There’s an App for That! Part 2

It’s the first day of Winter Well-being Week, with a number of resources, events and activities designed to promote self-care during the winter months.  This can also be a financially taxing time of year (no pun intended!), with heating costs, warmer clothing and the festive season stretching our budgets that little bit further.   As promised, here is a second helping of financial well-being from our resourceful and tech-savvy money mentors Claire and Stefanie as they review a number of money saving apps.  King’s is committed to supporting all students to make the most of their money.  If you missed Claim It Week last week, you can still check out this page of resources and don’t forget that the money mentors are here throughout the academic year to offer advice on budgeting, discounts and deals, with the Student Advice team available for more complex queries.  

 MONZO

Monzo is a bank that allows easy tracking of your expenses. It means it does require you to apply for a Monzo account. This usually requires you to queue, but here’s a fast-track link to get a Monzo card – http://www.savethestudent.org/student-deals/free-stuff/monzo-queue-jump-link.html.

There are many perks of using Monzo as it:

  • Gives you instant notification and tracks it on the app according to the different categories when you use your Monzo card. You can even add a receipt to your expenditure

Monzo1      Monzo2

  • Allows you to analyse what you spend on your expenditure
  • Freeze your card immediately from your phone if you lose your card
  • Send money instantly to others (as of now it is only to other Monzo members, but they are working to create a current account too!)

Monzo3

  • Top up your Monzo Card with a debit card

Handy tip! – load a certain amount into your Monzo Card per month and challenge yourself to only use your Monzo card for your purchases, forcing you to keep to your budget!

  • Use your card abroad – there are NO fees and you get the wholesale MasterCard exchange rate (meaning less stress on finding a money exchange)

It also tracks your spending when you’re abroad and gives you a summary of how much you spend when you get back to the UK!

monzo5  Monzo4

This card also allows you to withdraw cash at most cash machines for free like any other debit card. Additionally, the app can also be password protected making transactions safer.

There is also a Monzo Forum, where you can meet and ask questions to other users when you are in need of help.

BIG OVEN

Have you been in the situation when you are left with a lot of mix and match of ingredients and don’t know what to do with it? I certainly have. Rather than throwing it away or trying to randomly experiment (we have to owe up that some of us are just not cut out to be innovative culinary masters) and end up with inedible food, why not try using the Big Oven App!

Big Oven1    Big Oven 2

All you have to do is insert in the leftover ingredients that you have in your fridge/ cupboard, and it will recommend up a few recipes. OR you can even add in your own recipes into it, or browse through their numerous collection of student-friendly recipes to get inspiration from!

Afterall, waste not, want not right?

So these are 6 of our money saving apps tips! We can use anything around us – even our smart phones – to help us save money. If you have any other Money Saving App that you would like to share, don’t hesitate to contact us at money@kcl.ac.uk or our message FB page: King’s Money Advice! We would love to hear your input too so that we can share YOUR money hacks to our fellow students!

 

 

Claim It Week 2017: There’s an App for That!

This week is Claim It Week at King’s; helping you to stretch your money that little bit further by making sure you claim everything you’re entitled to.  In this spirit, our thrifty Student Money Mentors Claire and Stefani were only too happy to contribute to the blog this week, with a review of money saving apps for everything from the best supermarket deals to making the most of the leftovers in your fridge!  Check back this time next week for part 2. 

There’s an App for That

Apps, apps everywhere, click them here, click them there. On your phone, on the go, where they’ll stop, no one knows!

Modern technology has brought us contactless so we can pay with the tap of a card, or even Apple pay, where we can spend money with the tap of a phone! It seems that modern technology is out to get us to spend spend spend rather than save.

But, do not fear, some apps are designed to help us save a penny here and there.

We have filled up all the memory space on our phones with multiple apps and tested them, so you don’t have to:

1. MY SUPERMARKET

supermarketYou may have heard of the MySupermarket.com which compares the price groceries across different supermarkets, but you don’t really want to bring your laptop to Tesco with you while you are scanning the shelves. Luckily, they have developed an app!

If you create your weekly shopping list on your phone, they will immediately tell you which supermarket is cheapest and if there is a special offer going on. You can even scan barcodes in store and the app will tell you if it is cheaper somewhere else instead. Sneaky I know. It almost feels like cheating… But with less of the drama and more of the discounts.

