From freshers to third year, money and financial management is (unfortunately) still a problem for many university students. However, by following these saving tips, you will avoid having to call mum or dad asking for an extra tenner, and instead speak to them because you actually want to.
Best of all, you don’t have to give up (m)any creature comforts in order to budget well!
- Discount apps should be your best friend.
Who doesn’t love a bargain? Being a student is tough enough as it is without having to stress over not having enough to pay the bills or having to skip nights out. There are countless student apps that provide discounts. ‘UNiDAYS’ and ‘StudentBeans’ are popular apps which offer an abundant selection of deals aligning with all your wants and needs. Ranging from food and drink, technology, fashion, education, and so forth. Top apps from Spotify, Amazon, Apple, YouTube, and others provide discounts for students on a budget, varying from free delivery to low-cost music and video streaming (currently, these apps are offering half price subscriptions for students- THAT’S 50% OFF!)
- Sell unwanted items.
During your time at university, you will most likely accumulate a lot of clutter. Rather than throwing anything away, try selling your old clothes and textbooks online. You’d be shocked by how much money you can make by selling items you no longer need. Online selling forums are becoming more popular, it’s the perfect time to go through your belongings and streamline your living quarters. There are a plethora of sites available now where you can safely sell your items. If you’re selling locally on platforms such as Facebook Marketplace or online on sites like Depop, eBay, and Shpock, it can be a great avenue to get rid of stuff you don’t need while still putting money in your pocket. These sites are quick and simple to use and allow you to reach a wide audience. Above all else there are no subscription fees. So, you know what that means, no extra costs!
- Thrift/charity can be a treasure trove of good deals!
Shopping at charity stores can at times have a negative and unwarranted stigma, particularly amongst younger individuals. Purchasing second-hand items is not only financially beneficial but also great for the environment. University students are constantly bombarded with the stress and frustration of having to buy ridiculously expensive textbooks. Thrift/charity shops enable students to get the necessities at a fraction of the cost. The pressure of staying up to date regarding the latest fashion trends can be challenging, thrift stores offer fashionable items, some even being designer or well-known brands, this way you’re never missing out on updating your wardrobe.
- Buy food near best before dates.
According to the NHS: “Best before dates are about quality, not safety. When the date is passed, it doesn’t mean that the food will be harmful, but it might begin to lose its flavour and texture”. It is important to acknowledge the difference between best before and use by dates. Use by dates should not be ignored, as it is illegal for food outlets to sell products past their use by dates, not the best before dates. Supermarkets lower prices to entice customers, it’s a win-win situation- they reduce wastage, and you save on your food shop. Your freezer will become your soul mate. Bulk buy all your favourite foods and ready meals, from pizzas to chicken tikka masala (whatever tickles your fancy) and keep it frozen. This way your food lasts longer and you’re still seizing all the best deals.
Pre-drinking is to have drinks, usually alcoholic, before going out. The secret to an inexpensive night out is pre-drinks. Nights out can be very costly. Freshers’ week is designed for students to spend and student saving is all about avoiding excessive spending. Drinks in bars and nightclubs are expensive, but pre-drinking with friends allows all of you to split the cost, play drinking games, and as they say ‘get lit’ before going out. So, when you do go out no extra money needs to be spent. Without good ‘pre’s’ no night out is complete.
- Travel on a budget.
At university, travel can be a significant cost. On average, UK students spend £43 a month on travel, which equates to £516 a year (Which, 2021). It adds up to go home on weekends or visit friends in various cities. Where possible, carpool because it’s a great way to save money and split the bill, it provides the perfect opportunity to socialise with friends and have a good time, as well as the reduced carbon production. Alternatively, if travelling by train, get a 16-25 railcard to save a third on rail fares, which is especially useful when visiting relatives. Additionally, walk and cycle instead of taking other forms of transport (when possible) as it’s inexpensive. Not only that, but according to the Mental Health Foundation, physical exercise also boosts your stamina levels, self-esteem and helps relieve stress and anxiety. Not to mention you get the chance to see more of the world!
- All-inclusive accommodation.
All-inclusive accommodation refers to accommodation in which there is one agreed price/cost that includes all charges and services offered. This differs from other accommodation types where there is no fixed price and therefore costs can fluctuate month to month. Choosing all-inclusive housing to cover your expenses is an excellent way to save money and time. One cost for all your bills makes life a lot easier, since you know exactly how much you’re paying and what service you should be receiving. This eliminates arguments with housemates on whether to keep the heating on, and no more having to time your showers. This will help students budget more effectively.
- Student funding.
You’re missing out if your only plan for paying for university is a Student Loan and a sense of impending doom. Grants, scholarships, and bursaries provide a wealth of free money, but many students are unaware of them, don’t believe they are qualified, or just don’t bother applying. Student funding is a terrific way of receiving extra money that can be put to good use. Students from low-income families, those with disabilities, high academic grades, and elevated sporting capabilities can all receive financial aid.
- Part-time work.
With university fees rising, many students work part-time to help pay bills, buy books, and perhaps purchase a pint or two. Part-time means that students will still have time for their studies as well as extracurricular activities and get a taste of working life. When you start earning your own money, you become more conscious of how you spend your hard-earned money. Not only do part time jobs help you save for the future, but they also help you become financially conscious at a young age, which means you’ll have better budgeting and money management skills. It’s important to acknowledge and understand that being a student and working can make you vulnerable to being mistreated by employers. When applying for part-time work be realistic about your schedule and time commitments, research about the company’s ethos and employee reviews, which will help you decipher if the job offers a healthy, positive, and productive work environment. Remember to know your self-worth!
- Free extra tuition
Although free courses from the world’s best universities aren’t a substitute for the degree you’re already paying for, they do provide links to course material, book discussions, leading scholars, and additional reading. Hundreds of courses from Harvard, MIT, and Princeton are available on the edX website, and The Open University also has a large selection.
Follow these tips and you will be a top student saver!
“Do not save what is left after spending but spend what is left after saving”. ~ Warren Buffett