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Effective money management is a key part of being a student. It will give you the opportunity to develop positive financial skills that will stay with you throughout your university life and beyond, benefitting you for years to come. But, like all skills, it needs practise; starting university could be the first time you’re managing your money independently. 

It pays to be prepared, so to help you get started, we caught up with our Student Money Adviser to find out how you can plan to stay financially healthy whilst at university.

Who are you and what does a Student Money Adviser do?

I’m Carl, and I work for the Your Money team as a Student Money Adviser.

The Your Money team is part of Student Services and provides cost of living support to all our students during their time with us.

Alongside promoting positive money management skills across all our sites, a key part of my role is to offer one-to-one support and guidance to any student who has queries or questions about managing their money, so they can focus on enjoying their time at university.

How can you help me?

I can help in a number of ways:

• With one-to-one appointments I can help you with budgeting, offer guidance on the financial support available from the University (and help you apply for this support if you’re eligible), as well as answer more general queries on matters such as debt, budgeting skills and student finance.

•  Keep your eye out for the Student Shout Out newsletter, which lands in your inbox on Mondays, or visit the internal Portal site; I post lots of helpful content here to help students tackle important money-related topics, such as Buy Now Pay Later, how to eat well for less and how to save money on energy.

•  If you need further support, I can refer you to other areas of the University, such as Student Wellbeing, or to external organisations, such as Step Change.

How can I access your service?

You don’t have to wait until you’re fully enrolled to get in touch. If you’d like to get in touch before you start your course, you can send me a message on Unibuddy and I’ll get back to you.

Once you’re fully enrolled, you’ll have access to our Portal site. This will give you details of how you can get in touch with me or the Your Money team.

Throughout the academic year, I also hold regular drop-in sessions across our sites, so you can come and have a quick chat without an appointment.

What are your top five tips to prepare financially for university?

1. Budget, budget, budget!

Student finance - check. Accommodation – check.

Once you know how much you’ll receive from Student Finance, and how much you’ll need to cover your rent, you can start working out your budget. Chances are you’ll be too busy to do this when you arrive. So, to stay in control of your money it pays to take a bit of time over the summer to work out how much you’ll have to spend every week.

You can find lots of great free budget planners online. You can also get in touch with the Your Money team when you arrive at the University and we’ll send you one over, along with some handy tips for managing your money. A lot of banks now have budgeting tools built into their apps too.

2. Get cooking!

Your diet has a direct affect on how healthy you feel, how well you’re able to focus on studying and how much money you have in your bank account, so it’s worth having a few simple go-to recipes up your sleeve before you arrive.

Put together a couple of shopping lists with different meals on them to give you an idea of how much your weekly shop is likely to cost, and add this figure to your budget. Remember, batch cooking is a great way to save money; split the cost of the ingredients with your housemates or make more than you need, then take some for lunch the next day and freeze the rest.

3. Get a student bank account.

Student status confirmed? Great. You can now open a student bank account.

Banks offer lots of perks to students to get them to sign up, such as cash or railcards. You’re likely to be offered an interest-free overdraft, which can be a useful safety buffer in case you overspend. However, be mindful of accepting a credit card if you’re offered one.

Get into the habit of checking your bank statement regularly, so you know exactly what you’re spending your money on and whether you need to cut back a little.

4. Make sure you’ve applied for student finance.

One thing that should be at the top of your to-do list is applying for student finance; the earlier you apply, the earlier you’ll have your funding confirmed. Then you’ll know how much money you’ll have when you start university.

If you haven’t already applied for student finance, now’s the time to do it. If you leave it too late, there’s no guarantee you’ll have your funding in place when you start your course.

5. Dust off your CV.

Working while you’re studying will provide extra disposable income and you’ll gain some valuable work experience that you can add to your CV too. Therefore, now is a good time to update your CV, so you’re ready to apply when you arrive. There are plenty of opportunities to earn while you learn at the University of Chester. Our unique UniJob scheme advertises part-time work at the University, so you could get a job on site to fit around your studies. Also, our Employer in the Foyer events are a great way to connect with local employers looking for students to undertake part-time work.

The Careers and Employability team is always on hand to help students find paid workplace experiences, internships and placements, as well as offer support and guidance on anything from advice on your CV to interview skills.

If you’re looking for more ways to save money whilst at university, take a look at our money-saving tips for students so you can start thinking about how to save money at university before you join.


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