STUDENT FINANCE: HOW TO SURVIVE ON A SHOESTRING BUDGET

Do:

Apply for Access funds. Don't worry if you think you may not meet the required level - some of the poorest people I knew at university received a fortune.

Accept the inevitable - get a part-time job.

Make friends with bouncers. You will save astonishing sums of money on door fees.

Befriend someone with a car. This is obvious.

If possible, blackmail your bank manager. This may sound improbable, but a friend's chance encounter with hers at a night spot he ought not have been frequenting resolved her overdraft difficulties permanently.

Bother to clean the house properly when you vacate it. The slightest hint of Blu-tac and you will never see your deposit again.

Learn to cook. It is inescapable.

Buy a bicycle. This may not sound glamorous - and it isn't - but it will save you both a fortune and a beer belly.

Milk your 21st birthday for everything it's worth. This includes sending the occasional chatty letter to long-forgotten relatives, some time in advance.

Borrow money from your boyfriend/ girlfriend.

Don't:

Lend money to your boyfriend/girlfriend.

Take that bargain flat in the dodgy part of town. When you've been burgled twice in your first weekend, and discovered your post code is uninsurable, it will not look like such a bargain.

Rent a house with rich friends. You will find strange notions of what a "reasonable" phone bill looks like.

Be panicked into signing for a house in May. You will spend a fortune on retainer rent all summer; friends will turn up the day before term starts and snap up somewhere brilliant.

Resist a student loan on political principle. It is a waste of time.

Buy a bargain travel pass from an obscure bus company. When you've waited in the rain for two hours for one of their rare and elusive number to come by, you will see why.

Bitterly envy the wealth of your trust-funded friends. Exploit it instead.

Piss off your parents. You need them.

Bank on inheritance. I know at least two students who based their entire financial plan on elderly relative's estimated times of death and value of inheritance. To date, both still have complete sets of grandparents and terrifying debts. Decca Aitkenhead

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