Can I afford university? with Ola from All Things Money

If you're nervous about managing your finances as a student - don't be! Ethan and Libby invite financial expert Ola onto the podcast to help you smash your student budget. 

[00:00:05] Speaker 1 Hi. I'm Ethan. And I'm Libby. And we're both first year students at Birmingham City University. [00:00:09] Speaker 2 This is the get ready for uni podcast, where we talk about our experience of first year and also give you guys top tips on how to start university. [00:00:16] Speaker 1 And if you're looking for more tips for starting uni, you can just visit BCU's free get ready for uni hub on the BCU website. [00:00:23] Speaker 2 And make sure to follow BCU on all social media channels. [00:00:26] Speaker 1 So what are we talking about today Libby? [00:00:28] Speaker 2 So I thought today would be a bit more serious. We're going to talk about finance, which is more of a serious topic. Many students and parents have had their concerns about it that we've seen online, so we thought we'd go on about that. And we've also got a guest coming in later who is a financial expert as well. So, you know, it's not just us talking about it. It's actually, you know, real financial help from a real... Because obviously, we're students, we're not much help. But yes, actual help on financial situations within university and how to budget and how to spend your money wisely. So I thought we could start with like how we've managed to do it this year, how we found it and like how it judged against our preconceptions. [00:01:10] Speaker 1 and like, how we might change for next year, [00:01:12] Speaker 2 Well, yeah, exactly. Did you, like, look into it beforehand or did you just kind of throw yourself into it while we got here? [00:01:18] Speaker 1 What do you mean? In terms of like saving and budgeting? [00:01:21] Speaker 2 Yeah. Like, I think I didn't really look into budget. I didn't think about it. I just thought, Oh yeah, I'm going to go to uni and all this. But I didn't really think about, Oh, actually, I'm moving away from home. I have to kind of use my own money and actually live off of it for the next year. [00:01:34] Speaker 1 I don't I definitely didn't plan what I was going to be like spending my money on. Yeah, but I always knew in the back of my mind that it was obviously going to be something that I would have to at least acknowledge because obviously, you know, you don't you're not really living under your own roof back at home. Like you don't have, say, everything handed to you on a plate. Yeah, you've got to do everything on your own, just like, you know. [00:01:58] Speaker 2 Yeah. Like the shopping and stuff as well, you don't take that into consideration, I don't think. [00:02:02] Speaker 1 Exactly. [00:02:03] Speaker 2 It's like when, before uni I didn't really think, Oh yeah, I'm going to have to spend this much on shopping every week or I'm going to have to go and do this, spend this on travel, spend this on accommodation, do this. I think the only thing I thought about was accommodation because I was like, Well, I need somewhere to live. And then student finance came through as well. So we had to like apply for that. So I think the only thing I actually thought about until, it wasn't till the end actually, I think it was quite last minute, which I wouldn't really recommend, was like student finance or how much I'm going to get and then when I'm going to get it, because I was like, Well, I need to live off of that. But I don't think I actually looked into like the actual budgeting of it properly. I think that's one thing I'm definitely going to do next year because especially with all the, you know, the changes to like where I'm living and stuff like that, I think I definitely need to focus more on budgeting my money and, you know, going out because I think the first year it's more like, Oh, look at all this money I've got and this is amazing. You know, I feel. [00:02:57] Speaker 1 Like it's like, you know, when you get your first big like grant from the government and you're like, Oh, payday. But it's not even like a payday because you didn't have to work for it. [00:03:05] Speaker 2 Yeah, I've never seen this much money in my bank account in my life. Oh, my God. And you get the urge to spend, but then you realise. No, actually, no. [00:03:11] Speaker 1 Exactly. And then like a week later and it's all just going on rent, and you're like, Oh, okay, I've got no money now. [00:03:15] Speaker 2 Oh, no. My last one went entirely on rent. It was like, Oh my God. But then you realise your life isn't just like one thing and that you have to actually live. You've got so many things to pay. Like, especially what I'm saying, like shopping. Shopping is so expensive now as well because of cost of living. I know. So I think budgeting for like actual necessities. [00:03:34] Speaker 1 It's like what I do now. Like I actually kind of look around like at different shops, you know, you can like see it on what is it, Ocado and stuff like that. So you know, like Tesco or Asda's websites or like even Lidl. I don't know if they've got a website, but it is like, you know, and I actually like, like comparing prices and I'm like, okay, I felt really mature when I do that. [00:03:54] Speaker 2 No you're the little freak that always takes little vlogs around in M&S and you're like look at this, it's 10p cheaper than Co Op, look at this! [00:03:58] Speaker 2 It's quite good, actually. You do save as a lot of money, like when you get a little pasta stuff. [00:04:07] Speaker 1 No exactly, for everyone out there, like, don't judge me for shopping at M&S, because sometimes they actually, like. [00:04:12] Speaker 2 Most of the time it is actually cheaper. [00:04:13] Speaker 1 No, exactly. [00:04:14] Speaker 2 It is actually. But then I feel like with being a student, you have to actually focus. I think money is the main thing you focus on during university, obviously. [00:04:22] Speaker 1 Well, apart from, yeah. [00:04:23] Speaker 2 Yeah. Okay, I get that obviously your studies, but I feel like money's a main thing. I think everyone's always like, Oh, I can't go out because I have no money or I can't do this. I mean, it's like, Oh God. [00:04:33] Speaker 1 And it's kind of just like, ok well, if you hit the club a bit earlier, you can get free entry. [00:04:37] Speaker 2 Yeah, free entry. You're like, well, it doesn't matter because you can get free entry. Okay, I'll just sit there and you know, but now I feel like, I feel like another good thing about being a student, though, even though we do