Moving out of the family home where your parents are on hand to help you stay financially afloat can be quite difficult to adjust to. Fresh into halls or rented accommodation you’ll find your student loan needs to last you three months at a time, which can often seem like a stretch. Making your money last, or making the most out of your money can be daunting and you may find yourself asking how you’ll ever manage. Luckily for you, we’ve listed our top ten tips for saving money at university! Coming from a student’s point of view, we know our tips are 100% reliable and will help you survive each term!
- Take advantage of student discounts
With numerous discounts available to students it can be overwhelming to choose which is best. Some discounts will only be available at a small cost, whereas others will come for free. We recommend uni-days, a free service with discounts as big as 50% for both online and in-store shopping and NUS, which costs a small £12 but offers savings up to 50% on food, fashion, lifestyle, entertainment, music, health and fitness and travel. Many retailers will also accept your university student card – so make sure you always have it on hand and don’t be afraid to ask at the till if they offer student discount!
- Plan your meals a week in advance
For the first 18 years or so of your life, there’s a chance you’ve had a parent there to do your food shopping and cook your meals and so the cost and importance of planning in advance may not have been something you’ve thought about. From the get-go you’ll start to realise the cost of those weekly food shops and how, if you don’t plan ahead, quite often you’ll find yourself spending more than necessary. Planning your meals a week in advance will not only help you stick to a budget and stop you overspending, but it’ll ensure you have food in the cupboards all week, reducing those worries if you’ve spent too much on a night out!
- Utilise student nights
We all know how expensive nights out can be and how daunting it often is to check the bank the morning after, which is why we recommend saving money by utilising those student nights out. Depending on where you study, there will be an allocated student night, where the price of drinks will be reduced (think £1 for a jagerbomb!) and we thoroughly recommend taking advantage of these for a great, but cheap night out with your newly found friends!
- Budget your outgoing spending
Phone bills, travel expenses, rent, gym costs and food all start to add up once you’ve moved into halls and so it’s important to consider what you really need and what is a luxury. Netflix is great and all, but how else could you benefit from that extra £5 a month? Make a note of all of your essentials (food, rent, water and electricity if applicable) and list at the side the luxuries (gym, Netflix, Spotify, phone). Once you know exactly how much your essentials add up to, you can see what is left in your monthly budget for any additional spending.
- Consider reducing your bills
Whilst budgeting your outgoing spending each month it may become apparent that you can’t afford your phone bill, car insurance and gym membership fee on top of everything else. As a student there are ways that you can reduce the cost of these by switching providers. Swap your monthly phone bill with unlimited data and minutes to a lower allowance, take advantage of a lower gym rate with your university gym rather than private company and consider cancelling your car insurance whilst you aren’t using your car.
- Travel cheap
Similar to student discounts, there are discounts including the 16-25 railcard and specific bus cards that are available for those using transport each day. The national rail 16-25 card offers 30% off of rail costs (great for those commuting) and bus cards also offer a reduced fee! Another great way to save money is to walk – which sounds a bit obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many will rely on a uber to get them from A to B when running late or drunk!
- Live at home
Living at home may not be something that you’ve considered but if you live close enough to commute to university on your timetabled days, you could save yourself thousands of pounds. You may think that if you live at home you’ll miss out on all of the fun, socials and clubs, but by making friends with people on your course, you’ll find you are still invited out and given the chance to stay at their place for the night!
- Get a part time job
A part time job will offer some additional income on top of your student finance, without actually reducing how much loan you are entitled to. Something as simple as a Saturday job in the local supermarket would be sufficient. If you already work at home, many workplaces will offer a university transfer, which will see you with a job at university during term time and one whilst at home during holiday periods.
- Use the library
Again, another no brainer, you can save money by visiting your university library instead of purchasing books from your reading list. With the ability to hire a book for an extended amount of time whilst you get those assignments done, not only will you save money on books, but you’ll also have access to free Wi-Fi and computers. This in turn can reduce your budget (see number 4).
- Use comparison sites
There are a number of comparison sites available on the internet which offer an insight into how much you could save if you shop at different supermarkets and retailers. Taking advantage of these sites would help any student to plan their weekly food shopping budget and would present you with helpful tips on where to shop and how to get the most out of your money!
Equipped with our handy ten tips, you’ll be off to a great start as a savvy student this year!
Written by Rebekah Litherland