Depending on where you go, the first year at university can be an expensive one- if you are coming straight out of school, it will be one of the first times you find yourself financially independent! But how do you not blow through your student loan in the first week? We’ve got a few top tips for how to save money in your first year at uni!

1. Get a Clubcard

Hopefully you have a Tesco nearby to your halls, and if so, a Tesco Clubcard is worth getting! They are completely free to apply for and save you money on almost every item in store.

2. Shop at Lidl and Aldi

Although we all love a Colin the Caterpillar, shops like Aldi and Lidl are much better for saving on your weekly shop. With an average one-person weekly shop being around £10-14 (alcohol not included!), you can’t go wrong with these supermarkets!

How to Save Money in your First Year at Uni
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3. Do a weekly shop

You would be surprised how much difference planning a weekly shop can do to your savings account. Planning out your meals for the week and buying a shop accordingly can save you quite a bit of money and you don’t waste as much food either!

4. Get a bus pass (only if needed!)

If your halls are further away from campus and you find yourself taking the bus, a bus pass is a good investment. The student Stagecoach bus pass costs about £280, but if used a lot it would be worth it.

How to Save Money in your First Year at Uni
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If you find yourself in London for uni, an oyster card to use on public transport is a must, and a railway card will save you a fortune! However, if you are living in Scotland, 5–21-year-olds have free bus travel with a Young Scot Card which students are eligible for- this is a financial saviour.

5. Check for student discounts

Whenever you go shopping, ask if they do student discounts. As long as you have proof that you are a student, such as your uni card, you will receive 10% off in most shops! Check out the Unifresher deals section for the best offers in your city and across the UK!

6. Shop in vintage shops, sales, charity shops

Clothes can be expensive, especially if you want good quality ones- you can often find great pieces in charity shops, sales, or even online second-hand websites like Oxfam! Cheaper and more environmentally friendly, this saving solution is a good all-around option.

How to Save Money in your First Year at Uni
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7. Sell clothes on Vinted and Depop

If you fancy making a bit of money to add to your student funds, selling unwanted clothes or items on Depop and Vinted are an easy way to get a few extra pennies for your pocket.

8. Wear layers in the colder months

Given the current climate and with energy bills at a recent high, keeping your heating turned down over the Winter would be a quick way to save a bit of money- layering up in jumpers, hot water bottles and fluffy socks will keep you warm and allow you to keep your bills to a minimum. Although you will be sacrificing convenience, that’s all part of the student life!

How to Save Money in your First Year at Uni
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9. Budget Plan

Realising how much money you have and how long it must last you is a good way of making sure your loan lasts for the entire year. Month by month figure out how much you will spend on bills, rent, weekly shops, going out and paying for memberships, societies, and sports. Planning out your spending will ease the pressure on finances and will allow you to see how much you will have left over to save. Understanding where your money is going and how bills and rent work is not only another step to being completely independent, it also sets you up for after university as well.

10. Get a part-time job

If you have enough time during your week, a part-time job is always a good option to make some extra money. Cafes and shops will be hiring throughout the year and most of these will pay at least £8-£9 per hour. Alternatively, if committing to a part-time job isn’t possible for you, apps such as Rover are great for getting a bit of extra money, you just need to look after a dog for the day!

Every first year at university is a learning curve and saving money is part of that. Learning how to manage your money well is a life-skill that once mastered will set you up for life not only during, but after uni as well.