The Student Money Saver idea was started five years ago — during my first academic year at Manchester University.
For the first time in my life, I was managing my own money without any help — I found it challenging. There were lots of general money management websites offering online advice, but I couldn’t believe there was nothing out there specifically for students.
So I started a blog, writing money management articles myself and getting a good response from students. It was so popular that I decided to focus on building the website after university.
The site now has 150,000 subscribers across the UK and we broke even for the first time last month.
I have never really spent anything on marketing or promotions to increase awareness of the website. I tried spending a bit of money on it once, but it really wasn’t that great.
I think using social media is much more effective — that’s why we have a strong Facebook presence to grow our database. It’s cheap and effective and we also use it to have a laugh with subscribers.
We also team up with well-known brands to boost the business — that’s the way forward.
The website is a high-risk business and our revenue is dependant on online advertising so my strong team of six are constantly working on the site, offering quality advice and the best deals.
Our offers are targeted at students as they form 90 per cent of our subscribers.
The average student leaves university with £52,000 of debt, so we’re helping them to get to grips with money management. If they follow our advice, we could save them around £1000 per year. For the first time a lot of students are financially independent so they should be savvy and take advantage of the best deals out there.
Starting up the site was tough and it’s great to see it grow. I’ve always been entrepreneurial — even at JFS I was buying and selling goods from eBay. Now I’m focusing on the site but could myself in tech in the future.