Managing your finances
It is important that you make sure you are happy with all the different aspects of managing your money whilst you are a student. The skills you learn whilst you are a student can stand you in good stead for your future money management too.
In this section we have covered information on how to think about budgeting, how to make savings and benefit from student discounts as well as key points regarding student banking.
Part of university life is learning how to manage your budget effectively and make your money last. We encourage you to take full advantage of the perks of being a student. Make the most of discounts and freebies wherever possible and most importantly, make a budget plan.
Here are some of our top tips to surviving university on a student budget:
- Stay on top of your finances by planning ahead with a realistic budget
- Don’t get caught out with the expenses of Christmas, Easter and summer holidays, birthdays and bills, plan well in advance and make allowances in your budget for these when appropriate
- Check you have applied for any financial support you are eligible for
- Start planning your budget as soon as you know details of financial support you will receive, remember to check the dates you will receive payments and make it last at least until your next income.
For those students in receipt of a student loan; you will usually receive your loan at the beginning of each term.
When planning a budget, first consider what you spend weekly, for example, food shopping and going out. Don’t forget about those daily spends such as coffee, newspapers, magazines and add in any monthly payments you may have.
It is commonly accepted for full-time students to maintain a part-time job whilst at university. However, you must firstly consider if this will allow you adequate time for your studies and not interfere with your health.
You will undoubtedly experience more bills than you are used to before coming to university. If in your first year, you are living in head tenancy accommodation or in second or third year, it is likely you will have to deal with gas and electric, internet and phone bills.
Water bills for students living in head tenancy accommodation are included in rent payments. However, if you are living in alternative accommodation from halls of residence or head tenancy, you will be required to pay a water bill.
BNU student ID card
Showing your BNU student ID card may get discounts locally in and around High Wycombe and Uxbridge. For national discounts, you will need to purchase an NUS Totum card.
The Big Deal
As part of The Big Deal, Buckinghamshire New University provides free recreational activities available to all students to keep you active and entertained throughout the year. Events range from guest speakers and demonstrations to learning new languages, cooking lessons to Thorpe Park and theatre trips. Take a look at the Bucks’ Student Union website for a full list of activities.
NUS Extra card
Make the most of your student status by investing in an NUS Totum card. Once you have purchased this card, it offers a wide range of discounts available throughout the UK for the duration of your studies. You can apply for an NUS card online, by post or visit the Students' Union offices with a passport sized photo of yourself to process instantly.
Young person's railcard
Many students opt for the young persons railcard, saving a third on rail fares for a whole year and is available to anyone between 16-25 or full-time students, if you are older than this and in full-time education you can still apply for a young persons railcard.
There is also the option of a three year railcard, which saves you money on renewing your card for the three consecutive years. You can apply online which attracts a further discount. Equally, you can purchase a railcard at any train station and save more if you show your NUS Totum card.
Make sure you take full advantage of the Fresher’s Fair at the beginning of term, a great opportunity for you to grab plenty of free food and discounts. The fair is also a chance for you to join sports teams, societies, start your own society and part-time job opportunities. A favourable event amongst all students, so get there early!
Student Beans is a great website many students subscribe to for free to obtain vouchers and discounts.
Student accounts are day-to-day current accounts designed specifically for students in higher education. Different from the usual current account, students are offered beneficial rates to suit their new status for the duration of their time at university.
Applying for an account
Apply for your new student bank account as soon as possible. For most students, this can be done as early as the month before the course starts. Most banks will now accept anyone with a UCAS offer letter (conditional or unconditional). You may need to provide a proof of student status letter which must come from BNU. If you do not have a proof of student status letter then please contact The Student Centre.
When choosing a bank to open your new student account in, try not to be swayed by the free incentives. It is advisable to consider the bank with the highest allowance of interest-free overdraft and manage how much of this you use through your budgeting. Try not to use your overdraft unnecessarily as this must last throughout your entire study and is repayable.
If you feel you need to extend your overdraft throughout your studies, give the bank enough notice to do so to avoid high bank charges. It is important to make sure you don’t go over your limit as this may affect your credit rating. Make sure you are aware of the term and conditions for your account before you attempt to increase your overdraft.
If you are having financial problems, you may find it helpful to speak with an advisor from the Students' Union Advice Centre and they may able to help you plan your finances more effectively.
If you’re a continuing student wanting to change your student account, you are still eligible to transfer to a different bank. Remember to tell the University and your loans company, if applicable if your details change as this may affect payments you should receive.
As well as all the fun elements of coming to university Bucks Students’ Union are here to help and support you too. In all cases we will listen to what you have to say without judgement and with respect. We aim to give you impartial advice; the course of action to take is yours. If we are unable to help we will do our best to direct you to someone who can. Our advice is on hand to offer support and guidance about a range of different issues including:
We provide information and advice on wide range of accommodation issues including University run and private rented accommodation. We can help with most problems including: landlords, contracts, deposits, council tax and difficulties with housemates.
University procedures can seem daunting so we are here to help advise you on mitigating circumstances, appeals, complaints, academic offences and disciplinary procedures. If you have any problems with your course or with the University we can help and advise you in complete confidence. We can also accompany you to any meetings the University may ask you to attend.
Most students will have some financial difficulties at some point and it is always better to seek help with financial problems as soon as they occur. We provide information and advice on wide range of financial issues including loans, debts, budgeting and benefits.
If you need advice on complex legal issues or are in need of legal representation we can help you find a suitable solicitor. We can also advise you of your legal rights in a number of areas and can provide information on legal matters.
Life happens and doesn't stop when you are at University. Problems with health, family and relationships can happen at any time. Sometimes just talking things through can be helpful or maybe you need some help with trying to sort something out. You can come and talk to us in complete confidence and we will help you find the right solution for you.
International and European student problems
Coming from another country to study in the UK can be challenging and students who have come to BNU from other countries can experience difficulties that students from the UK don’t. We offer support and advice to students on a range of queries and issues including: visa and immigration, employment regulations, academic concerns, culture shock and money matters. We have the time to listen, give advice and support you providing a professional, independent and confidential service which is accessible and welcoming. We will use our experience and knowledge on student issues to make life better for students at BNU. Contact us
You can come and talk to us at either the High Wycombe or Uxbridge Campus advice centres. For more information about our services and opening times, check out bucksstudentunion.org/advice, email SUAdvice@bucks.ac.uk or call us on 01494 603 016 for an appointment at the High Wycombe Campus or on 01494 605180 for an appointment at the Uxbridge campus.
- High Wycombe Campus (North Wing, ground floor)
- Monday - Thursday 9.30am- 5pm
- Friday 9am - 4pm
- Monday 10am - 6pm
- Tuesday and Thursday 9.30am - 5pm
- Wednesday 9.30am - 5pm
- Friday 9.30am - 3.30pm
Appointments can be made outside the times listed above, please contact us for information.
Our opening times vary out of term time, so please contact us in advance if you wish to see us during vacation times.