2. OLIO

olio2This is a personal favourite of mine. It is an app whose aim is to reduce waste and enhance community spirit. Cafes who would usually throw away perfectly good food at the end of the day instead donate it to Olio volunteers who advertise it on the app. You can then collect the food at a time arranged between you and the volunteer, and thus reduce food waste.

There is also a non-food section where anything from sofas to candles are donated and you can agree to pick it up. If you are in need of something, you can post it on the ‘Wanted’ list and if someone else has that item, they can contact you.

3. HAPPIHOUR and DRINKI
DrinkiEvery hour is happy when you know you are getting a bargain so download these apps to maximise discounts. The former gives 50% discounts off food and the second *free* or half price drinks.
HappiHour is available at several cafes and restaurants and the deals vary depending on the day and time. Sometimes they will throw in a free meal if a new branch has joined the app, but mainly it is a buy-one-get-one free app.

Drinki2Drinki gives you a free drink if you share your location on social media to advertise the lucky venue and you can claim one every night. Again, check before you head out as the offers are valid at specific time on specific days, but if they don’t give you a free drink, they will usually give you an offer instead

4. SPENDING TRACKER

This is a budgeting app that allows you to input your expenditure and income daily. It also has a budget mode where it allows you to input how much you plan to spend and track how much you have left of that budget. There is the option of carrying over the unused budget to the following month. The expenditure portion is broken down into common categories (e.g. holidays, shopping, books, etc.) and it allows you to create your own categories.

The picture below  left shows the display of the accumulative balance (income and expenditure broken down to categories) and the balance per month. The picture below right is how to input an expense or income.

spending tracker1  spendingtracker2

It does require dedication and discipline, as you do have to input everything manually. However, it is very flexible, as it does not limit you to merely cash or card spending and you are able to change the dates of the transaction meaning if you forget to input expenditure from last week, you are still able to do so.

There is also a summary view of your current spending and it creates a report by charts of your income and expenditure, allowing easy visualization of where your money goes.

The picture on the left below is the overall summary of the month. The pictures on the right and below are more visual representations of expenses in a pie chart according to categories and a graph visualizing your cash flow across the different months.

spendingtracker4 spendingtracker5 apps graph

Another feature that would be worth pointing out is that the app can be password protected.

The Student Money Mentors are available on campus to give guidance on budgeting, discounts and deals to help you to get the most out of your money.  For more complex queries that require specialist and detailed advice, you can contact the Student Advice team for support. 

Sustainability Week – saving the pennies and the planet

This week is Sustainability Week at KCL and there are a whole host of activities designed to help us embed sustainability into our everyday lives; good for our financial well-being and helps to feel that we are giving something back, which in turn boosts our mood.  With that in mind, Student Money Mentor Claire is back again with some tips for saving the pennies whilst saving the planet! 

Sustainability

It’s not that easy being green, living every day the colour of the trees…. And the colour of a £5 note.

Sustainability and saving money go hand in hand, so in partnership with King’s Sustainability, here are some tips to help you and the environment.

 1Food

We all love it, but in the UK we throw away around 10 million tonnes of food every year. More than 50% of this comes from our homes but the solution to this problem is literally at our fingertips. Firstly, we can do simple things like not cooking excessive amounts of food in one go so we don’t have to throw it away in the evening. Or keeping those leftovers in a Tupperware box and bringing it into uni the next day – not only reducing waste, but also saving you from spending a fiver on your meal at lunchtime.  The SU spaces on campus have microwaves to heat your food up.

Website like https://www.lovefoodhatewaste.com/ are filled with ideas of what to do with left over bits and bobs in your fridge. Sometimes, though, freezing fresh veg or bread and saving it for a rainy day is the quickest and simplest option. Although don’t freeze and then defrost carrots – been there, done that…. It doesn’t end well…

2. Olio

olio

This is an app I have recently discovered and have fallen in love with. It also revolves around reducing waste and connect people in the local community. You set your location and it scans the nearby area for other Olio users. Users can post food and non-food items they want to get rid off, and if it tickles your fancy, you can arrange to pick it up. Similarly, if you have any unwanted goods, you can give them to someone who needs it rather than throwing it away – one man’s junk is another man’s gold.