have, like, everything's much more expensive now, I don't know if that's because I've never actually had to pay for so much myself or because it's like actually getting more expensive. It's that we get like discounts for stuff as well, like student discounts. UNIDAYS. [00:05:00] Speaker 1 UNIDAYS and then there's also like, student beans and yeah, there's another one, but I can't remember the name of that. But I know that, like, the co-op accepts them and so. [00:05:09] Speaker 2 Oh, yeah, the little like, purple one. [00:05:11] Speaker 1 Yeah, the totem card. That's the name of it. So it's like, you know, that's like even these discounts for just like going for your food shop and stuff. [00:05:18] Speaker 2 Yeah. And they do like a lot of membership cards and stuff like shops like the Co Op too, which is really good. [00:05:23] Speaker 1 But yeah. [00:05:23] Speaker 2 Student discounts are really good. You know if you're going out for a meal or you going to buy some clothes or. [00:05:28] Speaker 1 Even like going to the gym or something. Yeah. You know. [00:05:30] Speaker 2 Oh gym is really good actually. Gym is like I think it was like £7 for three months of the gym. I go, Yeah, I didn't get it, though. [00:05:37] Speaker 1 Clearly. No I'm joking! [00:05:39] Speaker 2 You're so mean! But yeah student discounts are really good as well I use them I always use when we go to Bills I love getting my discounts on Bills with you. [00:05:47] Speaker 1 You love a good Bills burger don't you. [00:05:49] Speaker 2 That's the thing, my family are always like how do you? You're living so well, like you have no money but you're living so well and I always say student discount guys. I get everything free. Well, not free, but it's like 20%. That's quite a good amount. [00:05:58] Speaker 1 It's a good chunk off. [00:06:00] Speaker 2 And so when we do like activities as well. You know we went bowling? Yeah, it was only about £5 each, which is like for two games. [00:06:06] Speaker 1 and like I feel like when theres universities, a lot of like the shops around or near them always have you know student discounts on, you know. [00:06:16] Speaker 2 Our co-op card they're quite good because it's for students mainly and they do the once you spend enough you can like take money off of your bills and stuff like that or you can get a free it's like the apps isn't it you can get free stuff. So it's quite good in supporting students. I think they understand that like we haven't actually got that much money and maybe it's but especially like with jobs and stuff as well, like it's really hard to find a job as a student. We did speak about that last episode, didn't we? [00:06:41] Speaker 1 But like. [00:06:42] Speaker 2 It's like. [00:06:42] Speaker 1 It's very good though, because, yeah, you know, there's a lot of jobs which cater towards students. So it's like, for instance, you know, you've got these student ambassadors and stuff. That obviously works perfectly because you're working for the uni, where they know that you're a student and [00:06:56] Speaker 2 Yeah, that's a good thing [00:06:57] Speaker 1 So you can just pick up a shift whenever you want, you know. [00:07:00] Speaker 2 And they won't be like, well, that's getting in the way, you know, because most jobs are usually like, oh you know, you have university but you need to be working. But then these ones within the uni itself because there's quite a lot of jobs at BCU actually um like content creators, student ambassadors, they understand that like you have a semi flexible like availability. Yeah. So its like well they're not actually going to be harsh. [00:07:21] Speaker 1 They're not going to be on your back. [00:07:22] Speaker 2 Yeah exactly like you like do what you want. But yeah, well exactly but um but yeah I feel like jobs like that are a bit more easier with your social life as well. So like, especially with, like spending money and stuff that you have a certain amount of wage coming in which is like, you know, help support you and stuff like that. But then it's also not like you're, you're always at work, you know. You're a student ambassador, aren't you? And you're not always like I can't do this I've got work. I can't do this. But you can pick and choose. [00:07:47] Yeah, exactly. And I'll always make time for, you know, if we're going to go out. [00:07:52] Speaker 2 You'll always make time to spend some more money on us. [00:07:55] Speaker 1 So we have a special guest on today. Her name is Ola and she runs All Things Money. This is a platform that specialises in helping people learn more about finance. And she also offers e-books, online workshops and runs 1 to 1 sessions for people that really want to get to grips with money. [00:08:12] Speaker 2 We're going be talking to Ola today about her top tips for students going to university. So Ola would like to introduce yourself and what you do. [00:08:19] Speaker 3 Of course so like you guys kindly mentioned my name is Ola and I'm the founder of All Things Money, which is a personal finance platform that teaches young adults how to manage their finances effectively as we are not taught much about money in school or university, really. And I think sometimes when you go to university, you kind of just expect to kind of just figure it out. So I created all things money to hopefully help people feel less overwhelmed when it comes to managing their finances. [00:08:42] Speaker 2 That's quite good. Yeah, I feel like one of the main things is that students don't really take into consideration how effective like money actually is, how important it is in university. So I guess our first question for you would be what is something that every student should know about before starting university money wise? [00:08:58] Speaker 3 Good question. I think the first thing to anyone kind of listening is like to not stress. I feel like everyone thinks university is like this huge, big financial burden that takes away the excitement of going to university. For me, like university was like the best four years of my life. Like I would go back again in a heartbeat. So I feel like the first thing is not to stress, but then I guess to add like practical tips to that when you are looking to go to university, number one thing is to open up a student bank account 100%. [00:09:24] Speaker 2 Yeah, I think following on from that, student bank accounts are really important. [00:09:28] Speaker 1 And that's like loads of banks that do them as well and they offer like really good benefits with them don't they? Obviously there's Santander that, you