We all know that education is the main point of university but the learning doesn’t stop when you leave the lecture hall. For many, moving to university is your first taste of the real world, and with that independence comes financial responsibility. It doesn’t have to be scary though. Here are some great money saving tips to get you or your children through university (without missing out on the fun).
Walk as much as you can
Sometimes, you have no choice but to get public transport, and we by no means are suggesting that you risk your safety to save an extra few pounds, but where possible, walking is a great way to save on transport costs.
Buy second hand books
Academic books are shockingly expensive, even from a university bookshop, so try to get as many second hand as possible. Ebay is a good option as well as student Facebook groups where you can buy them off people further along in their degree. It may even be worth holding off until you after you start lectures as the suggested books could be available in the library or may not even be necessary at all.
Find out where offers great food and drink deals
One of the biggest joys of being a student is being able to take advantage of awkwardly timed happy hours and lunch deals while most of the world are at work. Make a note of all of the best deals for each day of the week and plan accordingly. There really is no reason to shut yourself in your room in the name of saving money, as long as you’re smart about your social activities.
Plan your food shopping
We’ve all been there. Heading to the supermarket unprepared, spending £60, then getting home to realise that yes, you’ve bought a lot of food, but none of it will actually make a meal. Check online to see what offers are on and then make a plan for the week. It means you’re way less likely to spend money on those mouldy carrots you never found a use for and saves you from a “whatever’s in the cupboard” meal of pasta and ketchup.
Keep on top of budgeting from the outset
It’s very easy to get excited when you see your student loan hit your account at the start of each term, but remember this needs to last several months. It seems fine to go to that fancy restaurant, take a weekend trip or even just buy brand name food at this point, but what will that mean for the end of term? If you start budgeting early you’ll have more chance of avoiding that end of year panic when all of the money has miraculously disappeared.
This is true for everything really but can be particularly important when it comes to things like utilities and broadband. Many companies offer special introductory deals and even student discount so chances are you’ll lose out by picking the first one you see. That being said, be sure to read the small print and don’t sign a contract for longer than you need.