Tag Archives: budget

Five top tips from a student on how to save money

MA Applied Linguistics and Communication student, Charlotte MacKechnie, shares money-saving tips to get the most out of your student loan or monthly budget whilst studying at Birkbeck.  

  1. UNiDAYS 

UNiDAYS is a free service that you can sign-up to using your student email address that ends in .ac.uk, at myunidays.com. After signing up to the website, you will have access to ongoing and limited discounts. My favourites include £10 off £75 at Ikea, discounted Pure Gym memberships, and a 6-month free Amazon Prime Student trial (then 50% off Amazon Prime).  

I love UNiDAYS because… you can use your UNiDAYS ID on your phone to access discounts in store. No more being caught out by not having your student card with you! 

  1. Tesco Clubcard 

This free loyalty card for the British supermarket, Tesco, allows you to unlock in-store and online discounts that are exclusively available for Clubcard members. Not only do you unlock deals, but you also collect points every time you shop; you can turn these points into Tesco vouchers, or you can put them towards rewards such as vouchers for Pizza Express, the RAC, and Disney+. Sign up at Tesco.com. 

I love Tesco Clubcard because… I love the scanning my Clubcard prior to paying in-store, so that I can see how much money I have saved! 

  1. Download Microsoft Office 365 – for free!

To download Microsoft’s entire Office suite for free, you’ll need to sign up using your .ac.uk student email address at Office.com. After logging in, you’ll be guided through downloading and installing the software, plus you’ll also get 1TB free OneDrive online storage. 

I love Microsoft Office 365 and OneDrive because… I can save all my files on OneDrive, and access them from any device! 

  1. Purchase a railcard and save a third on eligible fares

If you anticipate travelling whilst at university – perhaps visiting friends at other unis, or even going home – then I’d definitely recommend getting a railcard. I travelled 300 miles away to attend university, so I started saving after my first return trip home! If you go to thetrainline.com, their railcard finder will help you decide which railcard that is right for you – there’s a card for every age. Added tip: if you sign up to Student Beans, you receive an exclusive discount on student railcards. 

I love having a railcard because… it makes visiting family and friends more affordable! 

  1. Discover free counselling and listening services

University can be a stressful time, and we want you to know that there are free counselling and listening services out there. For example, Samaritans are there for you, 24 hours a day, to help you face whatever you are going through. Also, Birkbeck offer a free, non-judgemental and confidential counselling service, as part of their student well-being services offering.   

I love knowing about the free services available to me because… I know that I am supported! 

More information 




Examining the economy: Forecasting the Osborne’s summer budget

This post was contributed by Charles Shaw, 4th year BSc Financial Economics student, and member of the Birkbeck Economics & Finance Society

Emergency-budgetOn the 8th of July, the Chancellor of the Exchequer will announce his summer budget, and with it the next stage of cuts.

The latest official estimates indicate that the Government will announce an additional £30bn of austerity measures, with substantive cuts in FY 2016 and 2017, to stabilise in 2018 and rebound in 2019. Although the impact of such cuts will largely depend on how they are allocated across UK Government departments, the Chancellor has already signalled that £12bn of these cuts will come from welfare spending.

This should, if delivered, be sufficient to meet the George Osborne’s own key fiscal targets i.e. to have debt falling as a share of GDP in 2016-17 and to achieve a cyclically adjusted current balance in 2018-19 without having to resort to tax rises.

This trenchant commitment to eliminate the deficit by the end of the decade echoes the pledges made in the Conservative Party manifesto, which set out to “balance the books” and to have “the government taking in more than it is spending for the first time in 18 years.”


UK recovery

This is an ambitious task, considering other manifesto-related spending commitments, such as the doubling of the free childcare allowance, Dilnot reforms, extension of income tax breaks for those on minimum wage, and a freeze on VAT, income tax and NI contributions. An additional constraint is the subdued nature of the UK recovery, which so far has meant that growth in tax receipts has been slower than the UK Government anticipated when it set out its fiscal consolidation plans in 2010.

The current macroeconomic outlook is seemingly benign. Aggressive monetary policy has done its job of stimulating demand in the UK and, as tail risks fade, we can continue to expect growth around 2.5% at low inflation, supported by strong tailwinds of cheap oil and weak euro.

The situation in Europe

At the same time, the Chancellor must be keenly aware of the situation – both economic and political – in Europe. Despite the fact that relations between the United Kingdom, the EU and the City of London have become more fraught since 2008, much of the EU’s economic agenda overlaps with United Kingdom’s. What happens in Europe is and will continue to be vitally important to Britain’s economic interests.

We may bear witness to the fact that the moderate recovery in the Eurozone is ongoing, buoyed by the OMT programme, while QE, oil and the euro should continue to add momentum. The latest macroeconomic projections from the staff at the Eurosystem – the monetary authority that is made up of the ECB and the national central banks of the EU Member States whose currency is the euro – indicate that the euro area will see its annual real GDP increase by 1.5% in 2015, 1.9% in 2016 and 2.0% in 2017.


The global economy

So far so good? Not quite. Perhaps economists are by nature pessimistic, but one cannot escape from the fact that recent growth numbers for the global economy have been disappointing. The details of the growth figures should give pause for thought, too. Lost trend output is not regained, not least in developed economies; growth dynamics, in emerging markets and elsewhere, have dampened; ECB could have done much more to stabilise confidence and demand.

The fact that the UK has seen its growth rate shrink does not augur well for prospects of a full recovery. To make matters worse, it has become patently obvious that the lower crude price is less of a driving force for the global economy than had been previously anticipated. Perhaps, against this background of disappointment, the optimists should start to wonder whether a slowdown is under way.

Critics of the Chancellor’s plans say that the scale of the spending cuts set out in the previous Budget significantly exceeds what is required to meet the UK Government’s own fiscal targets. We shall need to wait and see if the summer budget heralds the return of animal spirits.

Find out more

About EFS: Birkbeck Economics & Finance Society promotes informed discussion of economic questions. We aim to be a source of educational and networking opportunities by providing access to high calibre speakers, industry intelligence and leading edge ideas. To become a member, to view the full list of events or to register for a talk please visit our society website at www.BirkbeckEFS.org