We all know how tight money can be at university- there’s a reason for the student stereotype of beans on toast for every meal! But despite the stereotype, there are ways that you can save money at university so that you can spend more on the things that matter, and keep costs down.
University is likely to be the first time you’ll be away from home, and so it’s a great time to learn some great financial habits for the future.
Set A Budget
Setting a budget is probably the best thing you can do to set yourself up for financial success at university. If you start by looking at your fixed monthly and weekly costs, you can figure out how much you would ideally like to spend each month.
Consider how much you need to pay in rent, utilities, and other fixed expenses. Fixed expenses are things that you pay out for every week, month or term. No matter what. Once you know how much these expenses are, you can figure out what’s left over.
The money that is left over is what you have left to budget with for food, entertainment, travel and fun! Sometimes you might even be saving for your future- like saving up to do an internship. If you stick to a budget, you’ll hopefully leave university without any additional credit card debt or overdraft to pay off.
Take a look at this guide to great budgeting apps for students to get more ideas about how to manage a budget from your phone!
Look Out For Great Deals
Keep your eyes peeled for any promotional deals that you can make the most of. That can be anything from drinks deals at the student union or deals on travel.
It’s also a good idea to find great deals on shopping too- head to Lidl or Aldi to find low cost groceries. You’ll soon find that shopping at Sainsbury’s or Waitrose is going to be far too expensive for your student budget!
Meal Planning and Batch Cooking
Food is going to be a big expense at uni no matter what. The only option is to try and minimise the amount that you spend on groceries, without missing out on key nutrients!
Meal planning is where you plan out your meals for the week ahead of time. This helps keep costs down because you reduce food waste and don’t need to rely on convenience shopping. You will always pay more for convenience.
Batch cooking is where you cook several portions of a meal at once- maybe chilli or bolognese sauce for example. You then freeze the leftover portions to eat at a later date. Again, this avoids food waste and means that you have food ready-made in the house on those nights when you just feel like ordering a takeaway.
If you can start practicing frugal living habits now as a student, it’ll stand you in good stead for the future as you’ll know how to live on less should you wish to!
Buy Second Hand
Look on your university Facebook groups and on online marketplaces like eBay or Gumtree to find second hand textbooks. You will save a fortune. You’ll only be using the text books for a short time, so it’s a good idea to get these books for as little as possible to help save money.
You can also look to places like Depop to find great second hand clothing, and even head to the charity shops to find some brilliant second hand clothing at a fraction of the cost of something new.
Get A Student Card
A student card is the best thing you can get to help save you money whilst you’re a student. Make sure that you make the most of it- there won’t be another time that you’ll be able to get such good discounts!
Use these tips and you’ll be sure to find that university seems more affordable- you’ll suddenly feel able to have a little more flexibility with your money, and worries about student debts will be eased.