Going to university can be one of the most daunting experiences of your life – you’re moving away from your parents, you’re meeting new people and most importantly of all, you’re paying your own bills!
A study has shown that 50% of students worry about the costs associated with living at university and whether they will have enough money to get by. So, here’s 8 useful hacks to help you save money at university:
Make use of student discounts
One of the perks of being a student is that you are entitled to discounts on a lot of the things you buy. In fact, it may surprise you just how much you can save by being a more discount-savvy shopper.
Purchasing an NUS Extra card is the best way to save money at university. You can buy one for as little at £12 per year and this will enable you to take advantage of some of the amazing offers available to you. Such as: 10% off clothing in loads of high street and online stores; money off days out and experiences and even discounted driving lessons!
Make some positive lifestyle changes
The student lifestyle is very much centred around the social scene… e.g. pubs, clubs and parties. Whilst these places are great for meeting new people and forging lifelong university friendships – they are not so great for your health, as these are also the places where the majority of smoking, drinking and drug-taking goes on.
The NHS suggests that almost half of 16 to 24 year old’s in England and Wales have tried drugs at least once and smoking is fairly prevalent amongst this age group.
Now, we all know that these habits are bad for your health, as we are reminded of this constantly by the Government and health services. But, also consider the effect on your bank balance… quitting smoking alone can save you around £2829 per year – not to mention the benefits to your health and well-being!
Plan your meals
There’s no doubt about it – student’s lead busy lives, and there’s not always time to prepare meals in-between lectures and hangovers! Spending money on grab-and-go convenience food is great when time’s not on your side, but it’s definitely not cheap.
This is why planning meals is a brilliant way to save money and will probably be healthier for you, too! All you need to do is set aside some time (won’t take long!) to make a list of meals you enjoy and do a quick shop for the ingredients.
Then, make large batches of food, such as pasta bake, and portion it out into tupperware containers to store in the fridge or freezer. This way, you can make lots of delicious meals, save money on your grocery shopping and stop yourself from spending over-the-odds on convenience food.
This is an increasingly popular concept, especially among students. Get everyone round to your flat for a few drinks before you go out to start the night off! This not only gives you the chance to speak to your mates before you go out and can no longer hear what they’re saying, but it also prevents you from paying over-the-odds for drinks while you’re out. Win win!
(Obviously, it’s important to note that this post is about student money saving hacks and is not intended to encourage drinking – so please drink responsibly!)
Opt for cheaper alternatives
When it comes to the weekly grocery shop, we all have our favourite brands and luxuries. But when you’re a student, your favourite items can eat away at your money and increase your food spend massively.
So it’s time to reduce your shopping budget by switching to alternative, cheaper brands and ranges; maybe even switching supermarkets. Aldi and Lidl are perfect supermarkets for students, as they sell good quality, unbranded food items for a fraction of the prices you’ll find at Tesco and Morrisons.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t shop at Tesco and Morrisons – you still can, but perhaps consider swapping out some of your branded items for the basics range. You probably won’t notice the difference (other than the packaging) and this will largely reduce your food bill.
Sell your clutter
Everyone has clutter that they hold on to, but they don’t know why they do it. As though one day, you may finally need that old university text book that is no longer relevant! I think not.
Selling the things you no longer need or use is a great way to make money. Not to mention the satisfaction you feel from clearing out some space and seeing your carpet again! There are lots of different places that you can sell your things online, such as: eBay, Amazon, Gumtree and Shpock, to name just a few. So what are you waiting for? Take some snaps of your unwanted items, pop them online and watch the money roll in!
Scrap your TV Licence
The current charge for a TV Licence is £145.50 per year, with no discount for students. Now, that’s a sizeable chunk of your student loan to spend just so you can watch TV. If only there was a way to save all that lovely money, but still be able to watch your favourite programmes? You’ll be pleased to know – there is!
You only need a TV licence if you watch live TV as it is being broadcast. You don’t need a TV licence if you only watch catch-up services – great news!
So, you can watch all your favourite programmes On-Demand on any device, as long as you are not watching them live. You may have to wait until the live show is over before you can watch it, of course, but if you’re saving £145.50… what’s half an hour?!
Save on dining out
So, you’ve made cut-backs on your grocery shopping and you’re planning your meals in advance, but what about going out with friends for a slap-up meal? Fortunately, there’s a hack for that too, so you don’t have to worry about being stuck in the house counting your money.
Students can apply for a FREE 3-month Tastecard through Unidays. Tastecard is a brilliant way to save money by giving you either 2-4-1 or 50% off when you dine out at lots of lovely restaurants plus up to 40% off cinema tickets across 250 cinemas nationwide.
There are considerable savings to be made with a Tastecard which means that you can have gorgeous meals out with friends, guilt-free because you’re saving money!