piggy bank

Date published: September 24, 2015

How to become a money saving expert

We all want to be like Martin Lewis, TV’s most popular money saving expert, don’t we? It’s no easy feat though and that’s why we have put together this article, detailing all of our budgeting tips and any extra info you may need on student finance.

So, our first Martin Lewis-esque tip would be to complete our online learning programme, Blackbullion, here. To register all you need is your university email address. This will help you budget and help you save that little extra bit of money, so you’ll never have to say no to a night out.

Another useful tool to keep that piggy bank full is to use our budget calculator here. This keeps track of what’s going in and out of your account, helping you to budget skilfully for the week ahead.

Our other budgeting tips may seem slightly obvious but they’re well worth taking note of. It’s a great idea to set up direct debits, as it will help you budget, and we also advise you to open, read and keep all of your bank statements – mistakes sometimes do happen, so make sure you never get charged for anything you didn’t spend.

Our last and maybe most vital tip is to choose your student bank account carefully. Some offer fantastic perks including a free overdraught, a free rail card or cheap cinema tickets – so make sure you get the best account out there! Do, however, read all the small print when signing up for a bank account to avoid hidden charges. For some advice from the money saving expert himself on this click here. 

Student Finance

Now onto the subject at the forefront of many of your minds, student finance.

This section will be particularly important for those who have not yet received their first student finance payment. If that’s you…keep calm and read on.

Your first port of call is to read through our checklist (below) and see if you have completed all of the steps.

Student finance checklist:

  1. Return your signed declaration to Student Finance England
  2. Register fully with the university
  3. Make sure your ‘Confirmation of Attendance’ has been sent from the university
IT photo imageIf you have ticked all of the above boxes, then our advice remains the same…keep calm and read on.

Your next step would be to log onto your online account here. To do this, you will need your customer reference number and password to log in. This will tell you why there may have been a delay and will give you lots of useful information. Computer facilities are available in the Library and in University House. 

If you are not able to resolve the problem online, then you should contact the SFE helpline on 0300 100 0607. The helpline is open Monday to Friday 8am-8pm and Saturday and Sunday 9am-4pm. It can be difficult to get through due to the high volume of calls at this time of the year, so try and avoid calling at peak times by trying early in the morning or later in the day. 

Again, you will need your customer reference number and password to hand. Telephones are available for you to call free of charge in University House.

Useful tips when dealing with Student Finance England (SFE):

- It is important to keep a log of all phone calls made to SFE, taking a note of the date and time of the call, and who you spoke with. You can find Record Sheets to document your calls beside the phones in University House or here for you to use.

- Keep a copy of any documents you send to SFE, use recorded or registered post and keep the receipt safe!

- Wait at least 14 days to allow time for the evidence to be sorted, scanned and matched to your application.

You can then check the receipt by logging onto your online account and viewing the ‘Evidence’ screen.

Problem still not resolved and need our help?

If after taking the above steps you have not been able to resolve the problem you may need our help. You can come along to one of our Quick Query appointments in University House daily. You will need to bring with you all documents and any correspondence you have received from Student Finance England as well as your reference number and password. If your query is quite complex needing further investigation, we may book you in for a full finance appointment.

What about my tuition fees?

If you have applied for a tuition fee loan and it has still not been finalised by the time you come to register for your course then you will need to set up a direct debit with the finance office in the meantime. Unfortunately you will not be able to register until either you have confirmation of your tuition fee loan or you set up a direct debit, the direct debit can be instantly cancelled once your funding has been confirmed and no payment will be taken until mid-October. 

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