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Back and fresh as a daisy!

25 May

Hello you lovely people!

First of all let us apologise for the lack of posts from us over the last 6 months. We have been very busy people, and due to other commitments this blog had to take a back seat. However, we have decided that it’s now the right time to begin helping all you fab, broke, students out again and continue doing what we set out to do!

So, all those favourites are going to be coming back; Cheap Eats, Delectable Discounts, student money news and lots of other clever things in between.

Do let us know what you want to find out and we’ll do our best to continue bringing the most relevant and useful topics to your attention.

Lots of love

Clever Student Money

Send My Bag

5 Oct www.sendmybag.com

You probably know all too well just how much ‘stuff’ you can take to University with you.  Most people are dropped off to Uni for the first time by their parents in a packed car that just about survives the journey from home to halls.  By the time Christmas rolls around, the amount of possessions you have seems to have miraculously doubled (it’s never just books) and you have to decide what to take home for the holidays.  January exams looming means the text books are a must, then there are the clothes, laptop, Christmas gifts…the list goes on.  You bundle it all into various suitcases and duffel bags, catch a cab to the station and somehow manage to catch the train.  Of course this is where the nightmare really begins; multiple heavy bags + train changes + delays + the odd bit of rain + cramped train carriages definitely does NOT equal a happy student.  Even worse than having to catch the train home with all that luggage is of course having to fly home.  Not uncommon now as the cost of domestic flights plummet.  However, the cheap airlines usually charge a minimum of £20 per bag with a weight limit of 20kg.  Definitely not conducive to student packing or budgets!

Sound all too familiar?

There is now another way to move your kit at the beginning or end of the semester, the year or even when you graduate!

Send My Bag costs £22 per bag or box (£19.80 when you send 3 or more bags) with 30kgs weight allowance per item.   If you hold that elusive NUS Extra card or have a UCAS application card then you qualify for further discounts when you provide your card number.   So what do you get for your money?  It is a student courier service that does all the hard work for you.  You can order delivery for just 48 hours after collection to any address in the UK.  They will accept boxes or suitcases and even sell a packing kit if you need supplies.

So who can save money?  Although designed for students, it is open to everyone; according to the FAQs, customers are even using them to move house.  For what it is, a personal courier service, it is good value.  If you are flying then it is definitely going to be cheaper than paying airline baggage costs and then having the hassle of dealing with your luggage at the airport.  If you are getting the train then it may not save you money but it will save you hassle and valuable time.

A brand new service that the company offer is the storage facility. It’s common for new graduates to have a limbo period over the summer of their graduation when they need to move out of their student digs but haven’t started at a new job.  Send My Bag offers to store the luggage you wish to send for 2 months at a meer £20 on top of the £22 you pay to send it.  It only takes a glance at some of the other storage companies out there to know that this is a competitive rate.   This could also be used by EU and International students whilst they go home for the summer as a good way of avoiding excess storage costs and is definitely easier as you don’t have to take the boxes to the storage facility yourself.

We can see the benefit for both students, young professionals and home-movers alike from both a money- and time-saving perspective.  However we haven’t been able to test any of the services ourselves yet, we would really like to review the service properly for you so hopefully we can decide on something to send to someone (apparently we aren’t allowed to send the cat) and then we’ll give you a proper consumer review!  In the meantime, let us know if you have used the service and what you thought.

Love

CSM

BBC News – Where does coalition stand on university funding?

15 Sep

BBC News – Where does coalition stand on university funding?.

Whilst this won’t affect us right now (remember the Lib Dems campaign trail…student fees to be abolished with immediate effect?), it is still important to think about what is going to happen.  Surely this broken system can’t survive much longer?

What are your thoughts?

CSM

Introducing: Cheap Eats

3 Sep

Here at Clever Student Money we love our food.  We don’t just love food, we love cooking food.  Mainly because we’ve discovered how much cheaper it is to cook properly rather than rely on the microwave and local takeaway.

However, we also know how scary it can be trying to cook for yourself if you have never done so before.  It’s alright scraping together a meal at home when the food is in the fridge and you have a full store cupboard to raid.  Even if you are a competent cook, it’s suddenly a bit different when you have an empty fridge, just a bit of mouldy bread in the cupboard and no fresh vegetables to speak of (and no that green ‘thing’ growing in your cereal bowl definitely isn’t a fresh vegetable).

It’s hard to know where to start when it comes to stocking your cupboards and filling your fridge.  Our ‘Cheap Eats’ series is going to be a weekly blog post that aims to gently educate you in how to keep yourself happily and healthily fed at University.  It will guide you through how to stock your cupboard with the essentials, show you the best places to do your fresh produce shopping and suggest some yummy, simple and quick recipes that will keep you happy.

As we mentioned in ‘Ahh! It’s time to pack!’, there are some great student cookbooks out there.  We recommend The Virgin Student Cookbook.  It’s easy to read, full of great advice and fantastic recipes.  It even has a section devoted to hangover cures…that’s got to be a good book!

