Life as a student can be quite tough, especially when it comes down to saving. You are always counting what it’s left, but never understanding how to manage your finances better. Recently, we have talked about how to set a weekly budget, which is something that every University student has. What we want to cover today are a few points that can make your life easier, starting with food.
#1 – Buy food first
This should be a must. Students are spending on average £85 a week on rent, eating is the second greatest weekly expenditure. My tip would be to do food shopping on Monday. If you have a weekly budget, this gives you more control and lets you understand where your money is going. £24 is the average students are spending on their weekly grocery shop.
Choose wisely where you shop, each brand has different prices and if you want to save, you need to be extremely picky. I spent my second and third year buying food at Sainsbury’s, because I was living next to a massive one. After relocating, for my 4th year, I started going to Tesco, but a quick switch to Lidl made my food expenses drop instantly. Me and Antonio, my co-founder, used to call food shopping a military raid, because with £25 at Lidl you can get anything you want.
#2 – Go crazy over discounts
You are a student, which means you can get a discount pretty much everywhere. A lot of the shops won’t even advertise it, so always ask, there is nothing wrong with it. I still remember getting a student discount, with my Manchester University card, while buying a ticket for the Colosseum in Rome. The whole world, regardless of where you are, acknowledges you are a student; so use this opportunity as long as you are one.
You can also get a NUS extra card, which comes with a lot of different shops, or join a few of the biggest students discount sites.
#3 – Get a travel card
If you are an international student, this is not worth the tip. The advice would be get low cost flights, if you are in Europe. On the other hand, if you are a British student who has just relocated, you need to get a travel card as soon as possible. You can get the 16-25 Railcard, which was designed for young people in full-time education. This card can be purchased for one or three years, and gives you a third off of rail journeys across the UK. Fancy going back home over the weekend?
The card also gives you access to different partnership offers and competitions.
#4 – Use the library
When I went to Uni, over four years, I didn’t have to buy a single book. My department was well furnished and they were constantly providing us with lecture slides, already printed. It was like magic. 😉 However, this is not the situation my friends were in.
If you really need books, look for used ones. You can ask on Facebook groups, from the previous years, if anyone is selling their books; or better, use the library. This is your biggest asset. My Uni had more or less 4 million books and I saw people spending literally days locked in.
It might also be the case your own department has a “personal library”, this can be extremely helpful and makes you avoid the main one.
#5 – Drink before you leave the house
You are a student. Friday and Saturday are magic nights out (yes, even Mondays), but the point is alcohol is expensive. This can destroy your liver, but also your weekly budget. If you want to be cheap, drink with friends, before going into a club, and you will save a fortune. You can still buy beer in stock, which is always a good thing. 🙂
You can take small actions to start saving today; it’s all about wanting it. Nothing happens like magic, unless you are Harry Potter.