Financial Tips for Students

Student finances have always been a source of concern for both parents and their college age kids, but with the rising cost of living, the situation is getting worse. How can young people survive financially at college and what can parents do to help?

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The first step is to make sure that you have applied for any grants or scholarships to which you might be entitled. Then look at the student loans which are available. Then look at ways in which you can budget your cash.

There is plenty that you can do to make your money go further. One of the major expenses is accommodation and student accommodation in halls of residence is not always the cheapest option.

Choice of accommodation will depend on a lot of factors - if parents live in the same city, living at home is usually the cheapest option, but does put restrictions on students, who will miss out on certain aspects of student life.

Accommodation at the centre of cities is usually the most expensive, even if it is closest to the college. It's worth looking at student digs which are a little further out, as these can be much cheaper but have the advantage of lots of students living in close proximity. If you are concerned about travel costs, think about getting a second-hand bike.

Learning how to cook is a major step towards reducing expenses and there are plenty of cheap dishes which can keep costs down.

If you share accommodation with other students, take it in turn to cook and share food expenses - it can be much cheaper to cook for 3 or 4 and divide the costs than it is cooking for one.

Buy in bulk where you can. Some items can be bought more cheaply in bulk. So do this where possible.

Learn to budget - keep a record of what you spend and then make a budget for each month. Knowing how much you need for essentials can help you plan in advance.