So now we have introduced this series, it is time to introduce a website that is brand new to us but already top on our list of money saving sites!

It was pointed out a few days ago by Miss Thrifty over at her blog.  We’ve had a good look at it and are very excited!  (You can see her original blog post about the site here).

The website is The  Resourceful Cook and is a great way to plan a weeks meals in just a few minutes.  You can select 1, 2 or 4-person menus and even adjust the menus according to your tastes and budgets.  There are several low-cost menus in their frugal eats menus.  The menu planner pulls out 7 recipes for dinner that week and then if you approve, creates a shopping list with a total estimated spend.

For example:

Meals for 1 Person.  Menu plan: ‘Frugal Favourites 1’.

Meals suggested:

Cottage Pie, Spaghetti and Meatballs, Sweet Chilli Chicken Kebabs, Chicken Curry, Creamy Mushroom Crumble, Cashew Curry, Sweet and Sour Pork.

Sounds yummy to us!!

It assumes you have a basic store cupboard (really basic, don’t worry!).  It quotes an estimated cost of £11per person for the weeks food, the ingredients are listed as a shopping list with the quantities required.   It also gathers all the recipes into one place as well.

It’s a great idea, and a great way to meal plan without having to sit down and work it out yourself.  We are going to trial the site and it’s recommendations to see how accurate it is with ingredient prices.  Of course, we shall report back to you all with our opinions.

From experience, once you have done a few shops and start getting your store cupboard stocked up, it becomes easy to cook from scratch with just a few fresh groceries needed to be bought.

Don’t forget to invite us to dinner when you feel ready to debut your cooking skills!

Be back here, same time next week for the next installment in Cheap Eats!

Love

CSM

A sneaky peek…

1 Sep

…into what is coming up on this blog.

Our first day has been great fun, the bank account series has generated a lot of traffic through the site with over 150 people having looked at the articles since lunchtime.

There is definitely  more of that type of useful article just around the corner.  As well as some other very exciting blog posts…

A couple of weekly series that will be starting soon include:

  • Cheap Eats – short, easy, healthy, very tasty and most definitely cheap recipes that will not only keep you full up but keep vital cash in your wallet.
  • Unmissable discounts -hand-picked student discounts and offers that are just too good to miss!
  • Student Card bonus – highlighting one or two student discounts a week that are permanently available to student ID card holders.

As well as all those fab things we bet you can’t wait to see, there will also be advice on how to make shared accommodation work for you, best travel deals, ways to help your bank balance survive Freshers Week (or Fortnight!) and snippets of what both your Student’s Union and the NUS are doing to help us save money.

We can’t wait – hope you are as excited as us!

Don’t forget to subscribe to the blog in the box to the left, follow us on twitter and ‘like’ us on Facebook!

Happy  ‘Clever Student Money’ day!

The dreaded student bank account hunt: Part 2.

1 Sep

Right, time for Part 2 of the student bank account saga.

In Part 1, we talked about what banks have to offer students and now it is time to get down to the nitty gritty facts and figures.

Skip to the bottom of this post to see our round-up of the best student accounts at the moment.

So there are nine high street banks who offer student bank accounts.
These are (in alphabetical order just to be fair!):
Barclays
Co-operative
Halifax
HSBC
Lloyds TSB
Natwest
RBS
Santander
Smile

We shall briefly outline the first year overdraft limits, how much the overdraft can rise to, interest rates, what freebies are on offer and where you can find out more information. Unless otherwise stated, all of the accounts require you to be a student studying for a degree or equivalent course. Most require you to be over 18, but a couple say 17 and a half. It’s really important to check how much the bank expects you to deposit and whether they need to see proof from UCAS. All that information is easily accessible via the links provided below.

Here we go!

Barclays:
Account name: Student Additions
First year interest free overdraft limit: Initially £200, can be increased.
Maximum interest free overdraft: up to £2000
In-credit interest rate: 0% (*we keep our promises – see glossary for interest rates/AER definition).
Interest on overdrafts over the 0% limit: 8.9%
Any freebies available?: Offers with Phones 4 U.
More information please!

Co-operative:
Account name: Student Account
First year interest free overdraft limit: £1400
Maximum interest free overdraft: £2000
In-credit interest rate: 0%
Interest on overdrafts over the 0% limit: 9.9%
Any freebies available?: None
More information please!

Halifax:
Account name: Student Current Account
First year interest free overdraft limit: £500 initially, more can be requested.
Maximum interest free overdraft: £3000
In-credit interest rate: 0.1%
Interest on overdrafts over the 0% limit: 7.2%
Any freebies available?: 25% discount with the AA, 20% discount with their card care insurance scheme.
More information please!

HSBC:
Account name: Student Bank Account
First year interest free overdraft limit: £1000
Maximum interest free overdraft: £1500 for 3 year degrees, £2000 for 5 years.
In-credit interest rate: 2% on balances up to £1000 (first year only), 0% on all other balances.
Interest on overdrafts over the 0% limit: HSBC base rate plus 3%
Any freebies available?: Two years worldwide travel insurance. Free TalkTalk sim card.
More information please!

