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Student hub: Top tips for saving money at uni

Starting uni is a big life change, no matter if you're straight out of college or a mature student. And there can be a lot of financial challenges to stretch that student loan to its limit.

We're here to help. We've worked with the National Union of Students (NUS) to help you make the most of your money while you study.

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Need help managing your money at uni?

We’ve enlisted the help of the NUS to understand what financial difficulties students face at each stage of uni life.

More on Confused.com's work with NUS.

And we’ve spoken to our Consumer Champion Timi Merriman-Johnson, aka Mr MoneyJar, to share his advice for students starting a new year at uni.

You’ll find lots of articles here that can help you navigate your time at university, including:

  • What you need to know about having a car at uni
  • If you really need contents insurance for your belongings
  • What financial support you're entitled to during your studies

Meet our student expert, Timi Merriman-Johnson

Timi is a financial expert with a focus on education which he delivers through award winning Instagram and TikTok channels and as an ambassador the UK charity National Numeracy.

As a University of Warwick graduate he has first hand experience of the struggles of managing your money at uni. Read Timi’s advice for students during each stage of uni:

Learn more about Timi
Timi Merriman-Johnson, Financial Expert at Mr Monyejar

Prepare yourself for your first year

Making your student loan last during first year

You’ve got your student loan and you’re just starting your first year of university. But how do you make sure you spend your money wisely, especially if this is your first time living away from home?

Timi talks us through his advice on:

  • Different ways of budgeting
  • How to save on getting to and from uni
  • Buying course books and supplies

The information in this video is also available as a text transcript.

How much could I be spending on bills?

Creating a budget plan and sticking to it is the best way to make sure you stay on top of your spending.

With our budget calculator, you can work out how much you can afford to spend on different parts of uni life.

It can also help you figure out how much you can afford to put aside as savings if you're able.

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What financial support is there for students?

Your student loan may not be the only help out there for you during your studies. While not everyone is eligible for every grant, it’s worth making sure you're aware of your options.

Some of the main grants and exemptions are:

  • University Scholarships
  • Subject-specific bursaries and grants
  • Disabled Students Allowance (DSA)
  • University and college hardship funds

Our top car guides for students

See all car insurance guides

What our car insurance expert says:

"If you’ve decided to bring a car to uni with you, it’s worth thinking about how much you’re likely to use it. If you live on campus and won’t be driving much, you might be able to save money on your car insurance with a pay-per-mile policy.

But if you only use your car for visiting home, you might be better off getting temporary insurance for just the duration of those journeys. But be careful - you'll need to give your car a Statutory Off-Road Notification (SORN) when you're not using it."

Louise Thomas, Motor Insurance Expert at Confused.com
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Finance tips for second year students

If you’re returning to uni for your second year, you might be adjusting to living off campus. This can be more expensive if your rent costs more than staying in halls. And you may have travel costs and insurance to think about.

Timi gives us his insight on:

  • Moving off campus
  • Getting a part time job as a student
  • Living in a house share

The information in this video is also available as a text transcript.

What our home insurance expert says:

"If you previously lived in uni halls, you might not have needed to worry about insuring your belongings. In private accommodation though, you're responsible for making sure your stuff is protected.

It can be tempting not bother with contents insurance and hope the landlord’s insurance will cover your belongings - it won't. In fact, this could end up costing you even more if your valuables get damaged or stolen, so we’d always recommend getting cover."

Matthew Harwood, Home & lifestyle insurance expert at Confused.com
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Our top home guides for students

See all home insurance guides

What do I need to know once I graduate?

Once you’ve graduated, you’ll probably be looking to start a career. It’s important to understand your finances if you want to be able to put money aside as savings each month.

We asked Timi what you'd need to think about when it comes to life after uni, including:

  • Understanding your first salary
  • Do you need to pay into a pension?
  • Keeping on top of your student overdraft

The information in this video is also available as a text transcript.

Dig deeper into student finance statistics

Student finance statistics - 2023
Our in-depth research looks at the state of student finance, from loans and grants to student living costs. We also look at the best and worst UK cities for student spending.

Student cost of living statistics - 2023
Curious about UK student cost of living? Delve into our comprehensive data on average student income and spending statistics for 2023 to gain valuable insights.

Confused.com and NUS

The National Union for Students (NUS) is a confederation of Students’ Unions. They work at a national level to defend, extend and promote the rights of students in universities and colleges across the UK. NUS is actively at the forefront of campaigning for student rights, including free, accessible education for everyone.

We’ve worked with NUS to gain an understanding of what students are lacking when it comes to understanding their finances. We’ve looked at concerns ranging from bill exemptions, to helping make a choice of which university to attend, to managing their monthly budgets. Through speaking with students directly, we’ve created a dedicated student hub that aims to help prospective and current students understand how to navigate student life.

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