Cheap Eats: Student Recipes

10 Sep

Good Morning all!

It’s Friday, which can only mean one thing – Cheap Eats time!

We have had some really positive feedback so far from students just desperate to learn how to eat cheaply but on a budget!

Today we are introducing you to another really good website to help inspire you into putting on that apron and getting stuck in.

It is called Student Recipes and has a huge selection of recipes for different tastes, budgets and occasions!

What makes this website a little bit different is that the recipes are all submitted by students so we know they are tried and tested!  It also means that it won’t cost you a  bomb to cook.  There is even a section for when you are cooking to impress…everyone knows the way to a man’s heart is his stomach.  And a hint for the boys out there…girls love a man who can cook!!

Check it out, have a practice and let us know what you think.  We are developing this section into somewhere you can come for recipes that we like to use, useful websites for inspiration and we will also be discussing food shopping over the next few weeks.

We hope that you all have a lovely weekend – why not test out one of these recipes on your parents?

Love

CSM

Delectable student discounts!

9 Sep

We love love LOVE saving money and the easiest way of saving money as a student is by flashing that wonderful piece of plastic.  Of course, we aren’t talking about credit cards, store cards or even loyalty cards….we are of course talking about Student ID cards.

Student ID cards are usually distributed by every University during Freshers’ Week as part of enrolment.  Ours have a lovely picture of us on (not quite that lovely as it was the morning after the night before…!), our course, a ‘Valid until:’ date, the NUS logo and clever techie bits to allow us access to libraries and our departments at University.  That’s all very nice, but the best bit is what happens when you show that card at shops nationwide (and sometimes even internationally).

‘Do you do a student discount?’ is asked at every shop, cafe and entertainment facility we go to.  A lot of the time, the answer is a resounding ‘Yes’.  More and more places are cottoning on to the fact that by offering lovely students enticing discounts, more of said students will be entering their establishment more regularly.  Hooray for us, and hooray for them.  Happy smiles all round.

This series of blog posts, hitting your computer screens every Thursday, will be highlighting key student discounts that you can get.  Some of them are permament, some are temporary.

To begin with, we’ve picked out a few that are going to help you over the next few weeks.

These are for those computer lovers among you.  Going to University is a classic time to buy a laptop or just upgrade one that you have already.  It’s an expensive thing to do, but luckily some retailers do offer great discounts if you can prove you are a student.

The big electrical stores aren’t much help when it comes to offering student discounts, however we have discovered it is always worthwhile asking even if a discount isn’t officially offered as a lot of Managers have a certain amount of discretionary discount they can use.

In our experience, we have had much better results using local and independent computer shops which have given us free software or money off the laptop itself.  Hunt around your local area, you’ll be surprised what deals you can find!  Also worth a try, is checking with your University to see if they have a computer shop or any exclusive discounts  for their students.

Our key mantra is ‘If you don’t ask, you don’t get!’

Apple UK have an Educational Store which has some great offers on their products.  However you usually have to prove your eligibility by using your university email address.  If you are a fresher and haven’t yet received an official email, then it is usually the first thing the Uni sort out for you so don’t panic!

Microsoft also have a UK Educational Store which again, you have to prove your eligibility to use but it works much in the same way as the Apple Store.  You can currently get Windows 7 Professional for just £30.  Massive savings to be had there!

Dell and Sony both offer direct student deals as well.

Another tip to save money on that all important laptop is to buy refurbished models.  It’s a great way to guarantee you are getting value for money and usually find a lot of software is thrown in as well.

On the subject of software, check out OpenSource software as a great alternative to buying things like Microsoft Office.  There are hundreds of articles singing the praises of OpenSource software, so we won’t say much about it, just that it is definitely worthwhile thinking about using that instead of spending your cash on other brands.  We use OpenOffice and love it!

Right, that’s it for today.

Up tomorrow: Cheap Eats!

Love

CSM

Useful sites: Student finance at guardian.co.uk

6 Sep

The Guardian has a selection of great articles on it’s Student finance site at the moment.  Take a look at the link given below, the articles range from talking about budgeting through to living in shared accommodation.  Well worth a flick through and probably a good one to bookmark and come back to later as well!

Student finance | Money | guardian.co.uk.

We’ll be back tomorrow with a new article and a selection of great student discounts!