Lloyds TSB:
Account name: Student Account
First year interest free overdraft limit: £1500 tiered through first year
Maximum interest free overdraft: £2000
In-credit interest rate: 0.1%
Interest on overdrafts over the 0% limit: 8.2%
Any freebies available?: NUS extra card for 3 years, NYA membership for 3 years. 40 free music downloads plus free mini speaker.
More information please!

Natwest:
Account name: Student Account
First year interest free overdraft limit: £1000 tiered by term
Maximum interest free overdraft: £1500 for 3 year degrees, £2,000 for 5 years.
In-credit interest rate: 0.1%
Interest on overdrafts over the 0% limit: 17.81% plus £5 per unpaid item.
Any freebies available?: 5 year young person’s railcard. Student discount card. £100 off ASUS laptop.
More information please!

Royal Bank of Scotland:
Account name: Student Royalties
First year interest free overdraft limit: £1000 tiered over 3 terms.
Maximum interest free overdraft: £1500 for 3 year degrees, £2000 for 5 years.
In-credit interest rate: 0% from 22 September
Interest on overdrafts over the 0% limit: 17.81% plus £5 per unpaid item.
Any freebies available?: Scottish students: travel package including 3 year Young Person’s railcard and 4 weeks free bus travel. Student discount card and £100 off Asus laptops. English and Welsh students: Student discount card and £100 off Asus laptops.
More information please!

Santander:
Account name: Student Current Account
First year interest free overdraft limit: £1,000
Maximum interest free overdraft: £1500 for 3 year degrees, £2000 for 5 years.
In-credit interest rate: 2% on balances up to £500, no interest paid on balances above £500
Interest on overdrafts over the 0% limit: 9.9%
Any freebies available?: 3 years of insurance for customer’s laptop, mobile phones and gadgets.
More information please!

Smile:
Account name: Student Account
First year interest free overdraft limit: £1000
Maximum interest free overdraft: £2000
In-credit interest rate: 0.12%
Interest on overdrafts over the 0% limit: 15.9% plus £30 per unpaid item.
Any freebies available?: None
More information please!

Wow, so that’s a lot of information for you to digest.

We’ve had a good browse and put together a few ‘best for…’ suggestions:

Best for…students who need the overdraft:
Halifax with up to £3000 overdraft.

Best for…students who will stay ‘in the black’:
HSBC for the first year at 2% for balances up to £1000…reassess after your first year. If you don’t want to have to change, then Smile at 0.12% is the best for you.

It may be worthwhile looking at standard current accounts if you are not going to need the interest free overdrafts found on student accounts. However, be warned that if you find yourself needing an overdraft on a ‘normal’ account, that the interest rates can be very high.

Best for…freebies:
On face value – Natwest’s railcard offer is still the best (valued at £130). Many students already have these though, so consider using the discounts or insurance offered by other banks if you do.

Hopefully this blog has helped to explain a the accounts that are on offer for you.

For explanations of interest rates, AER and some of the other technical jargon – have a peek at our glossary.

Don’t forget to let us know which bank account you chose and why!

Presenting…Clever Student Money

1 Sep

Welcome to our spangly new blog. Clever Student Money is a new blog breaking into the personal finance world. We are here to help students work through the challenges of managing money at University. We know that most students break into a cold sweat when the words ‘Student finance’ and ‘Budgeting’ are mentioned. Clever Student Money is putting a fresh new twist onto managing money and pulling all the best info, hints and tips into one easily accessible place.

What makes us the one to read? Well, we are students, we are currently at University or have very recently graduated. We know what it’s like to be scraping together the pennies at the end of term to pay for the train fare home. We know that as a student, managing money isn’t high on the priority list, so anything that makes it simpler is a great idea.

Occasionally there may be a guest blog from some very clever people who can be found working in various areas of the finance world who know just a little bit more about interest rates and ISAs than we do but the majority of these posts are written by those in the same position as you.

The Clever Student Money promises:

We promise not to baffle you with crazy words such as ‘compound interest’ or ‘Annual Equivalent Rate’ without explaining them properly.

We promise to bring all the info on student finance matters here to you, so it’s all in one place.

We promise to bring you a handpicked selection of the best discounts and offers being made available to students all around the UK.

We promise to bring you the best tips and hints to help you manage your money whilst you are at University.

We promise to update the blog regularly and answer any questions you lovely people put to us.

What we can’t promise is to not tell terrible jokes along the way and we definitely do not apologise for our awful taste in music.

Over the next few days the first few blog entries will appear. We are very excited about them – do leave us a comment to let us know what you think.

If you want to email us then you can at savvystudent@gmx.com

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter – @cleverstudents

So, without further ado, we present Clever Student Money.

Love

Clever Student Money

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