Cost of Living: Money

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SU services, resources and tips

Budgeting is important, so we've put together a few handy tips to do so: Boosting Your Budget: Student Edition.

If you're lucky enough to be in a position where you're able to and want to start saving some money for the future, there are many different methods to help you get started. Some of the most popular at the minute are:

  • 1p challenge - save a penny extra each day for the year
  • £1 a week challenge - increasing by £1 every week
  • Envelope challenge - write increasing amounts on 52 envelopes (£1 on the first and £52 on the last), pick an envelope at random to add cash to each week

Of course it's important to only save within your means, and never go into debt in order to save, but you can always vary these methods for a lower budget and there isn't any commitment. Save the Student have other ideas for helping kick start your savings goals.

Whilst it can be easy to get into debt, especially right now, it's not always easy to see a light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to getting out of debt. Things like interest free overdrafts, credit cards, and buy now pay later schemes have made it easier than ever to spend money on both essential and luxury items, and it can be easy to get carried away. Our Advice Centre offers free, confidential, and tailored advice and support for students struggling with debt, including self-help guides and one-to-one support with managing priority and non-priority debts. Contact the Advice Centre to make an appointment.

Whilst the majority of students are unable to claim state benefits whilst at university, there are some circumstances where you might be able to claim. Our Advice Centre has put together a detailed and informative guide to Universal Credit for people in higher education which includes who can claim, how to claim, and how much you may be entitled to. They also offer a benefits checking service where you'll be able to sit down with an Advisor to discuss what you may be entitled to. Get in contact with them to find out more.

In our Autumn Cost of Living survey, 61% of Hallam students told us that they relied on credit or other support just to get by, with 19% using money from their student loan to gamble. We've put together a Guide to Recovery on Gambling & Debt, with links to further support for those affected.

Our Advice Centre have put together a useful guide to emergency funding that's available from the University. It goes into a lot of detail and supplements the guidance that's already available from the University.

Lots of banks offer benefits to those who open bank accounts, such as interest free overdrafts and free cinema tickets, and this is also the case with student bank accounts, with a common perk being a free 16-25 railcard. It can be useful to shop around every year and MoneySavingExpert and Compare the Market both have up-to-date information on what each bank offers students, as well as tools to compare them and help decide which one will suit you best.

Many banks also offer rewards for switching to them. These tend to either be in high street vouchers or cash paid directly into your bank account. Some are currently offering as much as £200! It's quick and easy to switch, but do note that some accounts have monthly fees (often a few quid per month) whilst others are free. MoneySavingExpert and Uswitch are good places to look for up-to-date information on the best deals.

An easy way to try saving is by using 'round-up accounts'. This is where you passively save money every time you spend with your card, by your bank or third party provider rounding up your spending to the nearest pound. For example, you spend 75p on a bag of crisps and 25p is taken from your current account and put into your savings. It's an easy way to start saving a bit of money without really trying, and some banks even offer better interest rates on your rounded up money. A couple of examples of these are Chase and MoneyBox, but there are others out there, and your current bank account might offer the service already.

'Buy now pay later' schemes such as Klarna and Clearpay have made it easier than ever to spend money on both essential and luxury items, but it can be easy to get carried away. It's important to remember that whilst tempting, these services are essentially entering the user into a debt agreement which must be repaid. It can be a helpful way to help spread the cost of big purchases, but remember to keep in mind how the monthly repayments might impact your budget.

SHU Services & Resources

The Hallam Hardship Fund provides financial support to students who are experiencing unforeseen financial difficulties. It is available for one-off payments to home students in financial crisis that might impact on your participation at university. The fund is strictly limited and awards are subject to available funds. There is no automatic entitlement to an award and all applications are considered on their individual merits. You'll need to provide bank statements when applying but try not to worry about this or being judged for your spending. We've all done a bit of retail therapy or spent too much at McDonald's when hungover - the application isn't trying to catch you out, it's just a formality in most cases.

International students experiencing financial hardship due to an emergency or a significant, unexpected, and unforeseen change in circumstances may be eligible for a loan or grant from the International Emergency Fund. However, strict rules apply and students with tuition fee debt are not eligible to apply.

Emergency vouchers are available to provide temporary assistance if you have an immediate financial crisis. If you are unable to afford food, toiletries, or other personal/essential items and have no other alternatives, you can submit a request for a £30 Tesco voucher.

Last Summer, the University ran the Energy Costs Grant, giving successful applicants one-off payments of £60 to help pay towards their energy bills. It's just been announced that the scheme is being launched for a second time, with applications NOW OPEN. Applicants will need to provide evidence of paying towards energy bills and, if successful, will receive a one-off payment of £80.

The SHU Student Success Scholarship is designed to help you succeed in your studies and is open to both part-time and full-time home students that started their course after 2017. Successful applicants will receive awards of between £550 and £2,100. The higher awards tend to be allocated to people within the Uni's priority groups, which are listed in the guidance notes, but eligibility criteria in general is quite wide so it's worth a look to see if you can apply.

There are also a wide range of other Scholarships and Bursaries available from the University, with some open to students on specific courses and others available to all students. There's something for almost everyone and you can use the Scholarship and Bursary Finder to search for one to suit you.

SHU Money Skills have a range of different resources to help you manage your money. They cover things like budgeting, making your money go further, and financial awareness and scams, as well as support relating to debt, gaming and gambling. There's also specific information on managing your money for international and placement students.

External Services & Products

GamCare provides information, advice, and support for anyone affected by gambling harms. They operate the National Gambling Helpline, provide treatment for anyone who is harmed by gambling, and create awareness about safer gambling and treatment. You can access their helpline on 0808 8020 133, online chat, or through their forum and chatrooms.

It's important to make sure you get all the help you're entitled to. When it comes to claiming state benefits, Citizens Advice have lots of useful information on their website. There's an A-Z of benefits with details of different kinds, including Universal Credit, housing benefit, and income support. They also have a Benefits Calculator to help work out what you might be entitled to, and you can also get in contact with them for support with applications.

Citizens Advice also have lots of great resources, advice, and further information on money issues, including a budgeting tool, help with debt solutions, and other issues related to the Cost of Living crisis.

Sheffield Money Support Guide has lots of valuable information on how you can save money across a range of different things, and has links to other providors who are experts in their saving money in their areas.

If you're lucky enough to be in a position to start saving money, it can be confusing knowing how to save and which bank accounts to choose. MoneySavingExpert has lots of great advice on what different banks offer and will help you choose an account that helps you get the most out of your money. There's also information on things like how to start saving as well as a savings calculator to help you work out how much you can afford to save.

Blackbullion is a learning platform designed for students and includes money skills pathways, bootcamps, and budgeting tools. It will help empower you to be money smarter and make sound financial decisions. It teaches essential financial skills and habits that will help you throughout your life.

'Buy now pay later' schemes such as Klarna and Clearpay have made it easier than ever to spend money on both essential and luxury items, but it can be easy to get carried away. Blackbullion have put together an overview of the risks of buy now pay later schemes.

Government Support

Wonkhe reports that students whose bills are 'all-inclusive' in house shares and halls are to be the only citizens in the UK who will be excluded from the Energy Bills Support Scheme, which will give every household in the country £400 to help towards energy bills. It's worth checking out Wonkhe's report to find out more about the Government's decision on this. Save the Student has put together a useful guide to all the support available to students, including that from the Government.

Information on this page out of date or something else wrong? Let us know by emailing studentrights@shu.ac.uk.