For many students, going to university is the first time they get to experience being financially independent. Whether through receiving student loans or working alongside their studies. It can be daunting to think that you are responsible for spending your money wisely and most importantly managing to make it last!
When student loans hit the bank, it can be tempting to go on a shopping spree, treat yourself to some new tech and take out meals. Students often live a life of luxury for the first few weeks until they come to the realisation that super noodles and beans on toast is all you really need.
In all the excitement it’s easy to forget about things such as text books, bus passes, and sometimes even rent! That’s why we’re giving you a helping hand, to make sure you have a fun all-round student experience and not feel bad when you do go ahead and buy that new pair of jeans.
1. Bargain Hunt
It’s time to find your inner David Dickinson (with a little less fake tan), and get those bargains in your trolley. Forget shopping at places like Sainsbury’s and Waitrose, and say hello to the trusted prices of Lidl and Aldi. Food shopping can prove to be a constant expense, but by using cheaper supermarkets, you’ll save a lot of money that can be used elsewhere (a flat takeaway perhaps?).
Don’t forget to have a look at the special offers and reduced sections in the more expensive supermarkets. Our top tip is to go at the end of the day and bargain hunt your way through the reduced items, and bag yourself some 15p potatoes and 29p coleslaw! Taking a trip to your local markets will also give you some bargaining power to stock up on your fresh foods at a reasonable price.
But of course, the bargain hunting doesn’t stop at food; if you’re in need of a new winter coat or those ripped jeans have become a little too ripped for trendy, then use these techniques on your wardrobe shop too. Using shopping outlets on sites such as ASOS, Amazon, and eBay can give you great style at a lower cost and not forgetting apps such as Depop. Shopping as a student doesn’t have to be expensive – time to get your haggle on!
2. Read All About It
You’ll be surprised at just how expensive your reading list can be. That’s why we’ve come up with a few solutions to help save those pennies.
Say hello to the saviour of most coursework problems: Google, in particular Google Books and Google Scholar. Use these online tools to find the books you need without having to raid bookshops and spend a fortune.
Have you thought about going to the library? Well, you should. Most university libraries are either open late or accessible 24 hours a day. There are hundreds of free books at your disposal, so what better way to save money than by taking advantage of the free materials on offer to you? Remember, if you’re borrowing books, to make sure you keep a note of when they’re due back – you don’t want to be fined, because that’s definitely not saving you money.
Our top tip is to speak to past students and look on your university buy-sell Facebook pages, because we can guarantee that students who’ve graduated will be wanting to sell their old books for cheap. Plus, you never know – you might get lucky and find some useful notes in them.
3. Fill Your Bags
There’s always something going on around campus, so make sure you keep your eyes peeled. Whether it’s a vintage clothing sale, or even society events, you’ll be able to fill your bags with lots of free (or cheap) goodies.
Stay up-to-date by following your Students’ Union on social media, because they’re always tweeting the latest happenings around your campus. Never miss an event and you’ll never miss the free pizza!
4. Make It Clear That You’re a Student
Being a student comes with its own financial perks too. You can get a discount on almost anything, that’s right, anything! Student travel passes, clothing discounts, food and drink offers, hair salons, and not forgetting those money-saving deals on technology. By keeping a close eye on the latest student offers, you’ll definitely be saving yourself some money.
Don’t forget the famous UNiDAYS to collect all your discount codes and your NUS card. Even if a student discount isn’t openly displayed, then don’t be shy to ask if they offer any student discounts, because more often than not they do.
If you find some super student offers, or you have some other handy tips for your fellow students on how to save money, share them with us on our social media pages Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Happy saving!