know, has like a big overdraft, but then there's also Railcard too. [00:09:41] Speaker 2 I think you have to definitely do your research into it because I think I looked at a few because, Oh, that's great. Yeah, I just kind of threw myself, because obviously you don't have much money as a sixth form student or a college student you're like ooh, any sort of money you're like I'm going to have that. But then I think if you do your research. [00:09:54] Speaker 1 You need to like read the fine print don't you kind of. [00:09:55] Speaker 3 But yeah, yeah. [00:09:57] Speaker 1 Obviously that's ones that, you know, they're like, oh, you can get. Like £100 when you sign up but it's like at the end of the day. Say, if you're a student that travels a lot, £100 isn't going to get you very far. So going for Santander, you can get a railcard and get cheaper train tickets every day. [00:10:11] Speaker 3 Yeah, yeah, yeah. [00:10:12] Speaker 2 Yeah, definitely. I think we looked into it quite a lot, actually. Me and my nan did as well. She she's very thing about me and my money, so she was like looking into it. I think definitely looking around because some offer much better things. I think it depends on your situation as well. But then with the Santander one, which we both chose, didn't we? Yeah, it was also like 0% interest as well, which was really good because we were like, you know, having the money is great to spend, but we haven't. If we can't pay it back on time, there's no use us having that money. [00:10:38] Speaker 1 Because it's just going to keep stacking on top of each other. [00:10:40] Speaker 2 Exactly. And then we'll just then it will become a financial burden and then we will get stressed. So I feel like definitely researching it. Definitely look into it like do you agree with that as well? [00:10:47] Speaker 3 Yeah. No, for sure. I'd say when it comes to finding out the best student bank account it's working out what you said like your needs and everything about and there are so many comparison websites that when you are approaching September they'll be able to break down the best ones based on like student ranking, the incentives offered. Obviously the reason why I say you should go for a student bank rather than just sticking with your current account is that you do have that added bonus of having a 0% interest overdraft. So again, obviously, you know, you always wanna use your overdraft wisely and cautiously, but I feel like when you are a university student, just knowing that you do have kind of like extra breathing space with your finances in the form of an overdraft can be quite useful. So again, looking at that and seeing what banks are offering zero percent interest on the overdraft. [00:11:27] Speaker 2 Yeah, I think that's really important though as well because I feel like, um, I don't know about you Ethan like, I don't know how you found looking into bank accounts and like all the overdraft stuff or like, yeah, interest. I just kind of found it a bit overwhelming, um, because I was like, Oh, I don't know how I'm going to pay it all back. It's not the taking the money, that's fine. I could spend as much money as I need to, but it's like paying it back. I don't want to be in that position where I can't pay it back. Yeah, especially being this young as well. It's like I'm only just turning into an adult, so it's like it's all kind of hitting at once. I feel like with that, like you said, it, it does give you breathing space and it's really good. But I feel like I had quite a lot of support from my family as well, like going through it all but I feel like, I don't know how many people actually have that kind of support from their families either. Like, um, I know many people, like their parents and stuff, they tell them, Oh, you know, you don't have to do this, you have to do that, or they don't actually know the rules of the government. So I feel like it's quite important to look on the government website as well. Yeah. Um, and where you go into university for like money help and like all that kind of stuff. [00:12:25] Speaker 1 There's definitely like a lot of universities that offer some type of scheme isn't there [00:12:30] Speaker 2 There's hardship funds and stuff like that as well. [00:12:32] Speaker 1 Because I know that this uni does that. [00:12:34] Speaker 2 Yeah. Yeah. But yeah another thing about the overdrafts and stuff as well as you know, you can go into it a lot but I feel like try and avoid it as much as you can and try and budget as well. But, and the thing for you is another question for you is like how would you go about budgeting, where do you actually begin? Because I don't feel like I have a clear point where I started budgeting. [00:12:51] Speaker 3 Yeah. Good point, cause I heard in the intro when you were talking about like budgeting and like, you know, you start university, you're like, oh my gosh. Like it's like the most amount of money I've ever had in my bank account. And I remember, like, when I started university, all I heard was all these horror stories of people being like, Oh, I blew all my like, student money, like the first couple of weeks. And in my head I was like I cannot allow that to happen. So for me, budgeting was like from day one. And I guess there's kind of two main ways you can budget. There's one method called the 50 30 20 budgeting method, which, when I've hosted workshops in the past, students love this budgeting method, which for me it's not one I personally did. This budgeting one means that 50% of your money or your student loan goes to your needs. That's like covering your rent, your bills, all that fun stuff. And then 30% of your money goes towards your wants. So I always say that you can budget and have fun. So that's then allocated to your wants meaning you can still do, you know your bills, your bills, lunches, you can go out clubbing, things like that. And then ideally around 20% then goes towards your saving or future use. So again, if you may be saving for like, you know, university textbooks or if you want a holiday at the end of university, then at least you're still saving towards that. So I think loads of people like the idea of having like portioned allocations. So, you know, you can kind of switch it up obviously 50% of your needs. What if your money doesn't cover that? Then you know, you can maybe do like is 70 / 60 that's really bad maths. [00:14:14] 70 20 10? . [00:14:18] Speaker 3 Yeah exactly, doing that kind of allocation can be really handy. Or on the other hand, you can just do the traditional budgeting method which I used