 

Environmental awareness green stickers

 3. Upcycling

This is a nifty way to cut down on how much you throw away and save some money. If you are creative too and want to so some DIY, then this ticks all the boxes as you basically take something you are about to throw away and turn it into something else. There are useful websites online like http://www.upcyclethat.com/ or https://uk.pinterest.com/explore/upcycling/ to inspire you.

 If you want some more information about sustainable living and saving money, check out King’s sustainability week- you’ve still got a day and half before it ends tomorrow. There are lots of activities and talks, and even a Swap Shop where you can donate your unloved good and pick up something else in exchange. I hope to see you there!

A Cheap and Cheerful Christmas!

This time of year can really stretch the purse strings.  If you’re keeping an eye on your finances but looking to get into the festive spirit, look no further than this blog post from student Money Mentor Claire.

Cheap and Cheerful Christmas

You may be slightly scared by the holidays, and think that you need to start checking down the side of the sofa for any spare coins, as Christmas is always seen as a holiday which will stretch you thin. But it is time to change that misconception. Here are some easy ways to have fun in the festive season on a budget.

 Homemade gifts

Do not underestimate your creativity and artistic skills. Yes you may stick your hands together with PVA glue and spend ages peeling it off, but that is part of the fun. It is amazing how much you can do with ribbon and pompoms. You can find them from any arts and crafts shop and although glitter may be messy when you are making cards for your friends and family, the sparkle you add for the snow is quite breath-taking and far more personal than any card from WHSmith.crafternon

 

Some homemade cards, decorations and festive gifts from King’s Wellbeing’s recent crafternoon event in aid of mental health charity Mind.

 

 

If you are stuck on gift ideas, check out this website for a list of homemade presents and links to tutorials so you can do it yourself: https://www.buzzfeed.com/peggy/cheap-and-easy-last-minute-diy-gifts-theyll-actually-want?utm_term=.pjJv8n2z9#.xyMRLvwAy

If you are a baker, then now is your time to throw on the apron and oven mits.  Pintrest and other websites have a huge collection of recipes (https://uk.pinterest.com/explore/christmas-recipes/) but if you are ever in doubt, add cinnamon or nutmeg to whatever you are baking and it is bound to make the kitchen smell wonderful and festive.

Carolling

‘Tis the season to be jolly. Fa la la la la, la la la la. (I bet you sang that in your head didn’t you?)carollers

Well, why not try singing out loud? Christmas carolling is a long lost tradition which I feel should be brought back to life. Grab your mittens and woolly hats and go singing with your friends! It is a lovely way to spend the evening with your nearest and dearest. Belt your heart out (don’t worry, mulled wine can help if you are feeling a bit shy). It is Christmas after all – the season of joy and goodwill – so your neighbours are sure to smile and may even join in, or offer you a mince pie for your efforts.

 Christmas Dinner

Warning: Do NOT go shopping on Christmas eve or even two days before that. The queues are likely to be huge and people can get aggressive when you are both eyeing up the last turkey on the shelf.

Make a list and stock up. There are often great offers on mince pies and nibbles so keep your eyes peeled. Carrots, parsnips and brussel sprouts also become very cheap in the weeks leading up to Christmas so why not buy extra? Cook a lot on Christmas day and then freeze the leftovers. Or just keep the extra veg in the fridge for a week later. Check the packets and buy the ones with long best before dates.

If you are having a whole turkey or chicken, don’t throw away the bones! They make a lovely soup which will help you keep warm in the chilly evenings and you can even add those extra carrots you bought to squeeze in one of your five a day. (http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/moms_turkey_soup/)

Honestly though, after Christmas if when you get the real bargains. Supermarkets always overbuy and try to frantically get rid of stock in January so, even if you may be sick of figgy pudding at the moment, February blues is bound to make you go back to those Christmas cravings, so buy it while it is cheap and indulge in a post-Christmas pick-me-up!

Finally, I hate to be cheesy, but it is honestly true – Christmas isn’t about saving or spending money. It is about being with friends and family and creating priceless memories together. I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!’

