Tips, advice and information to help with the cost-of-living challenges
The UK is currently experiencing a high rise in the cost of living with prices increasing for the items and utilities we all need to manage our day to day lives. This includes higher costs for food, gas and electricity amongst other things. Below are some tips, advice and information to help you manage your money the best you can and take advantage of where costs may be able to be reduced.
We have highlighted the most relevant support that you can access both at Newman and externally, as well as practical suggestions for making your money go further.
What support is available at Newman?
- Wellbeing: Financial Advice
- Newman University Support Fund
- Digital Supermarket Vouchers
- Free breakfast and a subsidised hot meal available for all students and staff
- Community Pantry
- Warm places to study
- Free sanitary products
- Sports and Fitness Centre
What support is available externally?
- Welfare benefits
- Utility bills
- Food Costs
- External Crisis Support
- Student Discounts
- Part-time employment
What support is available at Newman?
Wellbeing: Financial Advice
The Welfare Advisor within Student Support is here to offer advice and guidance on a variety of financial matters to students. The Welfare Adviser is available throughout the year to provide guidance and assistance on a range of money matters including Student Finance, welfare benefit entitlements, budgeting, dealing with debt and advice on accessing hardship funds. You can make an appointment with our Welfare Adviser by emailing email@example.com
Blackbullion – financial wellbeing platform
Newman have partnered with Blackbullion the financial wellbeing platform for students. This means you can sign up to the platform for free. the platform is full of practical financial education and additional sources of funding to help you:
- Develop your money skills and confidence
- Maximise your opportunities
- Start growing your financial wellbeing
The learning covers 80+ personal finance topics you’ll also find tools to help with your money, like a budget calculator and student loan repayment estimator . Blackbullion can also help you find additional funding in the form of scholarships, bursaries and other funds that you might be eligible for, head over to the Funds section to see what you might be eligible for and apply. We hope you’ll find the Blackbullion platform useful for improving your financial wellbeing.
Newman University Support Fund
If you are experiencing financial hardship, you may be eligible for a grant through the Newman University Support Fund. The Support Fund can provide assistance towards the cost of studying such as living costs or course related costs such as childcare, travel and books. You can apply online via the Intranet’s Newman University Support Fund page.
Digital Supermarket Vouchers
Student Support have a limited number of supermarket vouchers available if you are experiencing a short-term financial crisis and are struggling to pay for essential items and feed yourself. Please contact our Welfare Advisor by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
Free breakfast and a subsidised hot meal available for all students and staff
Get your day off to a good start with a free breakfast in the Aquinas room. The university recognises that the cost-of-living crisis is making life harder for many people, particularly as food bills are increasing.
To support all students and staff a self-serve free breakfast in the Aquinas room will be available from 8.00 am each weekday. Tea and coffee are available together with bread for toast and porridge oats.
A subsidised lunch costing £2.00 will be available in Sanctuary from 2.00pm – 4.00pm. The meal needs to be eaten on campus as this is not a ‘take out’ service, come along and sample the daily offer.
There is a community pantry available within the Aquinas Room for use by both staff and students. The pantry has a stock of pre-packaged food and toiletries available to anyone in the Newman Community who is in need.
Warm places to study
There are plenty of places to study on campus in the warm this winter, including our Library which is open from 7.30am to midnight each day.
You can also use any of the study spaces to charge electrical items such as your phone and laptop, to save on energy bills at home.
Free sanitary products
Newman Students Union are continuing to provide free sanitary products for all students and staff. The products can be in the toilets listed below.
- Both Atrium Gender Neutral toilets (by reception)
- Atrium Accessible toilet (by reception)
- Women’s toilets, lower atrium (by the security office)
- Floor 1 & 1 toilet on floor 2 of the library
- Women’s toilets in the sports centre
- Women’s Toilets by the Sanctuary
- Accessible Toilet by the Sanctuary
Sports and Fitness Centre
We know that lots of social and recreation activities cost money, so students who live in Newman University Halls of Residence receive free membership to the Newman University Sports and Fitness Centre. Newman students who do not live on campus can enjoy discounted membership rates of the Fitness Suite for £15 per month.
What support is available externally?
Benefit regulations are complicated and only a few groups of full-time students can claim benefits. For example, people with children and people with a disability (if in receipt of certain disability benefits). Our Welfare Adviser can advise you about benefit entitlements, how to claim and how your student loan income may impact your entitlement.
Have a look through the online guides below for more information and guidance
- Full time students and benefits – Turn2us
- Disability Benefits and Students| Disability Rights UK
- Universal Credit and students – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- What benefits can I claim when I’m pregnant or have a baby? | MoneyHelper
External Crisis Support
Birmingham’s Local Welfare Provision (LWP) scheme helps vulnerable people in short-term crisis with food and essential items, including help with topping up pre-payment fuel meters.
