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10 WAYS TO SAVE MONEY

1 Avoid ATMs (cash machines) that charge you to take out your own money.

Many ATMs charge you a rip off fee to take out your own money. Fees range from £1.25 to £2.50 regardless of how much you take out. So make one withdrawl a week, that could be over £100 per year! Avoid these machines like the plague. Many machines do not charge, so you need to some research and find out where there are free machines near your campus or where you live.

And how about this for a fact? If your uni has an ATM on campus, they may even be getting a cut of the fee your pay. Universities often negatioate deals with the ATM operator, making money by chargin rent, taking a cut of the fees charged by the machine, or in some cases, both.

All ATMs that charge feed must say so on the screen before a card is entered. They must also have a large, easy to read sign next to the screens stating that they charge so that it is easy for you to spot and avoid them.


2 Get your student discounts whenever possible.

There are a massive number of discounts available to students. Make sure you join the National Union of Students ( www.nusonline.co.uk.) who offer a huge range of discounted products and services ranging from computers to condoms. You enjoy discounts locally, online and on the High Street. You can also apply for a ISIC card (International Student Iidentity Card - www.isic.org). This makes your NUS Extra Card into an international card which will give you discounts in over 100 countries.

3 Buy in bulk whenever possible.

There are everything things, such as washing powder, washing up liquid and loo rolls that you should alwasy buy in bulk where possible. Quite often these items are on special offer in supermarkets - three for the price of two, or buy one, get one free (BOGOF). So if you spot something useful on special offer, snap it up.


4 Don't buy new books - buy second hand ones when you can


Books can be very expensive. But why buy a new one, when you can buy one containing exactly the same information second hand at a fraction of the cost? Your student union or departments should have information of where to get used books. Some have notice boards where you can find second hand books for sale. You can also try websites a such as Amazon and Abebooks. Also look out for discounts or special offers at your local bookshop or the larger high street chain.


5 Manage your mobile phone bills properly

Mobile phone's can be bewildering from a financial point of view. First you need to decide if it's better to have a pay as you go or a contract. The consumer campaigner Which? advises that if your bill is more than £15 a month and you use your phone more than three minutes a day, it is probably best to take out a contract. But there are 100s of contract deals around, and you be prepared to do a lot of research before deciding on a phone.

You need to review your mobile phone usage - how often do you use your phone, when you make calls, how many texts do you send, and do you take your phone abroad very much. Once you have identifed your needs, you can choose the provider that offers the best deal. Which? has a free website called SwitchwithWhich which compares more than 300 tariffs from leading mobile phone providers. It is updated every month and is well worth a visit if you are thinking of taking out a new contract.

6. Pay less for your travel

There are loads of ways to reduce your travel bill.

Travelling by train - The Young Person's Railcard costs £20 but gives you a third off most rail fares in Britain. Although you have to pay for it initially, it will quickly pay for itself. Every student is eligible for the railcard, but if you are over 26 you will need to prove that you are in full-time education.

Another way to get cheaper train fares is to book early. This is particularly useful for planned journeys such as going home for Christmas or holidays - you should be able to book several weeks in advance, secure you place and save money.

London students - if you are a student in London, you can get 30% off Travelcards and bus passes lasting a week or more.

Travel by coach - full-time students can get an NX2 card (costs £10) which gives up to 30% off National Express coach services .

7. Keep your bills as low as possible

There are many companies competing to offer you cheaper gas, electricity and telephone services. It is worth doing some research as switching energy companies is very easy to do. There are many free, impartial comparison websites that are approved by Energywatch. These include SwitchwithWhich, uSwitch and MoneyExpert. These days, one supplier can offer you gas and electricity and this can save you money - look out for the dual fuel tariffs.

Developing the green habit can also save you money, and help save the world at the same time. Check out www.energysavingtrust.org.uk for information and advice.


8. Beware of bill sharing


If a service provider has your name listed as the bill payer, then they will expect you to pay the bill - even if you are let down by your housemates. If you don't pay bills, you could get a bad credit rating and this in turn could affect your ability to get credit cards, loans or mortages in the future. So only agree ti act as bill payer if you are one hundred percent sure your flatmates will pay up. Standing orders are a good way to share payment. Sometimes, you get a discount if you pay by direct debit. Share bills carefully - or don't bother sharing.

9 Make sure you buy a TV licence.

If you own a TV or TV equipemtn (PCs with broadcast cards, set-top boxes or VCRs) buy a TV licence. It is a legal requirement. If you don't, and you are caught, you could face a fine of £1,000.

The TV in a university hall of residence common room is covered but you need one if you have a TV in your own room. In shared, rented houses, it depends on the tenancy agreement (make sure you have a tenacy agreement!). If your room is a separately occupied place, you'll need your own TV licence unless there's only one television in a communal area. If you have a joint tenancy agreement, you only need one licence for all the TVs.

Getting a refund - if you are going away for summer and do not need your licence again before it expires, you can claim a refund for any completely unused quarter (three consecutive calendar months, e.g. July, August, September). You'll probably need to buy your TV Licence by October in order to receive a refund.

10 Get insured -

According to the British Insurance Brokers' Association, around 38,500 of this year's 350,000 first-year students will be burgled during the course of their student life. On that happy note, it's time to get to grips with insurance. Less than half of students bother with insurance but that's a false economy. It would costs a fortune to replace the array of electronic kit in many student halls and houses. Keep your room or home secure and shop around for the best cover. Visit the Yahoo!'s Insurance section and get cover now.

 

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