Are you starting college or are you a university student
With no idea about how to save money or budget? Or are you a student right now looking for some money saving tips and hacks?
Well, you have come to the right place! During my first and second year of university, I had horrible spending habits that left me consistently trying to make ends meet. In my last year of university, I decided that I would turn my negative spending habits into positive spending habits.
Deciding to change my spending habits allowed me to:
– Go on holiday (Bulgaria and Scotland)
-Avoid my overdraft
-Have money to spend on things I want!
These are only some of the positive things I have seen happen to me, and I am sure there are countless other benefits from changing your spending habits.
So what are some of the top money saving tips for students?
1. Stick To Your Budget
I know this is an obvious one, but I promise you, this is the most significant money management/saving tip you need for university and life! As a result of sticking to your budget, you can avoid the stress of searching for money, needing to take more hours at work or having to call your parents…again.
I would recommend that you create a weekly and monthly budget that reflects your current spending. Ensure, you leave leeway into your budget for possible overspending and emergencies. By doing this, you won’t always worry about losing money.
2. Avoid Corner Shops
Compared to your supermarket, corner shops on average are usually more expensive. I know going to your local corner shop to pick up that milk quickly is comfortable, but in the long run, it racks up so much money.
The Liverpool echo, did specific research into this, comparing the prices of food in a corner shop versus Tesco, and found a 20% price difference on certain food items. While, this might not seem a lot, when you’re on a tight budget, this could make a huge difference. Stay focused on the fact that you want to save money, and decided to commit to shopping at your supermarket.
3. Stop Buying Branded food
I promise you, unless you are acquainted with authentic gourmet Italian food, you will not taste the difference between De Cecco and Lidl Pata.
A study highlighted that our attachment to branded food comes from the mythological idea that the prestige of a brand can ‘guarantee’ the taste we want(Krishnan et al., 1989; Ubilava et al., 2011).
This is all marketing, and honestly unbranded food in local supermarkets are worth your try! Do not get played by marketing! Always choose unbranded where possible.
4. Compare Supermarkets
Now everybody talks about choosing to go to Lidl or Aldi instead of Sainsbury or Morrisons. Instead, people should mention the fact that the location of the supermarket you shop at matters too! This is such an important tip, I quickly learned this at university, when I noticed, Tesco prices of food, was so expensive in more ‘established’ and ‘affluent’ areas of the city compared to other areas.
An article by the BBC in 2018 discussed that certain supermarkets engage with ‘price flexing’ altering the price of their products based on the local living, rent and property cost of an area.
Before you do a weekly shop, take a look around your area and look at the different supermarkets, compare the cost and see the price difference, it could save you a lot of money.
5. Buy in Bulk
Now, I do not want to make this point long, but I can not emphasise how important this was in saving me money. Buying in bulk saved me money, time and fuel which I loved at university!
I am aware that some people may be sceptical about buying in bulk. However, there are three main things you must always keep in mind.
Firstly, you should only buy staple non-perishable items in bulk. So if you know that you eat pasta or rice two or three times a week, then buying those items would be wise as they are foods you heavily rely on. Also buying shaving cream, toothbrushes, notepads and other such as those in bulk would be good to buy in bulk.
Secondly, be smart with your meals, if you buy a 5KG bag of pasta, hoping it will last you a month, do not decide to have pasta, for breakfast, lunch and dinner for a week. Manage the food you have and ensure it lasts for the amount of time you intended.
Thirdly, do not be too excessive, unless you find a fantastic Groupon voucher that sells 100 toilet rolls for £4 I would advise the purchase of only 1 to 3 months worth of food, within one shopping trip.
Mainly since you will go home every 3-4 months on average and you may not have much space in your accommodation kitchen or room (if you keep your food there too).
6. Freeze Food
Now in my family home, we have a deep freezer, the kind of freezer the butchers have in the back. My mum froze everything from bread to milk, meat and even fruit and vegetables.
The reason she did this is that food lasts longer when frozen! It’s almost like freezing your food in time, it preserves your food, keeping it fresh for when you want it and need it.
Pro tip! I used to buy bread and other things going off and put them in the freezer. As a result of this, I saved me A LOT of money because I was buying food cheap that lasted long. As a general rule of thumb, frozen food will be okay in a freezer for about three months before it starts to show signs of freezer burn.
7. Find The Right Friends
Talking about friends, in an article about money management, may sound very weird. But, during my time in university, I had friends who were mindful of their money and wanted to save where possible. Because of that, whenever I could not afford to go to the cinema or go shopping for new clothes, they understood, and often decided to do alternative things with me I could afford.
We became creative and decided to do, at home cooking nights, indoor movie dates and looked for free student events. It became fun and enjoyable to save money, find friends that will not peer pressure you into spending money.
Another abnormal one, but networking is not only vital for money management but life! During my second year, I decided to network with business owners, societies, event managers and many other people. By doing this, I got invited to free networking events, society socials, gallery opening, music festivals and a TED TALK! Because I decided to connect with people, I must have saved £100 by just networking!
Networking can be awkward, nerve-racking and even long-winded, but it is so worth it! Get to talking to people!
9. Use Student Discounts
Everybody talks about unidays, but honestly, wherever you go always ask if there is a student discount, if you are an NHS student ensure you are asking too! For me though being on the three network, I was able to get £1 meals from restaurants like Bella Italia! I basically paid nothing!
Remember, every penny counts and choosing to constantly use student discounts, will ensure you not only save money, but build a positive spending habit.
10. Cook Your Own Food
I have left this till last, because it is quite obvious, but avoid always having takeout, I know you want pizza sometimes, but keep it to a minimum, and when you do want the takeaway try and split the cost by sharing with friends and using DISCOUNTS!!
I hope my money saving tips for students helped you out!