Don’t forget that our Money Mentors are here all year round during term to give guidance on making the most of your money, whatever your budget.  For specialist and detailed advice on your financial options please contact the Student Advice team. 

A Merry Christmas on a Budget

Some words of wisdom from Money Mentor Claire on celebrating the festive season in style without spending a fortune.  Don’t forget too that next week is ‘Claim It! Week‘ raising awareness of student funding and discounts.  Comes in very handy at this time of year!

Halloween is Over, Now we can Talk About Christmas

It is nearly Christmas! Yay – lights, songs, presents! Sadly though, it is also nearly the end of your first term at university, which means your bank account is looking as sparse as the North Pole.

So what can you do to save money in the festive season? No one wants to be a complete miserly Scrooge, but here is my advice on how to have fun and be merry with only one glass of Mulled Wine.

 1. Lightslights

Bond Street, Regent Street and Oxford Street are all next to one another and their close proximity means they compete for who can dangle the brightest lights above our heads. It is a spectacular sight to see, and as the days get shorter, you don’t even have to wait too long in the evening before it is dark enough to enjoy them. Although the expensive shops lining the streets may not be free, the walks though London’s most iconic roads are, so grab a friend and light up their world.

carnaby 2. Shopping Events

We still have one month before we have to buy gifts and wrap them up with bows and ribbons, but if you are as indecisive as I am, then we had better start thinking about what to buy for our loved ones now. Thankfully, we can have some fun while doing it at Carnaby Street and Seven Dials. These are two lesser well known areas near Regent Street and Covent Garden, but they are packed with a huge variety of shops. What’s better, is that they have a Launch Street Party on the 12th and 17th of November respectively, where they will have live music and complimentary food and drink. Loads of shops will be offering discounts for that evening too (and I can almost guarantee there will be a photo booth) so go along to make stressful Christmas shopping more manageable.

https://www.carnaby.co.uk/news-and-events/your-free-carnaby-christmas-shopping-party-ticket/

https://www.sevendials.co.uk/events/seven-dials-christmas-2016/

 3. Skate at Somerset House 

We are King’s students, so going ice skating right next to campus in a stunning venue is asomerset house must. Plus, we can get student discount so the tickets are only £8.50 (although this is only valid at certain times – see the website link below for details).

There are also special events like Club Nights and the Pop-Up Fortnum & Mason shop next to the rink will make an avid coffee drinker like myself, turn to tea for the evening.

https://www.somersethouse.org.uk/whats-on/skate-somerset-house

Birthday Hacks: Happy birthday KCL Money Mentors!

It’s KCL Student Money Mentors’ first birthday!  For a year now, this dedicated group of financially savvy students has been on hand to help support the KCL student community, giving guidance on making their money go that bit further at uni. 

Following her top tips for freshers and to celebrate their one year anniversary, Money Mentor Claire is back with her take on a how to indulge yourself on your birthday without breaking the bank! The Money Mentors will also be about on all campuses next week for the annual Claim It campaign.

Thanks KCL Student Money Mentors and KCL Money Advice for all your hard work!

And if it’s your birthday today… have a good one!

Birthday Hacks

Happy Birthday! You are another year older, but despite all that wisdom which comes with your many years, you are still getting a grey hair or two when you think about your finances. Listen up, here are three gifts you can give yourself which will make your birthday even more special.

1. Krispy Kreme

I have started with the one you probably already know about, and if you don’t, have your eyes been glazed over for the past decade? (okay, bad pun)donut

Krispy Kreme will give you a free glazed doughnut on your birthday, and also for three friends/ family members when you add their birthdays to your profile (it is supposed to be your treat from you, to them, but I promise I won’t tell anyone if you accidentally eat it on the way home) Not only this, but when you sign up to the newsletter, you get another complimentary glazed doughnut – we are nearly at half a dozen now, and haven’t spent a penny!

