poor one who has to get your housemates to cough up every quarter, take a look at a company like Glide, which packages up all utilities for a household and then itemises them for each resident into one monthly lump.

Do not use payday loans

This market is taking off at the moment, with the only people it helps being the lenders. The APRs are usually thousands of percentage points – and borrowing money like this is crazy. If you’re running out of money talk to your bank first, or your parents, or look for a job. If you have experienced a financial cost you did not prepare for, talk to your University’s student welfare service, which will be able to advise and provide information on certain matters.

Get insured!

Make sure you cover your possessions against theft, loss and damage when you move into your university accommodation with our Students Insurance.

At Discount Insurance, we offer new for old on all student’s contents, with no administration fees and no hidden costs. Call now on: 0208 847 8000 for a quick-quote.

Gaurav Ahluwalia