Tag Archives: Co-operative

Cheap Eats: The rise of the Farmers’ Market

24 Sep

Good Evening!

Cheap Eats is today looking at the often overlooked Farmers’ Market.   A great place to save money and to support local communities as well as picking up unbeatable fresh fruit and vegetables.  It wasn’t long ago that supermarkets weren’t the giants they have become and it was much more routine to grab your fresh produce from markets and greengrocers.  The rise of the supermarket chain has done well to put a lot of these places out of business but still some survive,  and most notably Community Farmers’ Markets are becoming more popular and popping up all over the UK.

These Markets are one of CSM’s favourite things because the produce you can buy at the markets is so fresh and so tasty.   You will never be able to eat watery supermarket strawberries again once you compare them with a punnet of fresh flavoursome strawberries grown a few miles from your house with none of the excess chemicals and a tiny carbon footprint!

Not only does the food taste amazing,  it is a much more economical way of buying your produce,  it invariably lasts longer and the stall holder is usually up for a bit of good old fashioned haggling on the price.   You can pick the fruit and vegetables up, there is no excess packaging and definitely no shrink-wrap plastic!  You’ll also be surprised at how fun it is to wander around a sunny market on a Saturday morning – the produce stalls aren’t all that’s on offer, you’ll find people selling fresh local meat, dairy products, homemade bread, local wines and sometimes stall holders may be local jewellery makers or other craftsmen.

These markets are definitely a good way to pick up some well priced food that is really good quality.   Our tip would be to head near the end of the day when stall holders will be wanting to get rid of the produce they have left, an even better time to put your bartering skills to the test!

Look out for farmers’ markets in your town or city in local newspapers and community boards.   Ask around, local knowledge is gold!   You can also search online for markets in your areas, they may be weekly, fortnightly or even monthly and it’s worth noting the dates in your diary so you don’t forget!   Don’t forget to take a strong bag to cart your purchases home!

Some Students’ Unions are now setting up their own Fruit and Vegetable Co-Operatives, like this one at Cardiff University.   For a few pounds a week, you can take home a massive bag of local hand-picked fruit and veg.  A bargain, and your shopping done for you? Bonus!

Let us know how you get on, and where the markets are in your city – we would like to create a list to share where the best markets are around the UK.

Most Universities have started Freshers’ Week now,  so if you have just moved to University or are returning for yet another year – good luck!! Enjoy,  and take advantage of the great student deals that are bound to be on at the moment.

Love

CSM

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!

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