at university, which was working out how much my student loan was for the semester, what are my expenses for the whole semester as well, and deducted my expenses from my money. And then that gave me my disposable income. So that was how much I can then like live like for food going out and all that stuff. [00:14:40] Speaker 2 So that's what we did as well. But yeah, like I didn't really use it that well I feel like the, the 50 30 20 sounds really good. Yeah. [00:14:47] Speaker 1 And I'm guessing you can always use that for your whole life to be honest. [00:14:49] Speaker 3 Exactly. It is like, this is the thing with budgeting, like you can literally amend it towards your needs and like, you know, once you get into the habit of it. I think it all starts with getting into the habit of budgeting. I think some people find it really, really overwhelming. So I think, you know, having those different outlooks on what type of budgeting methods are out there, again, allows you to think, okay, it's not actually as scary. [00:15:09] Speaker 2 Feel like when you say, oh, I'm allocating a certain amount money, it's like, Oh God, I've only got this to live off of, I've only got this bit. But then if it's 50%, I don't think, to be fair sometimes it depends on your loan, but if you get a high amount of loan, then 50% might actually be more than enough. Then you actually have got more left over. So I feel like actually planning ahead. It's much more convenient, rather than thinking you have more money than you do, you think you have less, then you're like oh, actually I have got more. Yeah. Yeah. It's much more optimistic. Yeah. Because I feel like it's very stressful when you haven't thought about money for a while and then all of a sudden everything's kind of toppling on top of you and it's like oh, my goodness. Yeah. Everything's like, phwoar. But I feel like, um. Yeah it'sdefinitely a good way to save money. Is there any other tips that you give, for like saving money at university? [00:15:50] Speaker 3 Yes. You guys kind of touched on like, you know, sign up for student discount memberships, you know, your student beans and your uni days. They are amazing. I would also go that one extra step in the fact that loads of restaurants or like organisations might not necessarily use those kind of means of like advertising their promotions. So if you ever going out always ask if they're offering a student discount as well because sometimes they actually will, they just don't advertise anywhere. So I've always been that unshameful person and be like, You got any discounts for students? [00:16:19] Speaker 2 It never hurts to ask does it? [00:16:20] Speaker 3 It really doesn't. So I'd say that's probably one of my biggest tips. And then again as well, like you mentioned that, you know, saving might be like a bit of a hoax when you're at university, but there's so many apps in the market now that allows students to save as well. So I feel like when you're young, you think saving means like having to save thousands of pounds in a bank account just to have like a house deposit or go like an expensive holiday. But I feel like when it comes to saving, even if you're saving like £5 a week really does go a long way when it comes to like spending things on like your books and everything else. So there's apps like Money box and like CHIP that allow you to kind of save and they round up your spending as well. So you might be in like Tesco's and your shop might come up to like £2.90, it'll round up your spending to £3 and put 10 pence into a savings pot. So again just allows you to save so much easier, not even thinking about it. [00:17:06] Speaker 2 See I've only looked at the certain apps, but then there's always the ones that get advertised. Then you have to pay to subscribe. Yeah. So I've been like, You know what? I'm not going to budget. I'm going to do that. But like, I'm definitely going to go look at those ones. [00:17:15] Speaker 3 Yeah, definitely. [00:17:16] Speaker 2 Because I feel like sometimes it's a bit overwhelming. Then they go, well you need to subscribe, we need to do this. And I'm like, Well, I don't have any money to subscribe to you, I'm trying to budget! [00:17:24] Speaker 3 But there are so many free ones out there now. So definitely take advantage of that. And some of them also, like there's a budgeting app called Snoop and it will give you alerts of where they might be able to find cheaper bills for you as well. So especially being a university student and, you know, bills like, you know, it's probably the first time you are ever dealing with bills. It'll be like, oh, we've actually find cheaper discount offers for you here and stuff like that. So that can really be handy. [00:17:45] Speaker 1 And I suppose that's just like on the app store or something like that, yeah? [00:17:49] Speaker 2 That's quite good. Yeah, I feel like it's really helpful nowadays with like online and like, you know, the internet and stuff like that. I feel everyone gets to communicate in that kind of way. Like, obviously on social media and stuff people always ask questions. I feel like I learnt most of my stuff on social media, rather than at school and stuff. But yeah, I feel like, you know, everyone's got like a lot of questions to ask and I feel like if you don't know anything someone will, which is really comforting in a way. Do you agree like with that? [00:18:17] Speaker 1 Like because when I scroll on TikTok and stuff, I always, you know, you see people like comparing prices of things like, you know, oh, shop here instead of here, it's like, oh, to save your money like. [00:18:29] Speaker 2 Life hacks and stuff like that. [00:18:30] Speaker 1 Exactly. So it's like that's definitely a lot of stuff out there already which can help you. And they always explain it in like the most simplistic way that they could. So, you know, you're not sat there like I don't know what to do! [00:18:40] Speaker 3 God, what's that mean. [00:18:41] Speaker 2 Yeah, I haven't got a clue what's going on. So we've actually got another question here for you. It says, like lots of parents worry that their child shouldn't go to university because they won't be able to afford it or they worry that they can't afford to support their child through uni. Um, do you have any tips or advice for how to have this conversation with the parents? And how would you explain the system to them and like how to reassure them? [00:19:02] Speaker 3 Yeah. So I think obviously when it comes to money, having those open and honest conversations with your parents is really