Students Are Savvy With Trading And Saving
STUDENTS ARE SAVVY WITH TRADING AND SAVING
- NEW RESEARCH SHOWS THAT GIRLS SPEND NEARLY £1,500 LESS THAN BOYS ON UNI -
Students are becoming more imaginative when it comes to making and managing their money, a survey published today by the Student Loans Company (SLC) reveals.
The survey found that girls are the shrewdest savers, spending nearly £1,500 less than boys a year on university life – as they say they are more likely to search for the best prices.
The survey also reveals:
• Female students are also good at making money, with one in four (24 per cent) selling goods, either on eBay or at car boot sales - but only 18 per cent of males do this
• The top deals that students search for are for their mobile phones and food – again, the girls are better at spotting a bargain, saving £380 a year when compared to boys’ spending on both
• Boys actually spend more on clothes than the girls, with just over a third (37 per cent) of males shopping around for the best price compared to more than half (56 per cent) of females
• More than seven out of 10 first year students say they are aware of how much they need to fund their way through university and three quarters (73 per cent) are comfortable with planning their finances
• And nearly three quarters (72 per cent) of students said they welcome the financial support provided by the Student Loans Company
To mark the start of the application process for 2011/12 finance for students starting university in the autumn, the SLC has teamed up with financial expert, Jasmine Birtles, to give students more advice on how they can find the best bargains and also earn some extra money while studying.
Jasmine Birtles, financial expert, comments:
"Good for the girls! I'm really pleased to see that students are making a big effort to manage their money, but I'd like the boys to catch up now. There are lots of ways that students can save and make money and I've included a few of them in my tips below.
“A student loan is an investment in your future and is about the cheapest way to do it - so I recommend you apply for it asap."
Andy Topham, Assessment Manager from the Student Loans Company, adds:
“Our research shows that female students are the best at applying for their student finance – online and on time. September might seem a long way off, but it is really important that students act now and don’t wait until their place at university has been confirmed. Students can apply now by visiting www.direct.gov.uk/studentfinance. This is the best way to make sure they get the first instalment of their loan at the start of the term at university. There is also a calculator on the website that students can use to work out how much money they are entitled to.”
Jasmine Birtles has produced a ‘Guide to Student Finance’ to help students, and their parents, prepare for university life. Below are Jasmine’s top ten tips in brief, with more information in the Notes to Editors section:
1. Apply for funding now - Even if you haven’t had your uni place confirmed you should apply for your student loan asap. Apply now or find out what you are entitled to at www.direct.gov.uk/studentfinance.
2. Use your time and skills to make cash
- Try online survey companies, they only pay pocket money or gifts but it all helps
- Sell unwanted items, either on e-Bay or at a car boot sale
- Work as a film extra (average £100 a day) or take part in research focus groups
- Think of your skills and how you can make money from them. Could you offer yourself as a language tutor or a computer trouble-shooter?
3. Shop around - The Internet is your best friend when it comes to saving money. Shop around for everything, not just the fun stuff like clothes and gadgets. Don’t just try one comparison site either. Start practicing now with your family’s electricity or gas bill. You may save a few pounds and enjoy being in the “good books”!
4. Get covered – Make sure you have the right insurance in place before you start uni so you can protect your possessions. Check to see if you are already covered for free under family insurance policies.
5. Cut the initial costs - Use a site like www.sellstudentbooks.com for second hand
university books. Make the most of all those back to school/university sales for cheaper stationery and check prices on office supply websites such as ukofficedirect.co.uk and second hand sources like abebooks.co.uk.
6. Get into mystery shopping - Would you like free supermarket shopping, free drinks or even a free hotel stay? Get into mystery shopping and you can get all these things just for posting your reviews online. Join well-established agencies like TNS Global.
7. Get holidays for less - Just because you’re a student doesn’t mean you can’t go on holiday. There are lots of deals to be had. Some bus companies have £1 tickets for journeys around the country and you can save loads with your Young Person’s Railcard.
