Adapting to University can be difficult for some: new environment, new content to learn, new way of life. But one thing that many students get excited about is money! All U.K. students are eligible to receive a student loan and for many people, this is the first time they have money to manage. Therefore, budgeting really matters! Below, I will be sharing some of my top money saving tips for students.
Keep track of your spending
In order to budget effectively, it is important to keep a track of your finances in order to see how much disposable income you are left with each month. The following link outlines this process perfectly: https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/students/student-budgeting-planner/. In fact, the Money Saving Expert website is one of the best and most informative websites out there, so it’s definitely worth a look.
Be smart with food shopping
Most of students’ money tends to be spent on food. All those wonderful (and expensive!) stores such as Tesco, Morrisons, Pret a Manger are scattered around university campuses in an attempt to attract students to spend their money – don’t fall for this! Aldi, Lidl and evening yellow sticker deals in supermarkets will be your best friend. Try to do a cost-effective big shop every week or fortnight rather than going everyday. Apps such as Just Eat and Uber Eats are no good either. Treat yourself for a takeaway every now and then but not every day!
Don’t overpay for transport
Most universities, particularly in London, tend to have fantastic public transport links with student discounts available – try to take advantage of these. If you take the train regularly and spend more than £90 annually on train journeys, then you should consider buying a 16-25 railcard, which cuts a third off off-peak train tickets and tube fares. Some banks, such as Santander, will give you a free railcard if you open a student bank account with them as well as other perks – so it’s worth having a good research before deciding which bank account to go ahead with.
Generally, at the start of your university degree, your department may recommend you buy some textbooks or other reading. Please, for the sake of your bank account, do not order anything until you check your university library! These textbooks can be far too expensive and/or not very useful, so check all libraries before you go ahead with anything.
UNiDAYS is a fantastic app that gives you student discounts in food & drink, fashion, technology all the way to health and fitness! All students above the age of 16 can qualify for a UNiDAYS account; all you need is your institutional email address (college/sixth form or university email) to sign up. In some U.K. stores, it is also worth asking if they offer student discounts as some places may give you a discount upon showing your University ID card.
These habits can take a while to adapt to, but they are worth following. As mentioned, the Money Saving Expert website will be your best friend when it comes to all money matters, so definitely have a look at it as soon as you can!
Written by Sinem Ishlek
Sinem is an undergraduate reading Development Studies at SOAS, University of London and enjoys socialising and exploring different cultures through cooking. She mainly writes about personal development and student life, aiming to guide motivated young women.