important, especially you know that university isn't cheap. Right. And you know, you have quite a lot of expenses that you have to kind of like go through and pay. But I think it's really important to remember that, you know, lots of universities like we've already discussed have like university hardship funds. If you may be really struggling about funding university, some offer like bursaries and grants. So again, you don't have to think like, oh my gosh, my maintenance loan is the only thing I have to be able to afford to live off. So having that explanation with your parents is really important to say, okay, I'm going to this university or I'm going to be BCU and this is what BCU is offering me on top of my like additional money that I'm getting from the government. So again, doing the research, is really really important. And most of the time it's really, really clearly signposted in terms of like where you can get extra funding and grants from. And the government also offers lots of extra funding as well as the maintenance loan as well that you might not necessarily have to pay back. So grants is free money. So if you can if you are eligible for grants as well, then make sure you take up on that as well. [00:19:58] Speaker 2 I definitely think looking at the government website especially, because they do offer more help than it shows. I don't think they really advertise as much as they give away, obviously, then everyone would be applying to it. But I feel like for those who actually need it, it's really good for, you know, just the security of having enough money, being able to like go by because obviously a lot of people don't. I think university just is really shut down by a lot of people because of the financial aspect of it. You know, I especially myself, I was like, I don't, I can't afford to go to university, that's much money. And then, you know, I looked into it and they were like, you know, you have to pay it back. You pay back in little bits. Like people I've spoken to who have been to university before, obviously it was much before this time, you know, much different amounts of money and what you pay back and what you don't. But you know, you have to earn over a certain amount. You only pay it back like bit by bit. It comes out naturally in your wages. And then I think I think I just felt like, oh, it's all going to have to come out of everything. I'm not be able to actually live, I'm just gonna have to pay this back immediately and feel the weight of it. [00:20:51] Speaker 3 And that's the thing that again, people don't really tell you unless you're researching yourself. But then the research can be really overwhelming. So like you said, when you graduate university, you don't have to start paying back your student loan until the April after you graduate. So you've already got that one year extra breathing space. And then on top of that, if you're currently at university, you don't have to start repaying anything back until you're earning over £27,295. So again, when I left university, I wasn't even on that income, so I didn't have to pay my student loan back for like two years. So again, that gives you that actually breathing space. So again, reading up the rules and the conditions in terms of what your loan is, because it's very different from like a bank loan where your bank loan you start paying interest the minute you start taking it out. So again, it's really important to remember that, you know, it's not just this upfront, upfront sum that you have to just cough up. [00:21:38] Speaker 2 That's why I think I feel like it's really it's kind of it's reassuring again, like you have time. I feel like when when when I was in sixth form, I don't know about you with college, I haven't really spoke about it much with you. It was more serious. They were like, you know, once you do this, you have to pay this back, then you have to do this. But they didn't it wasn't very lenient. I think now I'm in here. Now I'm experiencing it first hand. It's like, No, actually you do have time. You do have to pay it all back at once. You have got years to pay it back, you know, it will be fine. You'll pay it back bit by bit. [00:22:07] Speaker 1 And I feel like we also do need to touch on the subject that obviously the government are changing, you know like, [00:22:11] Speaker 3 Yeah, for sure. [00:22:12] Speaker 1 Like paying back and stuff. Yeah. I'm also kind of linking it back to what you were talking about with parents earlier. There's obviously the kind of miscommunication between I feel like sometimes because obviously our parents, a lot of them didn't even go to university for one. [00:22:29] Speaker 2 Yes. [00:22:31] Speaker 1 And then for seconds, everything was so much cheaper back then. [00:22:34] Speaker 3 Yeah. My mum went to uni for free. That's showing her age, I don't think she's going to like that. But she went to university for free. So again it does show like how much has changed. And like you mentioned, obviously university loans are changing sadly from September, so not drastically, but when you if you are looking to start university from September, the repayment when you finish university drops down to £25,000. [00:22:55] Speaker 1 And there's an extra ten years to pay it back as well isn't there. [00:22:57] Speaker 3 Yeah, exactly that. But again, I don't think that should be a reason to be put off university again, obviously it's still that graduate tax rather than just saying, you know, I've got to cough up £50,000 when I finish university. So you still do have some breathing space. But yeah, it is changing for September. [00:23:09] Speaker 2 Another thing with that is you've got to also think about the pros to going to university alongside them. I think I think financial is probably one of the only cons of university. Literally like you think this is a three or four, maybe even more years of your life because you're going to do a master's or whatever you know, you're going to have a completely new experience of life here. . [00:23:27] Speaker 1 And loads of people say it's like the best time of their life. [00:23:28] Speaker 2 Year. I'm having the best time. [00:23:30] Speaker 3 I'm jealous, because I went to university in Birmingham. So when I was stepping back here, walking on your campus I was like oh my gosh, yeah. And I've seen all the students with their rucksacks going to lectures, although I wasn't the best at lectures. But I just love but the, the just the feel of going back to university and it's just yeah. [00:23:45] Speaker 1 It's like, just like a whole new breath of fresh