Student Advice Service – Money Matters

News from the Student Advice Service at the University of Brighton

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End of term financial wellbeing action plan

As term comes to an end, many of you will be saying goodbye to your term-time home until the new year.

We’ve compiled a check-list to help save you some money and get the new year off to a great start, before you head off for some festive cheer and a well-deserved break.

Action plan before you leave the property

· SWITCH OFF! Make sure that all electrical items are unplugged – TVs, devices, electric toothbrush chargers and anything left on standby can drain electricity even when not in use. Turn off lights and lamps.

· Secure your home and your possessions – lock doors and windows and take time to put your valuables somewhere safe (but memorable). Consider telling your landlord the dates that you’ll be away so they can keep an eye out.

· Talk with housemates about when you’ll be returning after Christmas – it might be wise to agree a joint return date – heating a large house for one person is expensive and it might feel safer being in the property when others are around.

· Adjust your central heating – if you have central heating that’s on a timer, this will need adjusting. Pipes can freeze in extreme temperatures, and you should seek advice from your landlord or agent about whether they would prefer you to switch off completely or just turn down the thermostat and just set the timer for a much shorter period each day.

· A clean home is a happy home – we know from experience that returning to a messy house after some time away is not pleasant! So, take a bit of time to empty bins, wash-up, clean out the microwave and clear the fridge of anything that might grow over the holidays – you’ll be thankful you did, plus if you defrost the fridge and freezer you can switch these off as well.

Action plan to help you return with a healthier bank balance

· Make any travel arrangements early – tickets can be cheaper when bought in advance. Consider whether a railcard could be a worthwhile investment and research student-discounted bus fares.

· Hopefully many of you will have already secured temporary work over the holidays, but if you are still thinking about this, start actively looking now.

You could contact former employers or local businesses to see if they are recruiting or, if you’ve been working for a retail or hospitality chain near uni, you may be able to temporarily transfer to a branch close to home.

· Set aside some time to work out a budget for next term. Review how you managed your finances last term and see if there are areas where you need to make changes. Calculate your predicted income over the coming term, deduct your essential outgoings (rent, food, travel etc) and divide what remains by how many weeks it needs to last – you’ll be left with your spending allowance. For more budgeting tips have a look at money saving expert’s student budgeting advice:

· Don’t feel pressured into buying gifts for everyone. For many, this Christmas will need to be scaled down and family and friends will appreciate that your student funding won’t stretch far. Talk to your loved ones about alternative ways to treat each other and celebrate – think homemade, secret Santa, a shared experience or day out. Read Martin Lewis’ blog about NOT buying presents.

Finally, for those of you receiving Maintenance Loans, the next payment date is Monday 8th January but you may receive the instalment a couple of days earlier, so keep an eye on bank transactions.

The Student Advice team continues to operate until Wednesday 20th December when we close for the holiday. We will reopen on Tuesday 2nd January.

All university hardship funds will be temporarily suspended during the university closure period.

This is how to contact us either side of the closure dates: Call us 01273 642888, email us or request a meeting, in-person or over Teams.

Warm wishes

Student Advice

Helen Abrahams • December 11, 2023

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