Sandwell’s Local Welfare Provision Scheme can support eligible people who have a crisis and don’t have the resources to deal with it.
There are several steps you can take to spend less money on utility bills.
If you are living in private accommodation, make sure you know how you will receive the Government £400 energy bills discount available to help households this winter. This also applies to students and other tenants renting properties with domestic electricity contracts from landlords where fixed energy costs are included in their rental charges. In these circumstances, landlords who resell energy to their tenants should pass the discounted payments on appropriately, in line with Ofgem rules to protect tenants.
- Unplug ‘energy vampires’ – these are appliances and technology equipment that drain electricity when they are not being used. Anything left on standby is probably using energy you don’t need to use – for example chargers, laptops, games consoles, the kettle, televisions and more. Switching off the plugs or unplugging items could save you a considerable amount of money. You can find out more about energy vampires here.
- Avoid electric heaters if you can – they are one of the most expensive forms of heating. The cheaper way to heat your home is by ensuring your landlord has provided and maintained an efficient gas central heating system with timers and thermostats.
- Only using the heating when you need it is recommended as it saves both money and energy. Utilise the timer and reflect your household heating needs – it you are not going to be in for a long periods consider when the best time is to have the heating on.
- Ask your landlord to look at ensuring the house is as draught free as possible – for example looking at doors, windows, floorboards and skirting and fireplaces. Draught proofing strips or silicone filled can be used by your landlord to help seal up areas where heat or energy is escaping.
- It is recommended that you turn off lights when you leave a room and to be mindful of how many lights you have on in the house at any one time.
- Keep doors closed for rooms you don’t heat; closing doors keeps the convection current in a room and stops cold air entering.
- Consider whether you can turn your thermostat down – but not to a temperature that is too cold. The ideal room temperature is between 18°C and 21°C.
Check out the links below for more useful tips on saving energy and for information on other support available with your energy bills.
- Top tips to reduce your energy bills – from Which!
- Quick tips to save energy – from the Energy Saving Trust.
- Home energy tips – from the Energy Saving Trust.
- Support with your energy bills – from the British Gas Energy Trust.
- Water saving tips – from Ofwat.
- Prepayment Meter advice – If you have a prepayment meter you can get temporary credit if you can’t afford to top up your meter.
- Plan your meals in advance so you are shopping in bulk once a week and be strict with your shopping list, so you’re not tempted into buying items you don’t need.
- Aim to buy supermarket or value brands which are cheaper than brand named goods and taste as good – if not better.
- Look out for special offers on food or household items such as 2 for 1 deals – just be careful to only buy what you need and not to buy something just because it seems a bargain.
- Lots of shops are removing ‘best before’ dates on products to reduce waste but do look at the ‘use by’ dates to ensure you have time to eat the product safely. Remember that best before dates are about quality whilst use by dates are about safety. You can read more about this from the Food Standards Agency.
- When you’re shopping look out for the reduced item shelves and know when stock prices are often reduced at the end of the day. Look out for odd, shaped vegetables too – they are often sold cheaper.
- Refresh your cooking skills, you can access nutritional but low-cost recipes at the links below.
- You can also use the Too Good to Go app many outlets use this to communicate about discounted food options. Olio is another similar app that you can use to find discounted food that would otherwise be thrown out.
- Incredible surplus is an organisation that intercepts food that would otherwise go to waste from supermarkets and retailers and passes the food onto individuals and community groups on a ‘pay as you feel basis’.
Other useful links
- NHS Eatwell guide.
- Eat well, spend less – food fact sheet from the British Diabetic Association.
- Supermarket shopping tips – from the Money Saving Expert.
- How to save money on your food budget – from Money Aware.
- 55 ways to save money on food – from Save the Student!
- Apply for a Totum cardfor discounts and offers on a wide range of top brands and local shops. MyUniDays and Student Beans are also great for online and instore discounts and cost nothing to use.
- Amazonand Spotify offer student discounts on all their annual and monthly plans
Public transport is a sustainable way to travel in Birmingham. As a student you can apply for a range of student bus tickets depending on your travel needs. If you live on campus, you may not need a term or Semester ticket.
If you are travelling by train then you can apply for a Student Railcard for 1/3 off rail fares throughout Great Britain.
We also support active travel and there are a number of walking and cycling routes up to the campus, where we have secure bike storage and showers.
One way to invest in yourself and meet your bills is to work part-time during term-time, and potentially full-time in the University holidays. As well as paying the bills, your work experience will help you develop your skills and learn more about what you want from work. For support with finding part-time employment, you can contact our Careers Service.