Love CSM

Student Loans saga

5 Sep

There hasn’t been a September for several years that has seen nothing in the media about the student loan scheme.  Every year something seems to go wrong, whether it is applications not being processed quickly, applications being given the wrong funding or worse of all, no funding turning up at all.

This year is no different.  Once again, there are thousands of students who have received wrong or no information about their student loans.  First year students whose parents have submitted financial information, only to be told that Student Finance England (the main culprits of the mistakes it seems) don’t have any record of the information being sent.  Returning students have had loans cut by over £1000 because details haven’t been processed, and generally all students are left with a uneasy feeling and no confidence that the money will be paid on time if at all.

The latest press release from Student Finance England reads as follows:

“STUDENT FINANCE ENGLAND APPLICATION PROGRESS UPDATE – 30 AUGUST 2010

We would like to assure students that processing at Student Finance England is going well this year. There have been some reports in the media claiming that large numbers of students will not receive their funding at the start of term. We would urge the media and public to refer to our official statistics, which shows that this is not the case:

The latest statistics are from 26 August and will be updated every fortnight.

The statistics show that we have processed the majority of applications and they are ready for payment once students register at university.

We have put in place a process to ensure that even students applying just before the start of term can get the majority of their money. These students must apply online, prove their eligibility with their passport number, return their signed declaration form, and then register and attend university.

For further information please contact the Student Loans Company press office: 0141 306 2120.”

The statistics say that of 877,000 live application for student finance for the year 2010/2011, 71% (877,000) have been cleared and processed for payment.  Another 25% (218,000)  are ‘awaiting further evidence or signature from the applicant’ and then they quote 5% (40,000) of the applications are ‘currently with Student Finance England’.

As direct quotes from the statistics they have released, you’ll be as amused as us to notice that adds up to 101%.  Good omen? We don’t think so.

However, for 30% of the students who have applied for student finance, the applications have not been processed fully.  Without data about when these applications were made, we can’t comment fully on the productivity or competence of Student Finance England.  We don’t think it looks good that 2 weeks before most Freshers will be moving into their new University Accommodation, nearly a third of students don’t have guaranteed funding.

It’s bad enough that the current generation of students are coming out of University with around £21,000 in debt.  Couldn’t the government at least get a system that allowed the process to be significantly less stressful and definitely less time consuming?

We are really interested in researching the 2010 application delays further.  Please let us know your experiences at the email address: savvystudent@gmx.com or leave a comment on this blog.

The next press release from Student Finance England is due on the 9th December, with statistics to be valid as of 2nd September.  We will be watching with interest.

Hope you’re all enjoying a cosy weekend!

Love

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

Ahhh! It’s time to pack!

2 Sep

It’s now the 2nd of September, most Freshers are now just a few weeks away from installing themselves into their chosen Halls and preparing to hit Freshers’ week with a vengeance. But first, you have that tedious task of packing. What do you think you’ll need? And how much does it differ from what your parents think you need? No doubt the two lists differ massively, our list hopefully comes somewhere in the middle but definitely contains all the best time and money saving ideas that will keep Mum happy and gets you to University ready to party (study….we definitely mean study).

This isn’t a comprehensive list, however there are a few key items that will really save you time and money if you can get them before Uni, these are our suggestions to help you make the most out of those key first few weeks where the last thing you want to be doing is trailing around the shops trying to find a doorstop.

So first thing on the Clever Student Money list is:

A good cookery book: We recommend The Virgin Student Cookbook. It is a great book, simply written with yummy cheap recipes that are going to keep vital cash in your wallet, good food in your belly and not going to take hours of socialising (sorry, studying time) away from you. You can pick it up for less than the cost of a pizza from Amazon and although it is a few years old, we still haven’t found one that is as good fun to learn from. It also has some great cocktail recipes and hangover cures!

A Wok: One thing we learnt whilst living in Halls is that things go missing/get broken/get used by flatmates who don’t know how to wash up. So the number one rule for kitchen equipment at University is don’t spend lots of money. Our favourite (and most used) item in the kitchen was the Wok. It’s easy to throw together quick stirfrys, you can cook bolognese in it, stews and soups could all be made in it. It heats up quickly and holds a lot! We have even used it as a mixing bowl when making Birthday cakes. Ikea do one for £2.39, yes you did just read that right. It is good quality and lasts well. Definitely a must-have.

Cheap cutlery: Absolutely do not bother spending more than a few pounds on cutlery as it will go missing. It is easily thrown into bins, misplaced, borrowed and probably eaten. Our tip is to take more than one fork, knife and spoon. You can usually pick up 4 sets for a fiver from places like Ikea.

