For most students this means only one thing – the beginning of three years of overspending and then panicking about cash.
Help to ease the pressure with these helpful hints.
Set up direct debits for rent and bills
As an adult with a sensible attitude towards money, setting up direct debits to ensure your bills automatically come out of your bank when they’re due may seem like an obvious idea. As a student who has never lived away from home before, it probably isn’t. Encourage your youngsters to make setting up direct debits for rent and bills a priority. It’s one less thing for them to worry about and they’ll know whatever is left after all their financial commitments have been met is theirs to enjoy.
Check the features of an overdraft
As your child will soon realise, the student overdraft is a lifesaver. Unfortunately, what too many students fail to do is check the features of the overdraft on offer when they sign up for a student bank account. As such they may realise their overdraft is less generous than their friends’ ones. It’s important that they do their research and aren’t just blinded by high figures. For example, with the 2011 the highest overdraft on offer came courtesy of HSBC (up to £3000) however, the words ‘up to’ are key here, as this sum was not guaranteed. What the bank actually allowed for an overdraft was a decision made at its discretion. The Co-Op meanwhile offered a guaranteed sum of £1400 in the first year (rising in the second and third). Most of the banks have yet to announce their student account deals for this year yet but be sure to read the small print when they do.
Get a student railcard
As they wave goodbye to you from their new student digs they’re no doubt full of ideas of independence. Finally, it’s their chance to make it on their own. But give them one month of doing their own washing and missing home cooking and they’re sure to be homesick. Make it easier for them to get back a forth by buying a student railcard. Anyone who is aged between 16 and 25 or who is in full time education can purchase a student railcard. It costs £38 for 12 months and entitles the owner to 1/3 off rail journeys. You can apply online at www.16-25railcard.co.uk.
Spread out student loans
Picture it. You’re 18 years old, you’ve lived at home all of your life and the most money you’ve ever had is the pocket money you get from your Saturday job. All of a sudden you’re handed a huge amount of money in one lump sum. Ok, so it’s supposed to last all term but that’s not what you’re thinking right now. What you’re thinking is ‘party!’ Advise your child to spread out their student loan by having it in a separate account with a standing order set up to transfer a certain amount each month. If you really don’t trust them to be sensible you could also hold the student loan in your own account and drip-feed it into theirs.