University Preparation – helping young adults make the most of their student finances

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Thursday 16th August is a real red-letter day for this year’s students as they receive their A level results.  For many, opening that much anticipated envelope ushers in a whole new life stage. Knowing an estimated 2.32 million young people went off to university in 2016-2017, making sure students are ready to take a major step on the path to independence at university is crucial. 

To help young adults make the most of their student finances, Myles Edwards, Membership Director for Foresters Friendly Society has a few simple tactics:

  • Set a budget
    In the first year, it can be too easy to spend your allowance quickly, particularly as budgeting might not have been a regular habit beforehand. It’s important to spend a bit of time looking at your outgoings and understanding what you can afford. Check your balance regularly to make sure everything's in order. This can help you spot an unexpected payment and avoid having to dip into a potentially expensive overdraft.
  • Build up your savings
    As bills and expenses have an unnerving habit of cropping up unexpectedly, it's sensible to put aside some savings every month to create a safety net. It's all about thinking and planning ahead so that you are ready if anything unexpected requires extra money - being proactive rather than reactive.
  • Shop around
    Make sure you’re in the know when it comes to maximising your student privileges. Most high street retailers, restaurants and entertainment companies offer students (including mature students) exclusive discounts and one-off freebies. Make sure to check out discounts for public transport providers too as you can save loads on travel cards when visiting friends and family in the holidays.
  • Get your course materials early
    One of the most unexpected costs for students can be text books, with some costing more than £100. Use online book resellers, check departmental and union noticeboards, and ask people in the year above about getting hold of second hand copies. Some membership organisations, like Foresters Friendly Society, also offer educational grants to their members specifically aimed at helping with the cost of text books and other materials that can make a real difference.
  • Seek out help if you need it
    If money issues get too much and extra help is needed after talking with friends and family, there are plenty of services designed to support struggling students. Whether that’s talking with student support systems, or a member of the Money Advisory Service, there are support systems offering tangible advice to help manage your finances.

Myles Edwards, Membership Director of Foresters Friendly Society commented:

“University is one of life’s biggest decisions, so getting finances in order beforehand is crucial to ensure you’re not spending your time worrying about money when you should be studying! Being smart about your finances is key and there are some simple steps which, if followed, will help shape your attitude to finances throughout adulthood. For those needing an extra hand, our Educational Award is a real benefit to students, allowing them to unlock their full learning potential by removing some of the spending stress for equipment, text books and other materials.”

Kate Imeson, member of Foresters Friendly Society commented:

"I’m currently in my fifth year of studying on the Legal Practice Course at the University of Law. The Foresters Educational Award enabled me to attend a work experience placement, which in turn helped with the application for my current job. It also meant that I was able to purchase study books without having to worry about the cost during an extremely stressful year.”