It’s not always easy making ends meet when you’re a student. Many AAT students are on apprenticeships or complete their studies alongside a part-time job, which helps. But whether you are studying full-time or part-time, it’s always handy to have a bit of extra cash in your pocket.
So, here’s our no-nonsense guide to making the most of your money while you’re getting your qualifications.
1. Claim the benefits you can
There are a number of benefits you can claim as a student, if you meet the eligibility criteria. If, for example, you are on a low income, you can apply for Universal Credit.
2. Find extra funding
If you’re on an AAT apprenticeship, your employer will usually cover the cost of your AAT training. And even if you’re already working in finance, it’s often worth asking your employer if they can fund a course that will allow you to learn new skills.
You may also be able to qualify for a grant to help cover your costs. Find out what’s available to fit your needs by using our training provider search tool and then ask the provider you choose what funding options are available.
3. Get connected for less
Do you really need super-fast fibre optic broadband? You can pay a lot less if you can manage with a standard speed internet connection.
Either way, the best way to save money on your broadband connection is to shop around for the best deal via a comparison website such as MoneySupermarket.
You can also take advantage of free wifi in a wide range of restaurants and cafes across the country.
4. Choose the right mobile deal
If you use your phone a lot, the monthly costs can be eyewatering – especially if you want a top-of-the-range smartphone.
Ways to cut your costs include maing sure you are on the right tariff by checking your bills to see how much you make calls, send texts, and use data.
If you are set on an expensive handset, it’s also worth comparing the cost of buying one separately and taking out a SIM only contract.
5. Slash your fuel bills
Petrol costs have shot up recently. Ways to make filling up at the pump less painful include only put the air conditioning on when you really need it and sticking to the speed limit, as the faster you go, the more fuel your car consumes.
Staying in a lower gear for longer can also cut your fuel costs by 15%, while it’s also sensible to cut your engine when your car is at a standstill.
6. Earn some extra cash online
There are lots of easy ways to boost your financial situation online. You could, for example, sell any unwanted clothes and accessories on a second-hand marketplace such as Vinted.
You can also offer English language lessons to foreign students from the comfort of your own home using sites such as italki, or set yourself up as an online tutor in your favourite subject from school.
7. Buy textbooks for less
Textbooks are a vital study tool, but buying them new can make a big dent in your finances. The good news is that you can often find them second hand for a fraction of the price.
You can often link up with other students who have finished with the books you need on the AAT Discussion forum, which even has a Books to buy and sell page. You can also find second-hand AAT textbooks on Ebay.
8. Take advantage of freebies and discounts
Don’t be afraid to use your AAT student membership to ask for student discounts in shops, bars, and restaurants; there’s no point paying full price if you don’t have to…
Whether you are a full-time or a part-time “professional” student, it’s also worth signing up for a Totum or Totum Pro card. Current offers with the Pro version include 20% of monthly EE plans and 15% off Samsung laptops.
9. Minimise your electricity bills
Taking steps to cut back on your energy consumption is good for the planet as well as your personal finances. And it doesn’t have to be difficult.
According to the Energy Saving Trust, you can save around £35 a year just by remembering to turn your appliances off standby mode, while fitting a water efficient shower head could save you another £30 a year.
And if you have a thermostat in each room, you can save around £55 a year and reduce your carbon footprint by 300kg simply by turning it down one degree.
10. Cut the cost of car insurance
Car insurance can be a significant outlay, particularly if you are a young driver with little experience behind the wheel.
Ways to keep costs down include taking out a telematics policy that involves the insurer monitoring your driving via a black box installed in your car, a plug-and-drive device or a mobile phone app – and reducing your premiums if you show yourself to be safe on the roads.
Adding a more experienced driver such as a parent to your policy as a named driver can also bring your costs down. However, you should only do this if that person does occasionally drive your car.
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Jessica Bown is an award-winning freelance journalist and editor.