A student confesses

Banks ... budgeting ... benefits. Our guide to making the most of your money at university and, on page 13, as a new graduate
"Inter-Railing in the Summer before college had not proved to be the budget travel experience that its image suggested. I opened my student account with about pounds 15.

"People laugh at the gimmicks the banks offer students, but in a matter of minutes my savings were doubled! I opened accounts at lots of banks for the incentives, but they want you to put your grant cheque in before they give you the money.

"So I told most of the banks that I wasn't getting a grant, just a parental contribution, and got the freebies by depositing my grant cheque with one bank and then effectively shifting it around the others by writing a new cheque for that amount. I also got a couple of interest-free overdrafts. But when I stopped putting money in one account, the bank withdrew the overdraft.

"A friend has just got a job in advertising, and when he told the bank he started getting letters from a "personal banking manager" rather than the "lending officer", and they even offered to increase his overdraft. I'm thinking about telling my bank the same."