Life as a student can be tough. Are you one of those that starts off every month as a rich (wo)man, but only has £5 pounds left in the final week before getting your student loan? Read our following tips on how to save money while at university.
- Set a budget
Try to keep track of what you spend each week, and set yourself a budget. It will help you identify the areas where you are overspending, and will prevent you from splashing the cash in the first week of receiving your student loan and spending the rest of the term living on bread and water. There are a lot of money-saving apps and tools available online that can help you with creating a budget, and you can even beg your parents to invest in some home accounting software. Just tell them it’s for a good cause! Always take into account expenditures that you couldn’t foresee at the start of the month, such as paying for a broken laptop or buying those last-minute birthday presents for your sister.
- Choose a student bank account with the biggest 0% overdraft
Don’t get sucked in by freebies when you’re picking a student bank account. Always choose a bank account with the best overdraft deal. If you think you’ll need an overdraft (and most students do), try not to get charged for it. There are banks that allow you to spend “up to £3,000” more than you currently have in your bank account, but be aware of the fact that this amount is usually only available in your final year at university, and only for students with a decent credit rating. Always make sure you pick your bank account wisely and keep in mind that the 0% interest rate doesn’t last forever! After you graduate, don’t go over your limit or you’ll be charged a lot!
- Know what you’re entitled to
As a student, you have a lot of privileges other people don’t have. You’re exempt from paying council tax, you can get extra benefits from the government if you’re disabled or have children and, of course, there are plenty of discounts you can take advantage of! The NUS card and websites like Unidays will be your saviour when times are tough. Don’t forget that plenty of stores and restaurants offer student discount, such as H&M, Urban Outfitters, Topshop, ASOS, McDonalds and Yo! Sushi. Also, stop by at the Co-operative supermarket more often – they offer students a 10% discount if you have a NUS card.
- Make money online
Not a lot of students are aware of this, but it’s actually incredibly easy to earn some extra cash online by filling in surveys (easy to do on your breaks), playing video games or writing guest posts on other people’s blogs. There are even some websites that will pay you for chatting with foreign students on Skype to coach them with their English. Of course, there’s also the option to start your own eBay or Etsy shop if you have some items to sell.
- Upcycle your furniture
Kit out your house with old upcycled furniture! If you’re struggling for money, rule number one is to never let anything go to waste. If your grandma has given you some old, hideous armchairs, don’t just hide them in the basement, but make it your mission to transform them and make them look cool. It doesn’t just save you money; it’s also a fun activity to do with friends and good for the environment. There are also non-profit organisations such as The Freecycle Network that offer perfectly reusable furniture for free!