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Students in library seating in Catalyst
Navigating the Cost of Living: How to make your money go further at university

Learning how to manage your money is a rite of passage into adulthood. And there’s no better time than the present to think about how you’ll fund your way through the next few years of study. It’s worth remembering that whilst everyone’s income will be different, the challenges of budgeting and navigating the cost of living will be the same.

We don’t want money worries to be a barrier to your success. So, we spoke to some of our students to get their advice on how to make your money go further at university.

1. Set a weekly budget

Have an idea of how much you will have available to spend each week to help you avoid blowing your student loan early. Start by making a list of your expected monthly income (from any loans or part-time work, for example) and your expenses (food, bills, library fees etc) to work out how much you will have left over to spend on leisure activities each week.

“I set up two accounts; one for the full loan and then another where I paid myself every Monday. I looked at the number of weeks before the next loan, decided on a budget and transferred that money each week. It sounds simple but my other advice is to live by your means. If you know you can’t afford to do something, don’t. I was also able to get a part time job and that really helped.”

Adam, BA (Hons) Film & Television Production
BA (Hons) Film & Television Production student, Adam

You can use budgeting apps to keep check of your bank balance and track your spending habits. Make sure you deal with any bills right away too, rather than letting them pile up.

2. Get a student bank account

Choosing the right bank account is a key step in managing your money. The main things to look out for in a student account are:

  • Overdraft fees – find out how much you can borrow and if there are any charges. Some may charge interest whilst others are interest free for students.
  • Withdrawal fees – some banks charge you for taking money out, so look out for any hidden costs.
  • Interest paid on your balance – look for an account that pays on your money when you are in credit. Every penny counts.

“I found that plenty of banks offer brilliant deals to students who open a new account with them. These can be cash gifts for using your debit card or switching banks, 0% overdraft rates or a free 16-25 Railcard. Make sure you shop around before you get to university and check the eligibility criteria to make sure it’s the right account for you.”

Rachel Merrill, BA (Hons) Musical Theatre

3. Get a student railcard

Speaking of Railcards, if you don’t get one with your bank account then it’s definitely something that could save you a ton of cash if you think you’ll regularly use the train, either commuting to university or to visit friends or family. The National Rail young person’s railcard costs £30 a year and saves you a third on rail ticket prices.

Edge Hill University is right in the heart of the North West with great links to major norther cities like Liverpool and Preston, so you can explore the region and save money at the same time.

4. Spend wisely on the basics

It’s no good setting a budget if you don’t stick to it once you get to university. Try to avoid overspending by saving money where you can on essentials like your food shop and transport.

Shop around for bargains and consider learning how to cook a few basic meals to avoid relying on takeaways. Batch cooking with your flatmates is also a great way to save money on food, as well as clubbing together to buy household essentials like kitchen roll and cleaning products. Go for value brands and shop locally when you can.

“Make sure you understand what you have to spend, in a week, a month, a semester. When it comes to food shopping, I save my money by eating cheaply – own brands are not an issue – and batch cooking. I also walk everywhere. It means I can go out to social or take a trip to the beach. If you feel like you’re missing out, don’t worry and don’t compare. Not everyone is able to do absolutely everything and you’ll find other ways of having fun.”

Eleanor, BA (Hons) Sociology
BA (Hons) Sociology, Eleanor

5. Take advantage of student discounts

We know that university is also about having fun. So when you do go out or treat yourself, make sure you benefit from the discounts available to you in shops, restaurants and on transport. Sign up to sites like UNiDAYS and Student Beans for online discounts and get a TOTUM card or use your student ID in-store to make some serious savings.

Once you get the hang of prioritising, managing your money gets easier. But it’s also a good idea to treat yourself, for example if you get a decent amount of work completed. Taking time out with friends can be a great incentive and can give you motivation to work harder.”

Taaiaba, BA (Hons) Secondary English Education with QTS
BA (Hons) Secondary English Education with QTS, Taaiaba

What financial support does Edge Hill University offer?

We know that the cost of living is a big deal to you. So it’s important to know that we strive to keep living and commuting costs as low as possible for our students and have a range of initiatives in place to help you save money while you study here with us.

1. Best value accommodation in the North West

One of your main expenses at university will be accommodation. We have some of the best value for money student accommodation in the UK with a range of rooms to suit every need and budget. All our halls include utility bills and free wifi – with many even including flatscreen TVs and mini fridges. Our accommodation is also located right here on campus, which means you’ll save money on travel costs.

If you decide to live off campus in Ormskirk or further afield, you’ll find that the North West is one of the cheapest places to live and travel around whilst you study too.

2. Student job bank and part-time jobs

The Careers Team can help you find a part-time job that fits in with your studies. At Edge Hill, we have a dedicated Careers Corner in Catalyst where students can drop in to speak with one of our advisers. The Careers Portal also advertises different types of opportunities for students in the local area, as well as ways you can earn extra cash working on campus. Opportunities include working as a Student Guide or Online Ambassador as well as casual roles in departments.

“I applied for, and was successful in gaining, a part time job via the Target Connect service run by the Edge Hill Careers team. I also was also successful in obtaining another role as a video editor which came about thanks to an email sent out by my department.”

Adam, BA (Hons) Film and Television Production

3. Discounted food and commuter breakfasts

Students get 10% off food and drink using Upay, our cashless payment system used at catering outlets on campus, as well as weekly food offers. If you’re a commuting student, you can also start your day right with a free hot drink and breakfast item every Tuesday and Thursday.

4. Free travel and parking

It’s easy to get from your halls into town and onto the next great location by catching our free Edge Link bus between campus and Ormskirk town centre, available during term time.

Free parking on campus is also offered to permit holders and you can save money on fuel through our car sharing scheme, which also gives you access to reserved priority parking.

5. Scholarships and the Student Opportunity Fund

We offer scholarships for applicants that celebrate success, determination, and commitment in a variety of areas worth up to £2,000. And once you’re here our Student Opportunity Fund offers financial support to help you take part in employment-enhancing activities as well.

This can help cover the costs of attending an interview, such as travel expenses which aren’t covered by employers. We also have a range of interview wear available, so you don’t have to splash out on new interview clothing either.

6. Free laptop loans

If you don’t have the money to buy your own laptop, you can borrow one from Catalyst.

April 26, 2023


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