air. [00:23:48] Speaker 3 It is. I mean, you learn and you develop so much as well like Ola before university and Ola post University are two very different people and I think I wouldn't of developed in the way I was without university. [00:23:59] Speaker 2 So yeah it's worth the money as well. Yeah. That's what I'm trying to get to like it's just it's you know it may be scary and stuff, but like the experience and also you're getting a degree out of it as well, it's going to help you earn more money. So like paying it back. If you go through this degree, you're going to automatically maybe even put higher like a higher entry level if you have the qualification that you need. [00:24:21] Speaker 1 Because you've got that backbone behind you don't you. [00:24:23] Speaker 2 Exactly. You've got the backbone of the education and the experience and you've done all this and all that. Your CV, you know, you might have done work experience too through the uni, it gives you way more opportunities and stuff like that as well. So I think rather than just focusing on the negative focusing on ohl I have to pay all this back, if you think about you're spending this money now, this is just an investment in your future like it's fine. It will figure itself out. [00:24:46] Speaker 3 We'll survive. And I mean, at the moment, if you're currently at university, it gets wiped off after 30 years. Yeah. If you're starting in September gets wiped off after 40 years. So, you know, worst case scenario, if you never repay it back, then it will get wiped off at some point. Which a lot of debts elsewhere will never happen. So again, that's another bit of leniency that we do have as students. [00:25:06] Speaker 2 Yeah, exactly. I think I'm a bit of a procrastinator, but I think I can procrastinate that much. I think I'd rather pay it back. Sometimes it gets a bit too much. [00:25:13] Speaker 3 Just graduate and never earn over 26,000, so you never have to pay back. [00:25:16] Speaker 2 I know I can't take the promotion. Sorry. I don't want to actually spend more than this amount of money. Now. I feel like once again. But I don't think you even realise. [00:25:23] Speaker 3 No. And yeah, it is very like small amounts. Don't get me wrong. It's not the best payments to have to be paying out, but it's just extra small tax that you are contributing, just like your contribution to your pension. No one is saying about, doesn't really say much about the pension, not many people moan about their tax, they have to pay their tax. So again, your like your student loan is just that actually little that you have to contribute as well. [00:25:43] Speaker 2 I feel like most people said that to me that you don't even realise. [00:25:46] Speaker 1 Like what, around £40 a month or something. [00:25:48] Speaker 3 Yeah, well, depending on your student loan, mine's quite high, but it's like 9% over anything you earn every year. So if anything over the threshold, which is the 27,000, we're talking about, anything 9% over that is then what you get your student loan on. So if you're only a £100 over the threshold, then you only pay 9% of £100, which is £9. My maths are not, not working today, so bad, but normally I'm good with my maths. But £9 if you're only over that threshold. So again it's all, it's all relative to your earnings. Yeah. [00:26:21] Speaker 2 It's pretty good. And we've actually got some questions here from students in the student room regarding finances and university. So we thought we'd go through some of these together, all three of us. So the first question is, I don't know where to start with budget, how much do you usually spend on food, transport, social activities per week. I feel like we've kind of gone over this before. We can go into specifics. Ethan do you want to start with like per week what we do. [00:26:42] Speaker 1 So I'll probably touch on the food and transport actually. So obviously I feel like if you are in a good position, say with flatmates and stuff, then you know, getting say, a big shop together from, you know, like Asda, Lidl, or that stuff is like will definitely bring the price down. You're not having to spend everything just for yourself. Yeah it's obviously like if you're just buying for yourself so you know, buy a pack of fresh fruit or something, you're going to have to eat that in like two days. [00:27:11] Speaker 2 And I think yeah [00:27:12] Speaker 1 and you eat the exact same meals. But like when there's all this options that you've got and you've got other like flatmates that will also be, say, eating that stuff. You actually can have like a breather and say you don't have to be having carbonara three times a day. [00:27:25] Speaker 2 It's crazy to think you're like, Well, how does it cost more for one person, but you can't buy a singular item. So I feel like per week it's just much better in getting as many of you as you can. We usually do it every Monday and all that. But yeah, I think it really helped a lot and social activities is quite good. I feel like we can talk about how we actually brushed upon student discount as well. I feel like that is really good. Yeah. Like we said, we go, we like do bowling or like go darts or do something [00:27:51] Speaker 1 We used to do karaoke actually. [00:27:52] Speaker 3 I do love, now that I'm back home, I love karaoke. [00:27:55] Speaker 2 It is good but that was free to get into obviously wasn't it. So that's like you know you've just got to really look around and especially here Birmingham there's so much stuff to do for free or cheap, you know, you can go across to Star City that's £5 bowling and like £10 for karaoke for the entire hour, a whole room to self, you know, it's like just the little things that you get to do are quite fun. So I'd say like budgeting, I'd definitely go look around first. Look round the city. See what there is, you'll figure it out. I mean, we didn't really figure out karaoke till about a month or two in. [00:28:23] Speaker 1 No, exactly. Because I. [00:28:24] Speaker 2 Like looking around. [00:28:25] Speaker 1 I just, like, searched online, like, things to do. And this bar came up and I was like ok. [00:28:30] Speaker 2 Like, and that was the best thing ever. We used to go every Tuesday night. I'm going to miss it so much. [00:28:34] Speaker 3 and that's the thing. And I think also to add to that, I think it's really important to remember when you are starting university, your financial situation is unique to you. So a lot of people always ask me like, how much should I be spending on this? It's all about one. How much are you bringing? Yeah, how