2. Ed’s Easy Diner

American Fast Food Chains seem to be sneaking up everywhere, and getting more and more popular. You can’t say no to a thick, creamy, traditional American milkshake, even in the middle of winter, so I recommend you down to Ed’s diner. When you sign up their newsletter, you will receive a free burger (with purchase of a drink) for registering, and then a free milkshake of your choice on your birthday.

 bday cake3Konditor & Cook

I have saved my favourite one for last. I came across this by chance when I was walking through Borough Market, marvelling at the delicious food I would never be able to afford, when a spectacular cake caught my eye. As much as a showstopper as Tom’s cake in Botanical Week on the Great British Bake Off, I was drawn towards the window of Konditor & Cook, and it was there that I saw the card asking for my email address, persuading me to part with my personal information so I could get a free slice of cake on my birthday.

Now, if you have been lucky enough to try a cake from this sensational shop then you will understand that any other Mini Chocolate Brownie Bites are no comparison. It is certainly the sweetest loyalty scheme I have ever found.

(FYI – the nearest store to Guy’s Campus is at Borough Market, and the nearest one to Waterloo/Strand is just behind Waterloo train station. If anyone decides to go, let me know, and I will give you my card to stamp – if you buy 6 slices of cake your 7th is free. 😉 These people really ought to give me commission….)

And so I wish you many happy returns of the day. 😀

Close this blog, turn off the computer and go and celebrate your birthday in style. You never know, maybe someone slipped a £20 note into the envelope with the birthday card…

Fight The Fads – Embrace Frozen and Tinned Fruit and Veg

Healthy eating on a student budget isn’t always easy.  Fortunately, student dietitians Elisabeth, Caroline and Harriet aka Fight The Fads have first hand experience of finding ways to eat well without spending a fortune.  This month, they’re extolling the virtues of frozen and tinned fruit and veg!

Embrace Frozen and Tinned Fruit and Vegetables!

 Fruits and Vegetables are packed full of vitamins and minerals and all-important fibre to keep your gut healthy!

However as students on a bfrozen fruitudget, we all know fresh food is often the most expensive, and it can be tempting to cut back on these items to save money.

Although eating fresh, local produce soon after harvesting is ideal, research has found that there aren’t substantial differences in the nutrient content of tinned /frozen as opposed to fresh fruit and veg: great news for the health-conscious student!

Although certain water-soluble vitamins may be lost during the processing, the extent to which this occurs may be less than the losses occurred during cooking.

Often canned/tinned produce is processed straight after harvesting which prevents oxidation and therefore conserves the nutrient content.

 

Money-saving Tips for Thrifty Freshers

Following a fantastic Freshers’ Week, you’re now starting to get into the rhythm of uni life proper, balancing academic work, social commitments and day-to-day living.  This week, Money Mentor Claire is on hand to give her top tips for making the most of uni life, whilst looking after your money.

Top Tips for Fresher’s

So you have started Uni  – congrats! Welcome to the best years of your life.

As a third year student, I feel ancient by now, but there are a few things I wish I knew when I first started. Here are 4 tips to help you have fun, discover new things and get fit without breaking the bank.

1. Free Events

buzzBecause uni hasn’t properly started yet, and introduction lectures usually don’t fill their one hour timetabled slot, you may leave campus early with a loss of things to do. You end up going straight home as you think doing anything in London will be expensive. Think again. Websites like Londonist (http://londonist.com/) and London On The Inside (http://londontheinside.com/) have sections where they post, cheap and even free activities and events. They continuously update it so it is worth checking it out regularly to find ways to spice up your schedule.

 2. Apps

Lots of apps will reward you for doing very little: Harris & Hoole will give you a free coffee when you first download the app, Drinki will give you a free drink at certain bars with a check-in on Facebook, Happihour posts deals and sometimes a Flash Sale giveaway if you are lucky.

King’s Move is also perfect for King’s students. From free hot drinks to King’s clothing, you can easily stack up points by linking any sort of exercise to the app. Plus, rewards change throughout the year, so keep an eye open for new ones to re-motivate you.

 3Cheap Nights Out

After you buy a new outfit, new make up and a drink or two ready for your night out, the last thing you want to do is hand over another tenner to the guy at the door to buy a ticket – all of these things add up pretty quickly. My advice is to check for deals and discounts before you go. Often putting your name on the ‘cheap list’ on the Club Facebook Page, or going on their special ‘Student Nights’ can get you entry for half the price. Sometimes, you may even be allowed in for free if you dress up in line with the theme – do it! You may feel stupid at first, but convince a couple of friends to join you and it will be a laugh. Plus, it makes the night a lot more memorable and gives you a great story to tell in the future.

