Money Saving Hacks for Students
You know how it goes. Student life does not come cheap. Somehow in between your visits to the library, the obligatory tutorials and your 9am lectures, you’ve also got to find creative ways to make your money stretch. It’s a challenge! Well, take a load off for now, we’ve got a few money saving hacks for students to help you through the term.
• Why not sell any old or unwanted items on GumTree or Ebay. You need to clear out anyway and better to line your pockets than bring your unused popcorn maker to Uni with you!
• Don’t just consider student halls for accommodation. They can be pricey, and if you have a few friends in the same boat, be creative and see what cheaper shared space you can find.
• Wherever you end up, don’t pay to furnish it. Browse Freecycle or Gumtree Freebies and see how much you can get for nothing. From bed frames to TVs, dining tables to bookshelves, it’s all out there waiting for you.
• If you’re away for the weekend or half term, consider listing your room on Airbnb (provided you have your flat mate’s/ landlord agreement) to recoup some of your rent costs while you’re gone (Halls will not allow this by the way so if you’re in halls, you’ll need to revert to other ideas!).
• When it comes to shared bills, things can be complicated. Avoid any money angst by using an app like Unihouse or Splitwit to keep track of what you’re all spending.
• Prepare to be strategic here. From browsing the supermarket reduced aisles in the evenings to picking up the daily mark-downs (set your watches, 6pm is prime time), to freezing as much as possible to avoid waste, saving money on groceries has become an art form. You don’t have to look far to find instagrammers who’ve taken the challenge to the next level so pick up tips whenever you can.
• When you’re eating at home with flat mates, we’re particularly loving the work of the MOB kitchen right now – brilliant tasty ways to feed four for under a tenner.
• Batch cooking is your friend – if you go to the effort of making a bolognese sauce, sure, have it with pasta, then turn it into a baked potato filling or add some chilli powder, kidney beans and some rice and call it chilli con carne. Tupperware is king here to give longevity to your efforts – refrigerate the lot once it’s cooled and then just make sure you only reheat what you need one portion at a time.
• When you’re eating out, don’t forget your NUS student card and take advantage of discounts offered in a huge number of eateries.
• Streamline your comms and get in touch with all of your providers to check what better deals are available. If it means switching to another mobile phone or internet provider then do it. Over a year, the savings can be significant and the hassle involved is worth it.
• Decide if you will actually be watching TV and whether you’ll need a licence or not. If you’re solely streaming Netflix and Amazon Prime then you don’t but be sure you’ve agreed with everyone else in your shared accommodation.
• Take out phone insurance. It may seem like an unnecessary expense but given the amount of people who lose, damage, or have to replace a phone, you’ll be grateful to have insurance when it inevitably happens to you.
• Swot up on all the places your NUS card gives discount and make those your first points of call.
• It is possible to take a sensible low-key approach to saving: skim 10% off any money you receive (part time job earnings, student loan, student grant) and put them in savings or in another account out of daily reach. You might need to use them in the end but you’ll have something in reserve, earning a little bit of interest until you do.
• Sign up to Amazon Student Prime. It’s free for 6 months and available for 50% less than standard pricing thereafter. You’ll get free overnight shipping for all those stationery emergencies (!) and can stream Prime Music and Video anytime you want.
• Don’t buy brand new books. First check Google Scholar or Google Books and you’ll find chapters and articles available for free. Cosy up to last year’s students – they’re always on the look-out for a few quid for the books they no longer need (and you can do the same next year). Failing that, the Campus Library is the best option to find any course book you need without forking out to own it.
• Quit your expensive take-away coffee habit. And if you can’t manage stopping entirely then try to cut down. Investing in a re-usable cup has chunky initial outlay but savings per cup in most outlets now, so at least think of the environment and you’ll be in net savings in no time. Clawing back even £2.50 per week will soon mount up.
• Think before you click with the online shopping. Make a habit of abandoning your basket when you’re shopping online. You’ll be amazed how frequently you’ll receive an email offering a discount to come back and check out. 10% off is always welcome.
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