Saving money is never easy as a student. Tuition fees and living costs are expensive, and there’s only so far you can get with government-backed student finance.
If it’s your first time living away from home, you’ll find yourself rapidly appreciating how quickly money disappears out the door.. Whether you are an undergraduate or postgraduate student, saving money is no easy thing. In fact, according to a recent article in the Daily Telegraph, half of UK students run out of money before their next loan. So here are some tips to help get you save a few quid here and there to help keep you going until your next loan arrives:
1. Buy your stationary supplies in bulk, and keep a hold of them
Though laptops for note taking are much more common these days, students can still run through an awful lot of pens and notepads. Rather than just buying stationary as you need it, consider going to an office discount store and buying in bulk. Whilst you pay more upfront you will save quite a bit as the cost averages out. Of course, bulk buying also holds true for non-perishable/long-life foods like pasta, rice and canned goods. Cash n carry is a good option if you know the right people! Also consider 99p and £1 stores – you can buy a range of things from batteries to shampoo to snacks at vastly discounted rates. Just check that the product sizes are comparable.
2. Make a shopping list and plan your main meals
Sticking to a shopping budget isn’t easy, even with a shopping list. Supermarkets are laid out in a way to encourage you to impulse buy and spend more. The easiest way to avoid overspending is to only bring the amount of money you’re willing to spend with you and don’t use your card. Or if you can be disciplined consider doing your supermarket shop online which is the easiest way to compare special offers across various supermarkets.
3. Learn to cook!
You don’t need to be a professional chef to eat well regularly. There are a variety of online sources that provide recipes for simple, low cost and great tasting meals. Consider planning your main meals weekly in advance and shopping for those specific ingredients. This ensures you eat well but don’t waste anything.
4. Put aside money for emergencies
While it may be difficult to spare the money and building savings is perhaps the last thing on a student’s mind, the time you’re most likely to have money is r at the beginning of your academic year and the time you’ll most need it is towards the end. Consider putting £100 (or more if you can) from your grant or loan aside to cover any unexpected costs you might face during the year. And if you don’t need it, then great. You have more for the next year!
5. Keep control of your money
Paying with a card can often encourage overspending because it feels less real than handing over hard cash. Consider paying for things with just cash, sticking to a strict weekly budget. However don’t withdraw your full amount at once, just in case you lose it!
Also, online banking makes it a lot easier to keep track of your spending. Try creating a spreadsheet and recording how much you spend on various things every week/month – food, utilities, nights out etc. and then research ways to bring those costs down such as using price comparison websites.
Future Finance allows you to receive your student loan in 6 or 12 monthly payments, which will help you stop yourself from splurging with your money right after you get it, and then running out as you approach exam times. You can also try some of these budgeting apps to help you keep track of your spending.
6. Make a budget
It’s easy to overspend if you don’t have an exact idea of how much money you have to spend in the first place. If you’re just keeping track of it by what your bank balance is, you may get in trouble when you’ve spent the last of your money, but have forgotten about an important bill. Making a simple budget will help you know how much exactly.
Saving money as a student is hard, but definitely possible. However, if you find yourself in a situation where you need that little bit of extra cash, we can help. Visit our website to find out more or email us firstname.lastname@example.org
Warning: Only borrow the money you need. Late repayment can affect your creditworthiness rating. For help, go to moneyadviceservice.org.uk