8. Get what you can for free - There’s loads of free stuff out there, you just need to know how to get it. Get free entertainment by signing up to myboxoffice.net or bbc.co.uk/tickets.
9. Learn to cook, and cook from raw - You can save thousands over the year simply by cooking for yourself rather than eating out, and getting good deals on the food you buy. Use mysupermarket.co.uk to compare prices. Ask your parents or a friend to teach you a simple recipe and practice at home.
10. Be green - Most practices that are green are also money-saving, like recycling your
mobile for cash or covering up gaps around doors and windows to keep the heat in. Help save the planet and your bank balance at the same time.
For more top tip information go to moneymagpie.com/tag/students
2. Applying for your student loan:
• The application process for new students to apply for student finance for the 2011/12 academic year is now open and closes on the 31st May, 2011.
• Students who apply for funding after the deadline or incorrectly may not get all of their first instalments at the start of the academic year.
• For more information about student finance, visit www.direct.gov.uk/studentfinance and watch a series of “how to” videos to help make the application process as smooth as possible. That way, their funding and the first of their three instalments will be in place at the start of the new academic year once they’ve registered on their course at the start of term.
3. Jasmine Birtles:
Jasmine Birtles is a financial expert who regularly gives consumer advice and money tips for students and every other age group. More information can be found at www.moneymagpie.com.
4. The research:
The research was commissioned by One Poll in March 2011, who asked 1,000 students across the UK about their spending habits and attitudes to planning their finances. Additional research findings:
• Male students spend more on their books each month, at £34.00, compared to the girls’ £26.57, but nearly half of the female students are likely to shop around for second hand books compared to just a third of boys.
• Students are becoming a nation of entrepreneurs, with more than 20% of them selling goods online or at car boot sales to make extra cash, with the girls ahead of the game.
• Three out of 10 students are savvy enough to put money aside in savings for when they are at university, but 32% of the boys dipped into their savings compared to 30% of girls.
• One third of students are already saving for university, with the same number taking on part-time employment during university.
• However there is one area that both sexes could improve on - only one in four students searching out the best deal from an energy supplier, resulting in boys spending £115 more than girls over a year.
• Statistics from the Student Loans Company shows that 77% of female students complete their application by the deadline, compared to 71% of male students.
• Average student spend – monthly figures
Item Male Students Female Students
Electricity/gas bills £33.71 £24.12
Mobile phone £29.27 £22.18
Food for cooking at home £76.21 £59.68
Item Male Students Female Students
Eating out with friends £37.16 £29.07
Clothes £34.33 £30.57
Books/materials for course £34 £26.57
Going to pub/club /drinking £75.91 £46.69
Travel £47.92 £53.57
Holidays £32.39 £21.02
Sports £24.99 £13.98
Music £21.06 £11.66
Entertainment £28.26 £18.73
Broadband £20.11 £11.27
Rent/mortgage £235.76 £240.65
5. Jasmine Birtles’ Top Ten Tips:
1) Apply for funding now
Even if you haven’t had your university place confirmed you should apply for your student loan asap. Apply now at www.direct.gov.uk/studentfinance. On the site you will be able to find out what you are entitled and use the calculator to find out how much money that actually means. There is also an online video to guide you through the application process.
2) Use your time and skills to make cash
You’re on the computer most of the day anyway so why not make money from it? Start with online survey companies. They only pay pocket money or gifts but it all helps. Start with Honestrewards.co.uk, Panelbase, Toluna and Surveyhead.
Students are in a great position to make money. You often have flexible time so you can do things like working as a film extra (average £100 a day), doing focus groups in the evening, asking questions for research companies at any time of the day and working in restaurants and bars. Also, use your skills and talents. Offer yourself as a computer trouble-shooter or a language tutor. Think of what you can do and see how you can make money from it. Get more money-making ideas at Moneymagpie.com
3) Shop around
The Internet is your best friend when it comes to saving money. Shop around for everything, not just the fun stuff like clothes and gadgets. You can save hundreds over the year by shopping around for the cheapest gas and electricity, landlines and banks. Don’t just try one comparison site either. Try two or three each time, like Moneyfacts.co.uk, Consumerchoices.co.uk, Confused.com and Energyhelpline.co.uk.
