Managing your money during Covid-19

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Business editor Georgina Peacock offers some guidance for students to manage the financial impact of coronavirus.

Daily life has drastically changed for the majority of the world. According to the Office for National Statistics, from April to June 2020 approximately 1.34 million people were unemployed. Students in particular have been affected, often by losing part-time jobs or by zero-hour contracts not reflecting true pay through furlough. However you have been financially impacted, money management is likely to be different due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Here are 5 useful tips to help you manage your money this academic year.

1) Reviewing

It is important to recognise that circumstances are different. Perhaps you were required to dip into savings and want to build it back up or wish to save more in anticipation of financially difficult times. With Covid-19 rules still in place, spending habits this academic year may look different. The first place to start is reviewing your budget with the possibility of saving more for an emergency and adjusting each category’s budget with your ‘new normal’ in mind.

2) Internet banking

Most banks offer an app or online banking, so it may be worth exploring what the banking app and websites have to offer. They often have a tool which shows a breakdown of your spending over the past month or year, and this can allow you to set realistic budgets and track exactly what you spend.

Another way to make full use of internet banking is by moving money between your accounts. A big mistake I made as a fresher was keeping my full student loan sat in my current account, it’s way too easy to spend it that way! I have found the best thing is to have two accounts, one where rent and bills come out and the other with everyday spending money.

3) Discounts

As students we can receive many perks through UNiDAYS, NUS and other student discounts. Research before you buy anything to see what deals are out there.

The standout deals this September:

– A key one for Leeds Students is the NUS card, which amongst other discounts gets you 10% off at the Co-Op in the student union.

– UNiDAYS offer: The usual 10% off clothing brands and money off various laptops, around 30% off at Pizza Express and other restaurants. Apple Music and Amazon Prime also offer a free 6-month trial.

– Some restaurants are extending the Eat Out to Help Out scheme where you get 50% off up to £10 per person. In Leeds, this includes Giorgio’s Ristorante in Headingley, Bill’s in Albion Place, Mad Frans every Friday on Whitehall Road, as well as Toby Carvery and the Harvester.

4) Banking

Due to Covid-19, banks have implemented several schemes to help customers manage their finances. Although many of these, such as a mortgage or holiday loans, are not relevant to the majority of students, it may be worth seeing if any schemes are relevant to you. For example, accessing fixed savings without a penalty. Freshers should also research into the best student bank accounts, as well as consider perks such as the overdraft offer.

5) Maximise income

A part time job is a great way to maximise your income as a student, however, in the current climate it may be more difficult to find work. Considering this, we suggest you check out our article on side hustle ideas to help you make money while at University.

Image Credit: Will Southall