With the cost of living and studying on the increase, university life can hit your bank balance hard. The most important thing to remember is that a little bit of housekeeping can go a long way...
- When choosing your bank, don’t be swayed by freebies. Think carefully about what you need from an account - whether it’s an interest free overdraft, online banking or a branch near campus.
- Speak to the bank if you're worried you might go over your overdraft limit. The charges can hurt.
- Beware of credit cards. You could end up paying as much again on interest.
- Try to keep savings or some 'emergency money' separate in case you need it.
- If you’re travelling, bring travellers cheques rather than cash. It's safer.
- International students should also be aware of bank charges. Find out how much you will be charged for international money transfers overdrafts etc.
- Use online banking. It's easier for you to keep an eye on your finances, and saves time. Most major banks will offer online access and smartphone apps.
- If you save some money before you start, it can really help. After the first year when your studies get more intensive, you may not find time to earn extra money.
Which account is best for you will depend on your circumstances and priorities, but here are some of the perks banks will often offer.
Interest-free overdrafts can be a lifesaver, and many will last until a year after you graduate. Remember, though, that you should never rely on your overdraft: however good your bank account is, it’s always dangerous to spend more than you have. Nonetheless, this can help you avoid financial disasters like an expensive payday loan.