The six money saving tips all students need to know

The start of the university term is fast approaching, and tens of thousands of freshers will be excitedly planning their year ahead.

The prospect of budgeting can be a daunting one. For many students, this year will be the first time they have rented, or opened a bank account themselves, or had access to an overdraft.

Most students finish their degrees with hefty debts, so getting spending in order early is essential. Telegraph Money lists six of the best money-saving tips for those heading off to university.

Take advantage of student discounts

Some of Britain’s best-loved brands offer generous discounts to students, so it is always worth checking in-store or online whether you qualify.

A Totum Card gives access to over 350 different discounts for £14.99 for 12 months or £24.99 for three years. The card also doubles as a PASS-accredited proof of age ID card. 

Meanwhile, a Student Beans ID card gives student-exclusive discounts at over 10,000 stores online and on the high street.

Creating an account online also gives access to discount codes from over 250 brands, including Apple, Topshop, and Urban Outfitters.

Buy second-hand textbooks 

Buying textbooks at the beginning of the year can incur a hefty bill. Buying second-hand can save a significant sum of money, but many others will have the same idea, so students should act fast to snap up the best deals.

Besides Amazon and Ebay, second-hand textbooks can be found on the website Abebooks. 

If you cannot find what you need online, you could ask students from the year above if they would be happy to sell their old textbooks to you. Your lecturers should be able to put you in contact with them.

Open a student current account

Each year banks offer a range of perks to tempt new students into opening a current account.

Usually, the feature that students are most interested in is the interest-free overdrafts that come with this type of deal.

This year’s most generous overdrafts are available from Nationwide, HSBC and Barclays, which all offer up to £3,000 interest-free.

Overdrafts on these accounts are staggered. First-year students can access up to £1,000, second-year students up to £2,000, and third-year students up to £3,000.

Bear in mind that your overdraft may decrease once you graduate, or it may incur interest charges. Always remember that it is not free money, and you will eventually have to pay it back.

Beyond overdrafts, Barclays also offers a free subscription to Perlego, an online digital library, which usually costs £96 per year.

HSBC’s account comes with £80 in cash plus the choice of a £20 Uber Eats voucher or a year of unlimited next-day delivery with Asos Premier, usually worth £9.95 a year.

NatWest offers a Tastecard worth £34.99 and £50 cashback for opening an account. Meanwhile, Santander now offers a railcard, worth £30 for one year or £70 for three years. Customers can also earn up to 15pc cashback from selected retailers. 

Only pay your TV licence if you absolutely have to 

Nobody likes paying their TV licence fee, but luckily for students, there are ways around it. If you live with your parents outside of term time, and they already pay the fee, then you do not need to pay if you watch on a tablet or laptop in your student house.

You can also opt-out of paying altogether if you do not watch television. Doing so online will stop the TV licensing company from sending you threatening letters or sending inspectors to your home.

If you do pay for a licence, you can apply for a refund on the months in the summer when you are not in university.

Switch energy suppliers 

If you are not in halls and have to pay monthly electricity bills, you could save money by switching your energy supplier. Tenants are within their rights to do this, but you should also let your landlord know you intend to switch. 

Using a price comparison website can help you find a cheap fixed-rate tariff that will lock your costs in for the length of the deal, often up to a year. 

If you do not want to change energy provider every time your fixed-rate deal comes to an end, services such as Look After My Bills or Flipper will automatically move you onto a cheaper rate as they become available. 

Some of these firms will charge a small annual fee, while others will take a flat commission rate from the suppliers. 

Apply for a council tax exemption

If you are a full-time student living alone or with other students then you do not need to pay council tax. You can apply for council tax exemption via the gov.uk website.

To count as a full-time student, your course must last at least a year and involve at least 21 hours of study per week. 

If you live with someone who is not a full-time student your household will have to pay council tax, but may be eligible for a discount. You can check the gov.uk to see which discounts may apply.