Tuesday 28 September 2021

Money-saving Tips for Students

Students aren’t known for their extravagant lifestyles. Rather, the stereotypical view of a student is of them sitting on a tatty sofa eating a Pot Noodle before going out to find a bar with the cheapest drinks. 

Although you’d be hard-pushed to live a luxury lifestyle on a student’s means, there are ways you can save money during your time at university. 

Below are some money-saving tips for students. 


The number one way to save money on accommodation while you’re at university is to stay living at home with your parents. 

This doesn’t suit everyone, of course. If your university is in another town or city, you’ll have to find student accommodation in Southampton or Liverpool or wherever it is you’re going. Also, a big part of university life is gaining independence and moving away from your parents, possibly for the first time. 

But, if you do want to save a shedload of cash, stay at home. You’ll get all your home comforts and your laundry done for you. (You can of course take your laundry with you when you visit though if you do move out.) 

Don’t blow your student loan on the first day of term

We get it. You get more money than you’ve ever seen in your life landing in your bank account and the urge is to spend spend spend. 

Don’t do this. 

That money has to last you a whole term and you’ll need it for boring stuff like rent, food and bills, as well as money for going out. 

UCAS has a handy calculator for finding out how much money you’ll need to live on each month. 

Leave your bank card at home

Speaking of going out, leave your bank/contactless card at home when you go out. Decide how much you can afford to spend and take that amount out of the cashpoint the day before. 

We know since COVID, most people have forgotten how to use cash but you really will save a lot of money if you can only spend how much you’ve actually got on you.  

After all, after a few drinks, it’s too easy to feel generous and start buying huge rounds. Leaving your card at home means there won’t be any nasty shocks when you look at your bank balance the next morning (or afternoon if it’s been a late one). 

Don’t food shop when you’re hungry

Not going to the supermarket when you’re hungry is a life lesson for everyone, not just students. 

No one ever craves celery, lettuce or apples when they’re hungry in the supermarket. The need for instant gratification is too strong and you’ll end up filling your trolley with cakes, chocolate and crisps that are a) unhealthy; and b) expensive. 

Make a meal plan, draw up a shopping list, don’t go to the supermarket when you’re hungry and you’ll save loads of money. 

Learn to cook

If your meal plan usually consists of deciding which takeaway to order each night, learning to cook will save you a heap of cash. 

Batch cook soups, stews, curries and pasta sauces, put the leftovers in the freezer and you’ll be eating for pennies a day. 

Don’t rush into buying everything on the reading list

Those reading lists are not only long but, if you bought everything on the list, that’ll make a huge dent in your student loan. 

You won’t need every book on the list and you definitely won’t need to read every page of every book on the list. 

Have a look for used books on Amazon and Ebay and don’t forget about your local charity shops and second-hand bookshops - they’re a great source for classics if you’re doing a literature degree. 

Obviously your university library will have the books on the reading list but there’s likely to be a big rush for those at the start of term. Don’t forget to check out your local library too and if everyone’s also beaten you to it there, libraries often offer free reservations to local students. 

Find free stuff 

The internet has given us access to so much free stuff. One person’s trash is another’s treasure, after all, and Facebook groups are full of people giving away stuff they no longer want or need, along with apps and websites such as Freecycle and Olio.

Whatever you need, whether that’s clothes, furniture, plants or food, you can find it for free. 

Make use of your NUS card 

Your NUS card (now run by Totum) is your key to thousands of discounts on everything from food to travel. As well as all the discounts you can get online, all university towns and cities will have local businesses that offer student discounts. And if there’s a business - whether that’s a clothes shop, restaurant or a bar - that doesn’t have a sign in its window, ask if they offer a student discount. The worst that will happen is they say no, but plenty will offer a discount if you ask for one. 

We know being a student is hard money-wise, but take a bit of care when budgeting and looking around where you can save and who knows, you may even have some money left at the end of term! 

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