Worried about your finances at uni? Well, I thought I’d write a blog post today to try and help current and potential students save money at uni. Saving money as a student doesn’t mean you have to live the life of a hermit in a cold room while your flatmates go out partying. But, there are definitely ways in which you can cut back on unnecessary expenditure.
In my experience, first year is definitely the year where you will ‘waste’ a lot of money. It’s the first time you are in charge of your own finances- and it may seem like the money is never ending – but trust me it does eventually vanish!
Here are some ways in which you can cut back on spending:
If you’re like me, the biggest expenditure you are likely to face at university is buying food. Long days at the library may make you feel like you deserve that ‘cheeky’ meal at Nandos, or it may seem harmless to buy Starbucks while you’re on a shopping trip with friends. While it is okay to succumb to every once in a while, being a student requires you to think if you really need that chicken wrap or hot chocolate. Can you create a cheaper alternative at home?
Also, it’s a great idea to hit supermarkets on an evening time when a lot of stock is reduced in the clearance section- it will still be fine to eat that day (or even the day after!) and you will find a lot of the food is reduced by around 75%. While you’re at the supermarket, it is worth trying the supermarket own brand ranges of food. Admittedly, some of the food may not be up to the standard other brands are- but some are and it is a matter of trial and error in finding the best value, best tasting food.
This is more of a boring, but necessary, aspect of student life.
If they are included in your rent then that’s great! But, bills are something which I find myself forgetting about, and which manage to creep up on me every month. You need to bear in mind when bills are due each month- and to keep the cost down requires you to think about what electricity and heating you are using.
Electricity is a necessity but you need to be thinking; turn the lights off when they’re not being used, don’t leave televisions on pause (or standby), do your research for the cheapest supplier and turn down the temperature on your washing machine. It is also a good idea to keep an eye on your flatmates usage- they may not be aware that what they are doing is using more electricity than necessary!
Heating is another thing which students have to spend out on. Use your jumpers and woolly socks to your advantage- WEAR THEM! Trust me, I know that a cold house is not a nice thing to come home to at the end of a winter’s day- but make sure your thermostat is on a sensible temperature and if you get a bit chilly, then pile on the layers.
Just consider what else you are spending your money on if you find yourself struggling near the end of the semester. Items such as clothes can be very tempting at the time- but do you really need that £50 dress that you’ll wear once every six months? Keep an eye out for student discounts, sales and offers – but make sure you are weighing up if the item is worth the money you are spending before you make a rash decision.
Also, nights out is something which you can save a LOT of money on if you are a student. In Newcastle, I tend to find that weekends are much more expensive for nights out as people who work during the week tend to flock here for hen/stag parties etc. Keep an eye out for student nights, ie. places which offer you discounted entry. This is a great way to save money and it is sure to be busy as many other students have the same idea!
Hopefully these tips will help you consider different ways in which you can stretch your student loan. Student life doesn’t have to be boring- but utilise your money to the best of your ability and you won’t regret it!