Student life is all about enjoying and challenging yourself and although managing your money can be a chore, it's key to making sure you have enough to work and play hard.
Here are some tips and tricks to keeping as many pennies as possible...
- NUS Discount
Oh god how you will miss this when it's gone! Most of your favourite high street shops, restaurants, cinema chains and websites are more than happy to whack on anything up to a 50% discount with the simple flash of your NUS card.
For most people a mythical concept rather than a practicality, but sometimes pretty necessary and useful for avoiding the end of the month blues. Set realistic goals and don't be too tight on yourself. Start by adding up all your income (so loans and pay), work out essential outgoings (food, rent, tuition fees, Netflix direct debits) Then whatever is left you can spend on other things... or save, save for a rainy day.
Get yourself a 16-25 railcard. It takes about 10 minutes to fill in and costs just over £20, but once you have it you can save around 1/3 on all rail journeys. Ideal in a country where a short, unplanned trip from London to Loughborough can cost in excess of eighty quid
- Shop Smart
Unless you are going to make the effort to shop daily at a local market (which can be a great source of savings.) Buying your food in a supermarket day-to-day can be expensive and usually kind of wasteful.
Make a list and stick to it (on that note never go in on an empty stomach as you will end up buying more than you need) Plan for the week and cook in batches for the freezer. It's convenient and cost effective. Try shopping a bit later in the evening too, as many places will discount a wider range of goods
- Lights out
I never realised how much electricity cost until I moved away from my folks and got an electricity meter. You can throw money into a meter if you leave lights on, money that can be used to go on a night out or upgrading your tins of tuna from “budget” to “branded.'
- Apply the power of the smart phone
We live in an age where our phones can do pretty much everything aside from breathing for us. There are lots of great apps to help you budget, plan your finances, hunt around for deals, discount and offers. So, next time you go hunting for the new FIFA app or downloading Snapchat graphic bundles, check out the slightly less exciting money saving ones.
- Get on your bike
You could always get a job...that time honoured piece of friendly advice that has the capacity to make you crawl under a duvet and retreat from the world. But you could, and in some cases, you may not need to stray too far from home. Universities usually have plenty of term time positions within the union, various faculties, accommodation and services, plus they usually pay pretty well!