4) Get covered
Protect your mp3 player and laptop from thieves by making sure you have the right insurance in place. Make sure that if you own and use a bicycle, that it’s either covered in your home contents insurance policy, or by a separate specialist policy (usually only necessary if it is an expensive bike).
You may find that you are already covered for free under your family’s insurance policies. Next port of call is the student union which offers discounted rates through a specific insurer. If they don’t, use a comparison site to find the best policy for your needs. For most people, student insurance will be cheaper and more appropriate so check out the policies on offer carefully.
If you drive, you’ll need to tell your current insurer that you are at university – they’ll need to know where your car is kept at night and may increase your premiums if it’s deemed to be a riskier environment. It may be worthwhile therefore, shopping around for a better deal, using comparison sites such as GoCompare or Confused.com.
5) Cut the initial costs
One of the biggest initial outlays is your books and course materials. Buy as many books as you can from Amazon where prices can normally beat the university supply shop hands down. Use a site like www.sellstudentbooks.com for second hand university books. Make the most of all those back to school/university sales for cheaper stationery and check prices on office supply websites such as Rebelofficesupplies.co.uk and ukofficedirect.co.uk.
Get yourself an NUS Extra card which costs £10 and gives you discounts at a load of retailers. Sign up to moneymagpie.com for a free weekly newsletter and free bargain alerts. Other websites such as studentbeans.com are great for listings of student deals.
6) Get into mystery shopping
Would you like free meals, free drinks, free hotel stays and free supermarket shopping? Get into mystery shopping and you can get all these things just for posting your reviews online. Join well-established agencies like TNS Global, JKS Mystery Shopping, Gfk NOP and Performance in People and go enjoy yourself!
7) Get holidays for less
Just because you’re a student doesn’t mean you can’t go on holiday. Use the bus – some bus companies have £1 tickets for journeys around the country and don’t forget your Young Person’s Railcard. You can save megabucks with that!
8) Get what you can for free
There’s loads of free stuff out there. You just need to know how to get it. Get free entertainment by signing up to Myboxoffice.net and BBC TV shows at bbc.co.uk/tickets. Hold swap shops with friends to swap clothes, accessories, gadgets and cosmetics.
9) Learn to cook and cook from raw
You can save thousands over the year simply by cooking for yourself rather than eating out. Don’t waste money on pre-prepared meals either. Cook from raw when possible - ideally in a group in your student house.
Firstly, learn to cook a few basic dishes that can see you through until you have some cooking experience under your belt. A nice tomato and basil pasta sauce is a great staple – and even better, it’s so easy to adapt for dishes such as lasagne or DIY pizzas. This is a great recipe from the BBC for a delicious, cheap and easy pasta sauce - www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/basictomatoandbasils_67840.
Secondly, get savvy about not being lured into spending money in supermarkets on things you don’t really need. Never go food shopping when you are hungry, as you will end up buying extra snacks. One of your biggest supermarket weapons is mysupermarket.co.uk, a website that allows you to compare a virtual trolley full of items you want at Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Ocado and ASDA, and then pick which supermarket to buy from at the end, reserve a delivery slot and have your food delivered to your door, all at the click of a button!
10) Be green
Most practices that are green are also money-saving. Recycle your mobile for cash (check out the comparison tool at www.moneymagpie.com/recycle-your-mobile-for-cash/), cover all the cracks and gaps around doors and windows to keep the heat in and wear more warm clothes indoors.
To read Jasmine Birtles’ complete ‘Guide to Student Finance’, please visit moneymagpie.com/tag/students