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This week is National Student Money Week. To mark it, our Student Finance team have compiled their ten top tips on how to improve your money habits.

1. First of all, as simple as it may sound, work out how much money you have. Start off by working out how much money you will have coming in each term (include things like your student funding, regular contributions from family/friends, expected income from part-time work during term-time and holidays, as well as scholarships or other external bursaries if applicable). Then work out the period of time this total income will need to cover. Divide the total income for the term by the number of weeks it needs to cover (term dates can be found on the Portal at https://portal.sgul.ac.uk/org/lis/reg/student-centre/ - remember to factor in the holidays!) and you have your weekly budget. Now stick to it!

2. Secondly, work out what your essential weekly expenses are e.g. groceries, transport, rent, bills (dominos is not classed an essential). This will help you understand how much money you have and how much money you need to keep aside for essentials.

3. Thirdly, keep track of your weekly spending. It’s really important that you stick to a weekly budget. A good way to do this, especially early on, is to keep a record of everything that you’re spending. It’s amazing how quickly the odd cup of coffee and other small purchases can add up. Keeping a written record of everything you spend in the first few weeks will help you identify where savings can be made. There are lots of free apps that can help calculate your weekly budget. Cash cards that show you how much you are spending - and on what - can also be useful. These also allow you to put a cap on certain items and provide you with notifications when you are nearing the upper limit of your budget.

4. Another way to save money is to look out for any discounts and always remember to ask about student discounts before paying. You can apply for a Totum card (formerly an NUS extra card) here which will provide you with lots of student discounts.

5. As many of you are commuting students there are also lots of ways to save money on transport:

    Make sure you take advantage of all travel cards or student rates – apply for an 18+ Student Oyster Card at https://tfl.gov.uk/fares-and-payments/adult-discounts-and-concessions/18-student.

    Full-time mature students of 26 and over can also apply for the 16-25 railcard – more details can be found at http://www.16-25railcard.co.uk/eligibility-benefits/mature-students/. It is also possible to have your 16-25 Railcard applied to an Oyster card to get discounts on pay as you go fares and some travelcards - https://www.16-25railcard.co.uk/help/faqs/46/.

    Before you travel, take a look at http://www.nationalexpress.com and http://uk.megabus.com/. Bargains can be found on both coach and train journeys if booked well in advance!

    Use sites like Skyscanner, Jack's Flight club or Kayak to compare the cost of flights before booking – these are especially good if you can be flexible with dates.

6. Plan your meals ahead, taking into account any days you will be away from home, and shop for the ingredients accordingly. Batch cooking can also be a great way of saving time and money, this will stop you ordering take out for dinner and lunch and can be particularly helpful when you are working on placement or have a long day at University.

7. There are also lots of ways you can use leftovers as we know it's easy to get bored of the same meals. You can also save a lot of money by avoiding supermarket prices and by shopping for your cooking ingredients at Tooting Market.

8. Applying for supermarket and shop loyalty cards can also be a good way to save money and earn rewards.

9. Join your local Freecycle or Freegle group, and try shopping on eBay (especially helpful when you are looking for furniture for accommodation). You can also search on Facebook for groups of former students selling textbooks, which can significantly reduce the cost of books.

10. Last but not least, our Student Finance team are available to offer financial advice. You can contact them at:

Tel: 020 8266 6303 / 020 8725 0962

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

You can also arrange an appointment with an adviser if you would like to discuss things in person.

The Student Finance team will also be running a National Student Money Week stall on Monday 4 February between 11am and 2pm outside the library, which will feature competitions, advice, challenges and the chance to win prizes including a £50 Amazon voucher.