If you are about to start university, you already know that this can be a daunting time – it may be the first time that money management is thrust upon you. Financial planning is a skill that needs practice, and so as a result, a number of students run into financial problems during their time at university. This is avoidable if you work hard to make the most of your money.Here are our top five suggestions for ways to stretch your funds while you are studying at Uni.

1. Keep a kettle and microwave in your dorm room

If you are staying in student accommodation, you might have to share a communal kitchen (or maybe you even have your main meals provided). This kitchen space can often get crowded and busy, tempting you to forego cooking in lieu of a takeaway. Keeping a kettle and/ or microwave in your room will allow you to prepare simple meals (such as instant oatmeal, pot noodle or soup sachets) and cups of tea and coffee in the comfort of your own private space. These savings can really add up over time!

   2. Take advantage of student discounts

Many shops and businesses offer a student discount to those attending university, and this can range between 10% and 20% on average. Some businesses allow you to take advantage of this discount even on their sale selection, meaning that you can really get a great deal. When it comes to shopping for clothing, housewares and personal care items, these discounts can help to save you a bundle and will stretch your budget over the year.

   3. Trade a night in for a night out

Big nights out might feel like a right of passage, but you should definitely pick and choose the events that you attend. Nights out at the pub or nightclub can end up costing you a ton of cash, and a fun house party or a movie night can be just as fun but way cheaper.

   4. Do your meal prep for the week ahead

Meal prep strategies have the internet abuzz, with countless YouTube videos, Instagram photos and Snapchats detailing how you can save money and eat healthier by planning ahead. Preparing and storing a week’s worth of meals will save you a ton of money, and help you battle the dreaded “fresher’s fifteen.”

  5. Stay within your overdraft facility

If your bank account does not have a pre-arranged overdraft facility, or you breach your planned overdraft limit you could receive a nasty surprise. The Independent recently reported an investigation by Which? revealing high street banks could charge as much as £90 on £100 in unarranged overdraft borrowing charges. This can be a huge and unexpected drain of your resources. Don’t squander your money – stay within your pre-arranged overdraft facility if you have one, and sensibly plan your finances to consider a short term loan instead.