Being able to afford things as a student can be tough. Even with student loans and bursaries you may be eligible for, affording rent, food, clothes and social events can be tricky. Even though things may still be tight, there are a few ways you can save some money by using some of these practical money saving tips!
1: Think savvy when it comes to your food shop
Paying for your weekly or monthly food shop can be feel like a huge chunk of your budget, however, if you plan everything our carefully you can seriously cut the cost of your weekly spending. Even simple things such as the time of day you decide to shop can have a huge impact.
- Supermarkets usually put out discounted food after 7pm in the evening, so you shop later at night you could grab yourself some great deals on a variety of food.
- Try to swap to own-branded products, most of the time you can not tell the difference and they can be a fraction of the cost.
- Supermarkets will place the most expensive products at the average eye-line so make sure you look across the whole shelf before deciding which product to add to your basket, you may save yourself a lot of money by not falling into this trap!
- Make a list and stick to it – this may seem simple but it will really help you stay focused and not fill your trolley with unnecessary items.
- Do not shop when you’re hungry! This can cause you to add things to your trolley that you don’t really need.
- Have a look at some food shopping sites that provide discounted food if it is coming up to its best before date. Unlike the ‘use by date’ located on products, a ‘best before’ date does not relate to the safety of eating the product and more to the best time to eat it. You can slash the cost of your weekly shop by having a look at discounted food sites.
2: Find ways to make extra money
Other than the obvious way of getting a job, there are ways you can make some extra money to help with your bills:
- Cashback websites can be really useful for students, there are a range out here which will provide you with cashback if you shop at certain stores via their app. Each will have different terms and conditions so be sure to do your research but they can really help save the pennies!
- Online surveys are always a great way to make some extra cash if you have some spare time at the end of your day. Usually you will be paid per survey you complete.
- If you’re crafty, you could make crafts in your spare time to sell on social media. Whilst you will have to put some money into this idea initially, once you have a client base set up you could make your money back in no time!
- Have a lot of stuff? Selling things you no longer need on selling sites or carboot sales could really help with your bills. If you do have items lying around that you no longer use or need, selling them on is a great way to make some extra money whilst at university!
3: Don’t pay over the odds for things you don’t need
We all pay for things we don’t really need, cutting these out of your monthly budget can really help you save some money for more important things:
- Get rid of that expensive gym membership! Yes, we all seem to have one but if you find your self only going once or twice a month or not at all, cancel it. You can get lots of exercise in other ways that are a fraction of the cost or completely free!
- Check the subscriptions you are paying and ask if you really need them? If not, cancel the subscription. Alternatively, if you are able to have multiple users, maybe share the cost with a friend or family member.
- We all like to have new clothes but before you spend all of your student loan on a brand new wardrobe, think about the items you actually need. See if you can find cheaper alternatives are charity shops or online discount stores.
4: Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves!
Although you may feel you can not save money whilst being a student, you can! If you follow these tips and tricks:
- Depending on how much you want to save, you can either do the penny a day challenge or the 52 week challenge to get yourself some saving for the end of the year.
- For the penny a day challenge you will begin on 1p, the day after you will save 2p, the day after that you will save 3p and so on. The idea is to save a penny more than you did the day before. You do this every day for a year and you can save over £650!
- The 52 week challenge is similar to the penny challenge, however, you save £1 the first week, £2 the second week, £3 the third week and so on. Saving £1 more than you did the week before. If you do this every week for a year you could save yourself over £1300!
5: Take advantage of discounts!
Yes, as a student you get lots of discounts for numerous places and it could save you a lot of money in the long run!
- Get to know the discounts on offer so you can save on your essentials. It might take some leg work, going to different shops instead of shopping in one place but the savings you could have on clothes, food and toiletries could really help!
- Invest in a NUS Extra card! They cost around £12 but they give you access to hundreds of online and in-store discounts.
- Call your utilities providers and phone provided to try and get discount, there is wiggle room on everything you just need to have the guts to ring up and ask! Even if it is a couple of pound a month, it could really help!
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