4Free Fitness

cat
So after a few late night pizzas, and 3am kebabs and cheesy chips, you are starting to feel a bit groggy. Do not despair! While joining a gym may seems like a large commitment, and you don’t want to fork out hundreds of pounds on a year’s membership you aren’t sure you will even use, there are alternatives.

The North Face holds free training sessions every Tuesday evening at 6.15pm at their store in Regent Street, where they provide all the equipment needed for strength training, and then take you for a jog to Hyde Park.

Sweaty Betty offers free classes at their stores, and classes encompass everything from Yoga to HIIT.

Also, watch out for new gym openings – often they will give you a free day, or weekend, or even whole week pass. Fitness First also lets you trial their gym for one day if you sign up online, and as far as I know, this offer runs all year around.

So go forth and have fun! Remember that you are only a Fresher once so embrace all opportunities.

(I would like to point out that I am in no way endorsed by any of the brands or apps mentioned above. I am only spreading the word based on my own experiences)

Student Support Spotlight: Making the Most of your Money!

Making the Most of your Money!

In our first post in the ‘Student Support Spotlight’ series, Student Money Advisor Rachel Glover outlines the Student Advice service in general, how she can help with money-related queries, and gives some thrifty tips for making your funds go further at uni!

You can also check out these videos on ‘Money Saving Tips’ and ‘London on a Budget’ for more helpful hints.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m28_MmpjZm0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KKf0m44P3P4

20160208145539_IMG_9029 (002)

Student Money Advisor Rachel Glover, along with some of our wonderful Money Mentors

Who are Student Advice and how can they help me?

The Student Advice Service provides information, advice and guidance to both prospective and current students at King’s College London. The team is made up of Specialist Advisors who can advise you on a range of issues including money, housing, immigration and welfare.

I am a Student Money Advisor and I can help with your questions regarding money matters such as funding, budgeting and how to best manage your money whilst at university.

How can I access this advice and support?

You can come along to one of our drop-ins and speak to an Advisor, no appointment needed! These are weekly & across all campuses. Take a look at our drop-in schedule:

http://www.kcl.ac.uk/campuslife/services/student-advice-support/StudentAdvicedrop-ins.aspx

Alternatively, you can complete an Online Enquiry Form:

www.kcl.ac.uk/campuslife/services/student-advice-support/contact.aspx

A member of the Advice team will then assist you with your enquiry based on your preferences. We offer appointments face to face, over the phone and even via Skype!

If you have a money-related enquiry you can email money@kcl.ac.uk and I will be happy to answer any money questions you might have.

What advice resources are available?

We have information on our web pages: http://www.kcl.ac.uk/campuslife/services/student-advice-support/how/index.aspx and a number of advice guides that can be downloaded. These vary from advice on banking, Council Tax and even how to do your laundry!

We also share relevant articles, information and money saving tips on our /kingsmoneyadvice Facebook page and @kingsadvice twitter account. Like and follow us now!

Our dedicated Money Mentors are a team of students that have been trained to help give you support with any money worries you might have whilst you are here. They will be out and about on our money campaigns throughout the year.

IMG_3195 (002)

What is the most important piece of advice you can give? 

I always say that budgeting is essential! A budget allows you to have some control over what you spend, plan for the future, keep a check on your income and outgoings and save a few pennies every month. Does maths make your head hurt? No fear, we have a number of resources that are here to help you with your budgeting. Start by watching the short video ‘How to make a budget’:

http://www.kcl.ac.uk/campuslife/services/student-advice-support/how/money/budget/managing.aspx

King’s have partnered up with blackbullion.com to give students access to essential online budgeting tools and financial tutorials. Use your King’s email address to register for free now!

Take a look at The Money Charity’s ‘Student Moneymanual’ which is an excellent resource packed full of money facts and information – definitely worth a read over a cup of tea:

http://themoneycharity.org.uk/media/SMM-PDF-2015-16.pdf

And finally, I am a big fan of car boot sales. They are brilliant for finding bargains such as ornaments for your room, but also great for useful things like kitchen equipment and stationary:

http://www.timeout.com/london/shopping/londons-best-car-boot-sales