much are you getting? And don't compare your situation to your friends because you know you're all on very different amounts. So it's really important to, again, work out your own budget rather than be like, Oh, I heard my friend pays this amount or, you know, so I think again, just remembering that, you know, your personal finance situation is really like personal to yourself. [00:29:06] Speaker 2 And many people get like different loans, so I get like a higher loan. At the start, I managed to like, blow my loan completely. I know I think I was like, Oh, I have the most money I've ever had in my life. Yeah. But then I soon realised, you know, I have to keep travelling to and from home. I don't live far luckily. But you know, even with like, like you say, like transport and stuff like that, it does actually add up. So I feel like budgeting and even like, you know, going back and into student banks and getting rail cards and stuff, that's really helped me. It's, it's, you know, when I travel to my friends university and stuff like that during the week or I want to just go home. Yeah it's much cheaper. [00:29:37] Speaker 1 I definitely feel like with transport like, you know, you do have to like lower your standards a bit like just because obviously, you know, you can't really be riding around in the, you know, this like lovely Uber or something getting five star service like with such like a lovely smell when you step in like, yeah. [00:29:53] Speaker 3 They exist anyway? [00:29:54] Speaker 1 Like you just have to just, you know, get down yourself onto that train like. If you have to stand up. So what? You're saying about like, you can be saving 80% of the price. [00:30:03] Speaker 3 And if you get like even if you do like splitting your train journey as well, can make it a bit cheaper or like the longer train. So I lived in London, so I'd always get the two and a half hour trade saved me like I saved so much more money. Well, no, I've got that money I'm like an hour and a half train? Get me on there. [00:30:20] Speaker 2 Oh, yeah, I think I do that because at the start we took we'd take Ubers everywhere. We'd get Ubers to the city centre. It's a 15 minute walk. Now, since I've been at uni, I'm like, you know, I can't afford it. I'm taking a walk. Yeah, it's £11. I can't do that. [00:30:32] Speaker 1 And also, with public transport, it's a lot easier to like, say, even do work when you're like, you know, on the train or something because and you know, that's just gives you time to do your uni work on it. So it's like, say you're going down to see your friend like you did in Brighton the other week and it's like, you know, you took the train down the whole way. You can be doing work that whole time. Yeah. [00:30:51] Speaker 2 Luckily I'd finished uni by then because I would have been pretty bored by the time I got to Brighton. But yeah, no, exactly. I think it's a good it's a really good point. Like, especially with money though, it's like with rail cards, especially because that's the only one I really get. But I think it really takes down the price a lot. Only cost me £2 to get home. [00:31:06] Speaker 3 Yeah, well I actually need to give you guys an extra tip and those of you listening, you need to download, well you need start using cashback apps as well. So cashback apps are great because they give you money back, which is using like purchasing things you would have anyway. So I personally use Topcashback and Trainline is what I used to book my train tickets and on top cashback trainline exists. So for every train journey I book through topcashback I get like 7%. I think back? [00:31:32] Speaker 1 and it actually works? [00:31:34] Speaker 2 I always think they're pop ups, I get really scared cos after my Asda shop they are like get cashback and I'm like I don't want to touch it. [00:31:40] Speaker 3 The only ones I would personally recommend the ones I've used are Topcashback and Quidco. And then there's also an app called Cheddar. So cheddar as well will connect to your bank account. And they also have trainline on there. They have TFL on there. So again, you get like 1% on your shopping, which. [00:31:55] Speaker 2 Doesn't sound like a lot, but then once it adds up, Yeah. [00:31:57] Speaker 2 If it's your regular routine, yeah then at the end of the month. You can. [00:32:01] Speaker 3 Yeah. For sure. [00:32:02] Speaker 2 grab yourself a Tesco meal deal. [00:32:04] Speaker 2 Your favourite meal of the week. [00:32:06] Speaker 2 Exactly. [00:32:06] Speaker 2 But yeah, I think that's really helpful on like terms of what to do per week. So you don't want to you don't have to sit in university and do nothing all day. You want to actually be able to experience. And I feel like with like questions like these, be able to answer them is really helpful for like those kind of students who are worried about that. But yeah, another question. What's the best way to speak to my university if I'm finding finances hard at the moment. I'm a bit embarrassed to ask about money or help from my family and I'm unsure what I'm even able to get. Um, well, I'd say about that I wasn't embarrassed to ask my family for money I was like, Guys, you love me, I'm your favourite. But like, once it started racking up and I started actually getting into university. I feel like I was like I don't want to actually ask because I'm not living with them. I never see them. It just feels like I'm using them for money. So I completely understand where this person's like coming from. [00:32:59] Speaker 2 I think like problems with money. That's like such a common problem. Yeah. Like, yeah, the people that, like, are in the problem, they don't want to admit that, like they are stuck in it, but it's like when you really realise that like literally loads of people are in the exact same position, but they're just all too kind of like nervous to speak up about and a bit too kind of like in a way, scared. [00:33:20] Speaker 3 Yeah, Yeah. [00:33:21] Speaker 2 I feel like with my family we were always really open, so like that's been really good for me. But I know that many people, like, won't even ask their parents for like anything or they are too afraid to talk. I thought that we spoke about that earlier, didn't we? You know, being open and being honest about that. Luckily, I have a good support system around me, but I know many people don't and I feel the best way to speak to your university is just email, you know. [00:33:43] Speaker 3 And be a be honest and like, you know, speak to your like tutors or if you don't feel comfortable talking