If you’re not making the most of your student bank account, it’s no better than a penny jar. Here’s how to wring the most from it!
1. If you want to stay on track
Don’t just get a bank account – get a couple: start with the best student accounts to find yours.
You pay your income (wages, Student Loan or grants) into one main account. You then siphon enough money to cover your essential monthly costs (bills, rent and any direct debits) into another account. Anything left goes into a third account for your monthly spending allowance: make it last between top-ups!
The right tools can definitely help here:
- Your bank’s app: for sliding money between accounts on the go
- Toshl or Monefy: log your spending to keep your budget on track
- Payfriendz: beats IOUs for paying or receiving shared expenses.
2. If you want to save-up
With interest rates skimpier than Nicki Minaj on dress-down Friday, savings can seem like a bust – but you just have think a bit wider than your typical savings accounts.
At 3%, Santander’s 123 student current account beats most savings pots, never mind your mattress. There’s a £500 minimum pay-in each term, so check your Student Loan instalment and wages will stretch that far (or if you can just transfer in – and out – the money each time).
If you can lock cash away for longer, fixed-term savings accounts may pay better interest. Or, if you just want to get the savings habit, Premium Bonds pay zero interest but offer the chance to scoop a lottery-style win (with about the same odds, though!).
3. If you want to slash charges on debt
A 0% overdraft is like bumper bowling for your cash flow, so it’s worth agreeing one with the bank. If you overspend without an agreed overdraft (or bust your overdraft limit), you can be charged a fee for each purchase, plus interest on the whole amount you owe – at a time when you’re already skint!
Shop around for credit cards that charge the fewest fees and interest, too – and stick to the repayment terms. Better still, put aside cash every time you spend on one so you can clear your balance in full each month.
The secret to running both well is to plan for prompt repayment before charges kick in: the longer you take to repay, the more it costs!
If you’re struggling to stay on top of your debt, get advice before you borrow more. Talk to the university’s student welfare team: they’ll have seen it all before and will know how to help.
4. If you want to go further afield
If there’s a chance you’ll be going on holiday or a gap year, picking accounts that prioritise overseas spending can easily pay for the legwork – so don’t be brand loyal.
The real secret to saving on holiday spending is to not stick with just one means of payment: switch to the one that works out cheapest, safest and quickest for the transaction at hand – debit or credit cards vs. cash or travellers cheques. Spreading your cash around also means less damage if one’s lost or stolen.
- Take a look at Revolut: it’s a pre-paid debit card that beats many banks for overseas charges.
5. If you’re thinking about the future
Managing on a student budget can feel a bit like that dream about sitting your finals in your underwear. A day late. With a dead slug for a pen. But if you can nail these tips now, you’ll be on your way to an easier ride long after graduation:
- Don’t discount the ISA (Individual Savings Account). Money you keep in one stays tax-free – a bonus when you start earning a salary and Student Loan repayments come knocking.
- Keep an eye on your credit score. Learning how to repay overdrafts, credit cards and utility bills on time can get you better deals when you need them: think mortgages, car loans and other types of credit. You’ve got the tips you need on this page – make the most of them!
This post was written in collaboration with savethestudent.com