Bottle opener and Corkscrew: One way to make friends very quickly is to be the only one who remembered to bring a corkscrew. A favourite way of saving money for many students is to ‘pre-drink’, that is have a few drinks at the flat before heading out. Having a bottle opener or corkscrew on hand is essential in this situation. (Note…we do advocate sensible drinking! Honest!). Pick up one for a quid at Ikea or the Pound Shop.

Tupperware: This is our other money saving kitchen essential. It is hard to cook for one person, the best and cheapest way to cook is in batches. Make enough Spag Bol for 4 or 5 people, freeze 4 portions and eat one portion now! Tupperware come in useful for putting food in the freezer and fridge. Pick up a variety of sizes, they don’t have to be posh ones like your mum has. Just save some plastic takeaway boxes and lids, or alternatively places like a Pound Shop or Wilkinsons will have cheap options.

There are lots of other things for the kitchen that you will need to cook for yourself, we’ll mention some more vital pieces of equipment in our Cheap Eats series of blog posts that will be starting soon. Most good student cook books also have a list of items that will be useful to you.

Ikea, Wilkinsons and Pound shops are all good places to pick up cheap equipment. Whatever you do, don’t spend too much money on expensive equipment as Halls in your first year is the best place for it all to get wrecked, broken or lost!

Out of the kitchen, there are all the obvious things that you need to take and we refuse to patronise you by listing them for you (but please please don’t forget underwear!!). So what else is going to help you save time and money in those first few weeks?

Clothes Airer: You will no doubt have access to a launderette somewhere in your halls or on campus. However, the tumble dryers NEVER dry your clothes well at all. There is absolutely no point in pouring your cash (almost quite literally) down the drain by using tumble dryers for hours. We recommend picking up a clothes airer. One of those that collapse down flat and hold a lot of clothes. If only to dry smaller items such as T shirts and underwear. It will save you a lot of time waiting for your laundry, and pounds in drying costs. Don’t forget that as part of your halls fees, your heating is paid for – so whack the radiator up and get the clothes dried quickly for free!

Printer: Printing costs at University libraries are not economical, although there are upkeep costs to having a printer, it invariably will save you money in the long run. Printing at your University can be anything up from about 5p per sheet. When you have several essays that need handing in, these costs soon mount up. It is now possible to get cheap printers, ink can be refilled and reams of paper cost a few pounds. Definitely worth the initial outlay. Don’t forget that if you are Dyslexic or Dyspraxic you can get Computer equipment paid for and allowances for paper and ink to help you. Check with your university student support centre for more information.

Doorstop: Technically this isn’t money saving but we think it needed to be included! Most Halls rooms have self-closing doors which are fire doors so are usually heavy. The most sociable thing to do is to prop your door open, (yes, we know you are usually told not to…but everyone does), it will help you meet people, feel less isolated and generally have a few laughs. Usually about a £1 from a Ironmongers, Pound Shop or Market they are a good addition to your new bedroom!

Fancy dress: A bit of a silly one, but surprisingly expensive! Take any items of Fancy Dress that you own with you to University, you’ll be surprised at how many themed nights there are. Especially useful if you join societies (which we recommend!) as you’ll have lots of socials to attend. Of course there is always Primark but if you’ve got some accessories on hand, it will definitely lower the cost!

Chargers: For your laptop, phone, MP3 etc etc. This doesn’t need explaining – just don’t forget them!

Good bike lock: If you are taking your bike to University, we recommend investing in a good D-lock, they are much more sturdy than coiled locks. We also recommend keeping your bike in your halls bike sheds if this is available. Usually they are only accessible by a key and often are monitored by CCTV. Taking your bike to University saves you money on bus fares, gym fees and also keeps you on time for those early morning lectures!

Things you definitely do NOT need to take.

Stationary: Freshers’ Fayres are the best place to pick up a year’s worth of pens, pencils and paper for no cost at all! You really don’t need to waste valuable space in the car on stationary. Though we do recommend taking your A Level notes for relevant subjects. Also, a few ringbinders will help keep you organised. Most universities have student shops selling cheap stationary though, so it is probably worth while waiting until you are settled in before buying more.