to your personal tutor, then speaking to like wellbeing services at universities, they are great services that universities offer. So just having that conversation cause I think it all starts with that conversation when you start and you start talking about money, you start to talk about your situation, nine out of ten times, you realise it's not as bad as what you think is when you're literally keeping it inside. I think, yeah, speaking to your personal tutors and wellbeing support services are really important. [00:34:12] Speaker 3 We do have student support advisors, don't we have like a really good team at BCU. You know, we've had loads of workshops coming in, and we always get emails like, you know, if anyone needs any help like please tell us why and we can help with grants. I remember we got one actually after the last student finance came through. You know, we understand you're not going to get student finance now until October and we understand a lot of you might be struggling, might be scared. So like here's something to apply to, here's a scheme to apply to if you do feel like you need extra money, or you do need help. So I feel like with this university specifically, they have been really on top of it, obviously I can't speak on behalf of any other university. I don't go to any, but now I feel like they've given us a lot of help, which has really been comforting in a way, yeah. And then like there's a last question now. Ethan, you wanna ask the last question? [00:34:56] Speaker 1 Okay. So this person said, I've never been good at saving money. So what are some tips for how I can start saving? Is it possible to become a good saver if you aren't great with money? 100%. Yes. [00:35:06] Speaker 3 Yeah. 100% [00:35:06] Speaker 1 As you touched on earlier, you know, like these budgeting apps and also like the cash back apps that you just mentioned. Like all of them will slowly help you progress into like someone that can start to like, be good at saving money and you're like, actually, I have money. [00:35:22] Speaker 2 I think it's a habit that you need to develop into, isn't it? Like, you know, sometimes you think, Oh, I can't do that, I can't do that. But I feel like you have to kind of have the mindset, No, I will be able to do it. And once you start getting into the habit of it, it will just become natural and. [00:35:33] Speaker 1 It's like it's obviously going to take time. You're not just going to wake up one morning. [00:35:36] Speaker 3 And be like a saver and you know, saving $10,000 every day. But I think it all comes down to starting with that budget. So if you are someone that isn't necessarily great with money, great money means a whole host of things. But if you do believe that you're maybe not great with it, then starting with that budget and having that financial plan is important, it will allow you to see how much can you actually afford to save because I know so many people are like, I want to save money. It's like, do you know how much you can afford to save? And most people like, no. So it all starts with that budget. It's again, you know, that 50, 30, 20 method, for example, allows you to see, oh, actually I can afford 20% or maybe if it's not 20%, maybe 5% of my income every month, or even if it's just £50 a month. Again, having that plan is really important because without it, you know, it's easy to say I want to be a saver. But you don't know how much you're going to save. [00:36:19] Speaker 2 Well that's the thing. [00:36:20] Speaker 2 It's really hard. [00:36:20] Speaker 2 I feel like starting small as well is really good. I, I remember, like say I was going on a trip somewhere, but you know what? I need to actually save some money for that. So maybe rather than things that you need to save for, maybe start simple things that you want to save for. because I feel like when you need to sort of do something, I don't know about you guys, it's like, you know, when someone tells you to do something. No, I don't want to do it. Your mom would tell you to do the washing, well I was going to do it but now that you've told me I don't want to do it. Yeah, that's how I feel with money. I'm like, Well, if I need to save, I don't want to save it. But I feel like if you start small, start with what you want to save, then generally. [00:36:50] Speaker 2 It will slowly progress you into the habit. [00:36:51] Speaker 2 Yeah. And also, like if you just randomly, you know, sometimes you forget about it. I always forget. And I go, Oh, you feel like you got extra money. You haven't. You've been saving, you know. Oh, wow. Cause I feel like with your bank account because you always like tapping away orders and you didn't realise, Oh, actually, there is much more money in there than you think. And then when you put it separately, you're like oh, actually, I've got this much to spend that's quite a bit. You know, I think it changes your perspective on like, on money and how to spend stuff and like, you know, I'm not good at money, I'll be honest, I'm not the best. But, you know, I think it's really been helping me to budget some stuff or put stuff away because now I have to but I started when I wanted to do stuff. So I feel like it's much better now that I am able to budget. I'm not pro, definitely not. But I'm definitely gonna use some of those cash back apps as well. Yeah, I feel like, you know, just even starting small was really good for me. [00:37:42] Speaker 2 So unfortunately, that's all we have time for today. Ola thank you so much for coming in. Can you just remind us all about, you know, about where we can find you, what you do. [00:37:50] Speaker 2 Yeah, of course. So you can find me across every single social media platform @allthingsmoney Underscore, I've also got a podcast as well, which is called the All Things Money podcast, where you can listen to that pretty much everywhere from Spotify to Google podcasts and yeah, cover a wide range of topics like what we talked about today with university finances, saving, investing, credit cards and everything else in between. [00:38:10] Speaker 2 That's perfect. Yes, that's brilliant. So that's all we have time for today as we said. If you'd like to send your questions in for next time, go ahead onto BCU's social media and we'll answer it in our future episodes. If you are looking for any practical guides as well, you know, any tips and tricks, head over to the BCU website there's everything from studying tips to financial budgeting guides and it's good to have a look before you start university as well. So yeah, see you later. Okay. Thank you.