97 ways to save money as a student

97 ways to save money as a student

Students all have different lives and circumstances, but many of us need to keep to a budget and save money. Just because we can buy something doesn’t mean we can afford it.

These tips will help for life, not just student years. It also means that you can prioritise the spending that matters to you, whether that is drinks on a night out, new clothes or better food.

Banking

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  • Compare student bank accounts depending on whether you would prefer a bigger interest-free overdraft or even free discounts or money.
  • Don’t exceed your agreed overdraft, as it can cost a fortune each day.
  • Use only free ATMs and never pay to access your own money.
  • Consider using cash rather than cards or contactless – feeling the money leave your hands can be a powerful disincentive to spend!
  • Get a savings account or ISA for your spare cash.
  • While a bank account is essential, keeping a piggy bank or tin for your loose change will give you a great surprise after a while.

Food

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  • Cook from scratch.
  • Buy in season for cheaper prices.
  • Buy cheap food in bulk for bigger savings.
  • A cupboard of herbs, spices, stock and tinned tomatoes will save a fortune compared to pre-packaged sauces.
  • You can eat food after its best before date, it might just be worse quality so check it first rather than throwing it away. Don’t eat food after a use by date though.
  • Make use of leftovers! Pasta, vegetables, meat and other foods can often be repurposed or reheated for a meal hack.
  • Buy own brands and value ranges; they can be just as good. Don’t fall for the colorful packaging or warm fuzzy feeling of your favourite brands if you can help it.
  • Shop in the evening for supermarket yellow sticker discounts. A pizza for 20p? Buy up the bakery for less than a pound? These things are possible and will guarantee that hungry mates will come out the woodwork.
  • Put cheap red wine in the blender to improve the taste.
  • Quit smoking, this isn’t food anyway.
  • Freeze groceries or buy frozen fruit and vegetables.
  • Grow food. You probably don’t have a garden and are way too cool for an allotment, but herb pots or windowsill fruits are pretty fresh if your fridge is empty.
  • Make your own lunch rather than buying it. Meal deals are evil. That £3 sandwich is definitely not worth £1,095 a year.
  • Don’t shop for food on an empty stomach or when you tired. You will buy junk and lots of it.
  • Make a shopping list. Use your fanciest stationary and stick to it.
  • Cheap ingredients can help you literally survive. Pasta, rice, lentils, onions, potatoes, carrots, couscous are just the start.
  • Meal prep on a cheeky day off and Tupperware up your food for the next week. Good for people that aren’t too bothered about cooking fresh all the time. Most of us right?
  • Get tap water with meals out. Don’t fall for the spring or sparkling trick as these are an easy way for restaurants to sell you something with a very high margin.
  • Don’t buy bottled water, be that person that takes a water bottle around with you.
  • Be careful with multibuy deals, they are often for junk food that you don’t need tonnes of.
  • Slow cooker stews will fill your flat with good smells, tasty vibes and are cheap and easy.
  • Share food with housemates. Cooking together once a week, probably at the weekend, might even be the best night of the week.

Bills

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  • Before you buy your own contents insurance, find out if your parent’s insurance covers you in your new place.
  • Council tax discounts are available for students in certain situations, look it up to find out if you are eligible.
  • Compare utilities costs. There are plenty of comparison sites that let you do this.
  • Ensure your rental deposit is protected. It is a legal requirement but worth double-checking for peace of mind.
  • Use less energy. For example, you can get a smart meter that will make you realise what you use.
  • Do you need a car at uni?
  • Uni students can get free dental care until your 19th. Check this out with your dentist.
  • Do you smash your phone or drop it in the toilet on a night out? Maybe you need mobile phone insurance.
  • Student haircuts – as in trainee hairdressers giving you cheap haircuts. Alternatively, bag a discount with your student card in some places.
  • One for the Accounting & Finance students – make a sexy spreadsheet with your spending and income and plan your budget before you spend it all.
  • Energy saving bulbs are bright enough for you and will probably last all year.
  • Wear extra layers in winter. And talk to your flatmates before you turn on the heating (…angrily simmers in the corner at that one thieving housemate with the radiators on and windows open).

