We need money for everything these days, whether it is to buy groceries in the weekly shop or to get that new outfit that’s been on your mind for weeks. However, as important as cash is to daily life, sometimes there just isn’t enough of it to fit your needs. This is especially true for students as the money gained from student loans, and part-time jobs can only stretch so far, so any money saved could make a difference. This article hopes to show a few practical ways to save money, which might just make student living easier should you try any of them.
1. Buying ‘Own Brand’ from Supermarkets
Shops like Tesco usually sell a variety of brands, including both the high-end brands like Nestle that people enjoy as well as value items that get ignored. The main benefit of buying own-brand groceries is the price difference. Tesco’s own brand cereals cost only £1, which is a considerable difference from the branded products!
2. Comparing between Supermarkets
Another aspect of supermarkets is that, due to being competitive for customers, some stores may have lower prices than others. This makes it the perfect opportunity to grab what you need for a lower cost, just by looking in other places! There are even apps you can use to compare prices for groceries, such as LatestDeals, which help you to identify the best bargains; all you have to do is search and browse what prices are available!
3. Food shop once a month
A great way to avoid frequent visits to the Tescos and Lidls in the world is to make a shopping list and buy all your groceries in one fell swoop. By doing this you are forced to make some sort of food plan for the month ahead, and once you’ve done it subconsciously, you will see that your fridge is fully stocked. Therefore, having no need (and no space really) to buy more food.
4. Buy Frozen
The positives are endless, you get the same great taste as the fresh stuff, it’s cheaper, and more importantly, it will last longer. The frozen veg mixes are a great way to save, and more often than not there will always be deals on frozen foods such as pizzas, pre-seasoned meats and veg at most major supermarkets.
5. Shop in the evening
After about 6 pm, most supermarkets start heavily reducing prices on items they need to shift by the end of the day. These include fresh produce, baked goods and meats.
6. Living at Home
This one may seem obvious, but for students, the best way to save some money is to just live at home instead of living in accommodation. Student accommodation can be quite costly, especially if your student halls are in the middle of a busy city centre. Living at home also has other benefits, such as not having to pay for water and electricity bills, and any costs when it comes to food are most likely shared amongst your family. The only downside being travel costs. However, seeing as we are students, most cities are sure to offer us concessionary ticket prices and reduced bus passes!
7. Set up a Budget
Something else you could consider doing is setting up a budget. This could be anything from making a quick note of what you’re spending to a detailed spreadsheet. A budget is a great thing to consider as it brings your spending habits to the front of your mind and helps you to be more responsible with any money you earn. There are also several apps available to help you with budgeting, as shown in an article by NerdWallet, so, there’s always support available should you want to try this.
8. Cook More at Home
The weekend takeaways, or just ordering one because you don’t feel like cooking. We’ve all been there. But all these take out meals and a trip to Burger King ‘once in a while’ all add up. In fact, an article by Fresh Student Living shows that the average student in the UK spends up to £925 per year on takeaways! So, why not make more home-cooked meals? The chances are that it’s better for you and it’ll be cheaper in the long run.
9. Have a ‘No Spend’ Day
A simple but very effective solution to have overall monthly savings. This could be a day filled with lectures, or a day you’ve set aside to study. It’ll take some planning and will need some immense self-restraint, but it is doable!
10. The ‘Skimming’ trick
It isn’t often that we experience an influx of cash I.e. Student Loan or Birthday Cash, and it’s normal for many of us to go out and buy on impulse. However, as mentioned in savethestudent.org it’s wise to skim 10% off the top and stash it in a savings account. If you leave it untouched and in time you should accumulate enough cash for at least a great holiday on a sunny beach somewhere!
11. The ‘1p savings’ challenge
The idea being you save a pound on day one, two pounds on day two and so on and so forth every week. Once you’ve completed 7 days of savings, you start again. Doing this, you could save a total of 28 pounds weekly. That’s a 112 Great British Pounds a month!
