Ways to save money as a student
By Lois Looker,
Being a student is an expensive time but there are many ways to help save you money so we have put together this guide to help with just that. Here are some handy tips and ways to save some money for you each month whether it’s buying a textbook, going for a meal or setting up a student account.
Most shops offer some form of discount for students, as well as some restaurants, cafes, bars and leisure centres. You will be issued with your student card from your university and it must have a valid photograph and date of graduation for it to be accepted.
NUS and NUS Extra
NUS is the National Union of Students who are a voluntary based company who work to make student experiences the best possible. They run 95% of student unions across the country and work for diversity, democracy and equality amongst all of its students. An NUS and NUS Extra card can get you many extra discounts that your student card would not. You can find a list of these discounts here; http://www.nus.org.uk/en/nus-extra/discounts/ where you can also purchase your NUS Extra card.
Saving with a bank
Speak to your local or current bank about setting up a savings account. They will organise for a direct debit of the amount you decide on to leave your account each week, fortnight or month.
Student Bank Accounts
Student bank accounts are set up specifically for students as they offer an overdraft that does not have to be repaid until you graduate from university. When you graduate, however, your repayments will have an added interest which varies with every bank. If you know that you need some extra money one month, then signing up for a student bank account can help you by loaning you that money without you having to pay anything back if you can bring your account up above £0 before you graduate.
You can apply for a student bank account from the day that you enrol at university but, again, depending on your bank, there will be limits placed on how much you can you can borrow each semester. Most banks simply increase the loan amount by £500 each semester or year. If you go over your overdraft limit then your charges will shoot up and this can be very dangerous so it’s worth avoiding spending any more than your bank allows. Don’t choose which bank you set up your student account with based on whether it’s local or not. With online banking being set up so easily, having the branch next door does not always matter so do not be afraid to look around for the best deals and make your choice based on that. Some banks offer incentives such as a free railcard for one month if you set up a student account with them. If this is going to save you money in the long run, then it might be worth it.
Stay away from takeaways
Staying away from takeaways will help you to save money as much of their food is overpriced and therefore can add up to be quite costly. Instead, cook larger meals and freeze leftovers. Our student food section has recipe ideas to help you save money.
Getting a job
If you are living in a town or city with a university, then there are always opportunities to get work. Make up a CV and hand it in to local supermarkets, shops or council-run projects. If you cannot work to a schedule and must be more flexible, then you can earn money based on your talents such as tutoring, selling artwork or dog walking. Getting a job can make monthly payments much easier and relieves some stress whilst you are at university.
Budgeting means that you’re less likely to run out of money before the end of the month. Plan and write down all of your incomings and outgoings at the start of the month and then work out the difference. If there is a much higher outgoing than incoming then you can see where you can cut back to make up the difference.
Groups get cheaper deals
If you’re going out for dinner or away for a few days then you are more likely to find cheaper deals as a large group than if there are only a couple of you. Online deal websites such as http://www.groupon.co.uk/ and http://www.5pm.co.uk/ can help you with this.
Try not to pay full price
Never buy something on the first price you are given. If you spend time to look at other deals then you will be able to research what you really should be paying for something. Instead of buying straight from a shop, look online at websites such as http://www.ebay.co.uk/ for cheaper deals or http://www.gumtree.com/ for cheap deals and things for free.