Entertainment

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  • Only watch Netflix? Do you need a TV license? Find out and don’t break the law.
  • Find free condoms, don’t pay over the odds at a shop or make your own. If you have to pay, remember that they are cheaper than children.
  • Pre-drink, prink, pres. Whatever your mum calls it, drink before you go out for a night out and save dollar.
  • Free festivals, museums, art galleries and comedy nights can be great fun.
  • 2 for 1 cinema tickets for everyone that buys travel insurance between London and Birmingham for a couple of pounds with Meerkat Movies.
  • Avoid freemium or paid mobile games, get notifications when they are free from software like AppZapp
  • Avoid touts and scammers selling overpriced event tickets. Don’t buy Ed Sheeran tickets for £400.
  • Plan evening activities with friends that don’t involve drinking and drink just a little less when you do. You never really appreciate the last few shots on a night out anyway.
  • Pinterest your fancy dress ideas and make your own rather than buying online or from expensive shops.
  • Uni sports and societies are great ways to have fun cheaply.
  • Earn money by listening to music with SliceThePie.
  • Turn your social media time into money by blogging or vlogging on a topic you are interested in and earn cash working with brands or referral advertising.
  • Visit friends at other unis for cheap holidays.
  • Look for vouchers for restaurants that you are visiting.
  • Look up geocaching. It is a great way to have an adventure and explore your local area.

Shopping

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  • There are lots of student discount schemes, including NUS Extra and UNiDAYS
  • Shop in charity shops and boot sales for vintage chic stuff.
  • Freecycling, where people give unwanted items away for free, is awesome.
  • Avoid buying new technology, stick to tech that is a couple of years old. It isn’t much different and will save you a decent amount.
  • Sell your old mobile if it is lying around gathering dust.
  • Don’t shop for something if you don’t really need it, want it or will use it.
  • Find out more about cashback when you shop.
  • Skim 10% off every purchase and stick it into your savings.
  • Round up purchases to the nearest pound with the Moneybox app.
  • Start haggling in shops and get big discounts for being gutsy.
  • Amazon Warehouse sells repaired or ex-display items at a discount.
  • Loyalty points for the local supermarket can really add up over a few years of a course.
  • Give yourself some time before buying a non-essential. Just a day or two, or a week if you can manage it, can give you some perspective on whether it will actually make you happy.
  • Get freebies at Freshers’ Fairs!
  • Challenge yourself to see how many days you can go without spending anything. Don’t do this if you have run out of food.
  • Match your spending on luxury items and stick the equivalent amount in your savings. It doubles the price but makes sure you really want it
  • If you are buying just a couple of items, don’t get a basket or trolley.
  • Don’t buy things for their fashion or prestige value. This means you shouldn’t really buy any clothes with an Italian name.
  • Don’t get carried away in discount shops. If you buy twenty things in a pound shop, you aren’t saving money, just getting over-excited.

Travel

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  • Invest in a young person’s 16-25 Railcard or the other options if you are older than this.
  • Sometimes if you split your train tickets on a long journey, it can save you cash. Online calculators are available.
  • Consider coach or megabus travel if you can stomach long journeys.
  • Book travel in advance (weeks in advance).
  • Buy a bike.
  • Compare the cost of your flights and get price drop notifications if you are an international student or going on holiday.
  • Student bus passes can save money, just don’t get locked into one operator if you’ll need another.
  • Buy a 3 year Railcard when you are 24. It is allowed!
  • The dictionary definition of ‘uber’ is ‘denoting an outstanding or supreme example of a particular kind of person or thing’. Uber is outstanding, use it.
  • Walk wherever possible.

Study

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  • Work out whether it is cheaper to print on campus or buy your own printer.
  • Should you buy books, hit the libraries, rent the books, get second-hand, use journal articles, or share with friends?
  • Use free software, some of it is pretty decent like GIMP instead of Photoshop.

Jobs

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  • Get a part time job. Our Careers Zone team can help.
  • Offer services on sites like Fivesquids.com. People are probably willing to buy your talent.
  • Check your tax code and don’t wait for a rebate at the end of the year.
  • Surveys and opinion polls are cheeky ways to earn some pennies on the toilet.
  • Don’t use payday loans ever.
  • Become a mystery shopper and get shopping sprees, meals, tickets and even flights for free.
  • Serve Legal recruit people to buy alcohol and other age-restricted products to test shops. Is this the greatest student job ever?
  • Try comping, where you enter as many competitions you can with alias emails and win prizes. Good for a hobby but don’t let it become an obsession and take over your life.
  • Use the wages method to work out what something is worth. If that new bag will cost 15 hours of your part-time job, do you still want it?

Remember, that going to university is also the best financial investment you can ever make – in yourself! Study at CU Coventry, CU London or CU Scarborough.

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