When students fly the nest for university, most parents will be dreaming of their ‘not-so-little’ kids flying away from their wallet too. But, as most know too well, the strings to the ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’ are even harder to sever than those of the apron. For university students, managing a budget for the first time can be tricky. With Freshers' Week partying, costs of living or funding of that all-important new wardrobe, this often results in a phone call back home for that “emergency” cash transfer.

And it can be pretty tough on parents when a £50 here and an odd £100 there will disappear without rhyme or reason; especially when it’s not clear whether you’re funding a dozen Jaeger Bombs or an electricity bill.

But supporting students with their efforts to save money and spend better is something that doesn’t have to be such hard work, with the help of useful pre-paid discount debit cards such as the new uniicard. The Visa-accredited card helps parents and students budget together more effectively by offering a quick and convenient method to track spending and get hassle-free rebates with retailers.  Crucially, there is no overdraft functionality, encouraging students to only spend within their means and not get sucked into further university debt.

Alan Cartwright of Cornwall was concerned that his frequent transfers would never teach his second year son how to budget: “Mark would ring me up every week during his first year of studying, asking for extra money. By the time the year was up, Mark was still struggling to budget and it was clear I had become more of a hindrance than a help with his finances.”

Great for managing money from parents, payment cards provide students with an ideal alternative to cash hand-outs or a credit or debit card, as money is transferred and tracked either online through the unique web portal or through the iOS phone app.

Sue Brown of South East London was also worried about her first year Bournemouth University teenager: “I knew that as Georgia would be left to manage her entire cost of living independently, she’d probably choose booze and taxi fares over food and bills. I didn’t want her to get caught out and was worried she’d end up either going hungry or in huge debt.”

Perfect for those that want more from their money, uniicard is unlike other standard prepaid cards as it provides financial benefits to students, including money back from everyday shopping like groceries and DVDs, to the bigger purchases like laptops or a holiday.

The uniicard also offers attractive reductions from major retailers to help student spending stretch even further; ranging from supermarkets to popular fashion and home stores such as River Island, WHSmith and Argos.

With Unii research revealing 61% of students use cash on a night out, what about those parents that want peace of mind that their support isn’t just going down the drain? Fortunately, the uniicard cannot be used for instant cash withdrawals. Purchases are instead made at in-store retail points or online, with a dedicated web portal and iOS app available to help students easily keep track of their spending – wherever they are.

And it’s not just the niceties of having a prepaid card with multiple benefits- it’s the long-term effects that a uniicard can also help with. Roy McLoughlin, Independent Financial Adviser for Master Adviser, has witnessed the implications that a lack of saving can result in: “Although bad student budgeting is common, many young people are failing to realise the impact that this can have after they have graduated.

A combination of overspending, additional overdraft facilities, a lack of awareness as to where your money has gone and what you’ve been spending can see students rack up thousands of pounds of extra debt. Being a fresh graduate can also mean this takes months or even years to completely clear, especially with interest costs to pay.”

Having a prepaid card, such as uniicard, can truly help students save money, budget more efficiently and avoid any additional money debts while at university.

Unii has created Uniicard with Grass Roots, a leading provider in prepaid cards with over 30 years experience in reward, loyalty and engagement solutions.  The uniicard is available here and can be purchased by any UK university student.