Text Books for your course: the cheapest option is never the most advertised! Most courses offer bundles of books for several hundred pounds. It is really not usually necessary to buy all the recommended texts. Your University Library will have several copies that you can borrow when necessary. If you are desperate to key texts, then head to your school noticeboard to buy books from 2nd and 3rd years. Other places such as Amazon, Ebay, abebooks.co.ukjscampus.co.uksellstudentstuff.com may be able to provide cheap second-hand copies.  Alternatively, try a book-swapping website, such as Bookmooch or ReadItSwapIt for free texts.  University text books can be £70-£100 per book. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that hundreds of pounds can disappear on text books!

Car: this is highly debated but take time to carefully consider the pros and cons before taking your car with you to University. You are faced with not only insurance, upkeep and fuel costs, but also with very little parking around campus and even less in city centres. You also become the taxi for everyone in your flat – especially when it comes to supermarket shops! Think carefully, with a student rail card – getting home can be cheaper by train.

So that is the pick of the money saving items to take with you to Freshers…however we will be mentioning more things over the next few weeks.  If you have a great idea that we haven’t mentioned then let us know! Comment on this blog or email us at savvystudent@gmx.com

By the way…

If you really can’t figure out what else you need to take to University with you and need a comprehensive list (yes it includes underwear  and toothpaste)…then check out this list at The Student Room.

We love to keep our promises

2 Sep

So you can now see the Jargon Busting Glossary page up in the right hand corner.

We’re still compiling it but there are good number of horrible technical terms that have been explained for you.

Of course, if you see a word up there that isn’t explained well enough or if you can think of a word we haven’t defined then please let us know.

Meanwhile,  we promise to keep adding to it as we write more great blog entries for you to enjoy.

Don’t forget to share the love and share us with your friends – use the share options below each post, or sign up to the email subscription in the box to the right.

This afternoon a new post will be hitting your screens, all about some great tips on what to take to University with you to save those vital pennies (we all know there are better things to spend your money on during Freshers’ week than biros!).

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!

The dreaded student bank account hunt: Part 1.

1 Sep

It is that wonderful time of year again – September, University students across the country are stirring from their summer slumber and remembering where their text books are. Meanwhile, a whole bunch of fresh faced young new blood are buying saucepans and bed covers whilst Mum panics about whether they can feed themselves. Of course, whilst priorities differ between students and parents, one thing that is usually always high on both lists is a student bank account.

There are several options out there on the high street with each one having its own set of pros and cons.

We are going to introduce you to a few of them and hopefully help you work out which is the best account for you.

This is going to be a two-part blog entry so that we don’t baffle your brains too much. If you just want to know about the bank accounts then head to Part 2, where each of the 9 High Street banks that offer student accounts are profiled.

Back to Part 1…

Before we dive into naming banks and talking numbers, it’s worthwhile us outlining the different features of a student bank account and how they work.

Why do banks bother with students?

Banks know a few things about students and why they are beneficial to have on the books. Students are going to gain a degree, therefore generally are going to earn more than their peers who don’t have a degree. Most people don’t like faffing about with changing bank accounts as it takes a lot of organisation and hassle. Therefore, banks know if they can hook students in early, they will probably hold on to them when that student becomes a young professional. They also know that most students will end up having some sort of overdraft that as soon as they graduate, the bank can start charging interest on. Money in their pocket!

What do the banks offer?

The first thing that you usually see when you hit a bank’s website is the freebies they are offering…this year it ranges from railcards, mobile and laptop insurance to travel insurance and ‘exclusive’ discounts. Some of these are genuinely going to be useful but it is important to look beyond these and have a proper look at the account underneath. If you look at the freebies as a way to discern between two similar accounts, then you will probably get a better deal than just jumping at the first offer that seems attractive.

Probably the most important feature of a student bank account is the overdraft. Nine high street banks offer student accounts with an interest-free overdraft which has a variable limit (usually dependent on your year of study but may also depend on a credit check).

The amount of overdrafts offered vary from £500 in your first year through to £3000 in your final year. Check out part 2 to see what is offered bank to bank.

If you are the rare breed of student that is mostly or always going to be in the black, then it is worth looking at the interest offered on your positive balance. Again, varying from bank to bank and profiled in Part 2.

Of course, this isn’t just for new students, it can be beneficial for existing students to switch too. Talk to your bank, they are surprisingly helpful and many even offer free financial advice for students.

It needn’t be as scary as it seems!

Part 2 of this blog is coming up…exactly what do the banks offer?

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