Going to university can be both a daunting and an exciting experience for a number of reasons – one being the prospect of financial independence. With a student loan entering your account, a lot of people splurge straight away, ending up skint by the midpoint of term and having to cut back on even the essentials, like food and laundry. To help you make the most of your money and not end up in a sticky situation, we’ve put together some tips to help you make your student budget go further!
When it comes to long days of work and regular partying, students can eat a LOT. You will find yourself starting to prioritise simplicity and speed over all else when it comes to food. But takeaways, and even ready meals, can add up and end up costing you a lot more than necessary. The best thing to do at uni is learn to cook. Bulk buying long-lasting ingredients that will fill you up – like pasta, rice and potatoes – can save you a lot on your spending. Meals like pasta bakes and curries can be cooked on a bigger scale and then frozen, so they last longer!
Your course books are essential items that you’ll need during your time at university, but they can also be where a large chunk of your money disappears. Campus book shops can charge extortionate rates, while a quick google search could find you the same books for half the price! Some websites like CourseSmart even allow you to rent textbooks. At the end of the course, when you no longer need your books, you can then sell them to sites like Fatbrain or Amazon!
CourseSmart, Fatbrain and Amazon are the best websites to use to buy and sell your course textbooks for university, without spending too much
The great thing about a student bank account is that you’re entitled to receive a large 0% rate overdraft, so make the most of this while you’re still studying! Don’t be too reliant on it though; make sure you never exceed your limit or you could be hit with heavy charges!
Another thing to be aware of is that a lot of the cash withdrawal machines on campus may charge you a fee to withdraw cash. It is very easy to find a cash machine outside of university campuses where cash withdrawals are free, so just a short walk off campus can end up saving you money!
An NUS student discount card is a great investment. Priced at just £12, it opens up a world of over 170 discounts both online and in-store for a year! From Topshop to the Co-op, you can get discounts of all sizes on a huge range of purchases.
Getting a student railcard is also a great idea (if you have a student account with Santander, you get one free for four years!) as it gets you a third off train ticket prices, so if you need to journey home or elsewhere, it’s a great way to save.
An NUS card can save you loads, with hundreds of student discounts available online and in-store
Another great way to get some help with your finances is to research the student grants and financial aid packages that your university offers. Most universities will offer some grants for various things, such as academic or sports scholarships, and these can really help boost the amount of money you have to spend on things you need!
Overall, the best way to save money at uni is to always make sure you stick to your budget. At the start of the term, write down your income and work out your budget per day, week, or month – and make sure you stay within it! Try to cut spending on small everyday items too, like buying a coffee in the morning, as these can add up and eat into your bank account.
The new app LootBank, which is set to launch within the next few months, is designed by students for students to help with money management and budgeting – be sure to keep an eye out for it!