12. Forget your TV license
If you’re the type of person who streams all their content on either Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime or any other media streaming platform. There is really no need for you to keep your TV license. Most student accommodations offer free unlimited broadband; therefore, it is your duty to make the most of it. However, if you do require live TV (legally) click here for a loophole that you could take advantage of!
13. Get everything for five pounds
I can guarantee that most fashion in your wardrobe would have costed more than five pounds. But what if I told you there was an online store where you could get everything for £5! That is exactly what Everything5pounds offers. The store sells clothes, shoes, accessories and so much more, and much of their items are high-street quality.
14. Ask for Student Discounts always
If you don’t ask, you’ll never know. There are plenty of retailers and major fashion outlets that offer student discounts on selected items. Use apps such as UNiDAYS and the ISIC app to make sure that the product you’re looking for is available at a discount.
15. Save on postage costs with Amazon Prime
Amazon’s student Prime trial gives you 6 months of free one-day delivery with no minimum spend, and after that, 50% off the usual yearly membership fee. Oh, and you also get access to the full Prime Instant Video catalogue along with other exclusive Prime offers!
16. Haggle and Barter
Two very useful skills to have stocked in your arsenal. At first, doing this may seem a little odd, but we must remember we are Uni students on a budget at the end of the day. Obviously, this doesn’t work everywhere – you cannot barter with the Tesco cashier, but if you’re at a market or somewhere, it’s worth a go. One tip: if you were to haggle or barter, it’s always best if you meet the seller in person, that way you can play the ‘I am a student’ card, and it makes it harder for them to say no.
17. Buy from Facebook groups and chats
The social media platform wouldn’t usually be your first point of inspection when shopping for something specific. But it’s one of the best places to look when shopping for textbooks or even sports goods on a budget! Many graduating students look to ditch their belongings quick when clearing, so if you need a used textbook or just something to spice up your room décor, try putting a message on a group page, you’ll be amazed by what you’ll find
18. Trade to replace
When buying a new gadget or a product always have a ‘One in One out’ policy. This will make sure that you are making some money back on the used item, which means you could possibly buy the new gadget for a cheaper.
19. Off-Peak hours are key
Whether you’re going to the cinema or you want to visit a theme park, an easy way to make sure you will be paying less than everybody else is to go during off-peak hours. This is usually during the day on weekdays, but most places will advertise their off-peak hours on their websites. So, before you go, make sure to do your research.
20. Don’t pay to withdraw cash
Many students make the common mistake of getting cash from ATM machines that charge a withdrawal fee. You tend to find these machines close to pubs and clubs where you will withdraw cash without giving this fee a second thought. You can save up to £2 every time you withdraw, so be aware!
21. Nights Out call for cash only
You could just take your card. It’s easier to carry around and most certainly little to worry about. However, even the strictest, most money-conscious of us are a little free-spirited with the old debit card once we’ve had a few drinks. If you only take cash with you on a night out, you’re sure to never go over budget!
22. Go for the ‘Early Bird’
Don’t wait till the last minute to buy your event tickets! Plan ahead and sort it out with enough time to spare, this will allow you to save loads on tickets and entry fees to most club nights and concert venues. Clubs will also allow for free entry earlier on in the night.
23. Go out less
We understand that in University we tend to celebrate every night like it is our last. However, you’ll be surprised to hear that to do this you don’t need to go out every night. You tend to make more great memories on nights that you stay in with your mates getting up to all sorts of nonsense. Doing this will most definitely save a couple bucks on your budget.
24. Quit your bad habits
These could include compulsive shopping or even a smoking/alcohol addiction. The average student budget will not be enough to support these bad habits, and therefore, there will never be a better time than now for you to move away from these habits.
25. Be mindful and aware
It sounds simple, but it is one of the hardest things to do. This can include simple tasks like turning off unnecessary lights in your room, wasting little food and water, or being aware of your savings. Always question your purchases, like do you really need that new pair of shoes?
If you stick to these, you’ll be on your way to having a pleasurable and thrifty student life. Hopefully, one of these will have caught your eye enough to make a difference. Good luck with saving money!