One of the big stresses at university for many people is money; or more specifically, lack of it. Especially as a student in London, money just seems to disappear. I pay rent, bills and food, and after that’s all accounted for I’m left weeping into my pillow, wishing I hadn’t chosen to study in one of the most expensive cities in the UK. So, how can you save your pennies? I’m here to share my top tips for staying out of your overdraft for as long as possible.
1. PLAN YO MEALS.
I live opposite a Sainsbury’s, so I know the temptation to just turn up to a supermarket whenever you get low on food and wander round aimlessly chucking things in your trolley. This is one of the worst things you can do for your bank balance as unless you have a magical gift of meal planning on the spot, you’ll come home with a ton of crap that will either sit in your cupboard for months on end, or go off within the week unused. It doesn’t have to take you ages; just make a list of the meals you want for the next week or whatever time frame you’re going with, and buy all the ingredients you’ll need for them. Job done: money saved.
2. Drink responsibly.
I know it’s a cliché that students spend most of their loan on alcohol, but it’s a cliché for a reason. Know your limits and make the most out of pre-drinks as possible whilst keeping safe. Also if you’re going places that charge entry, ask about student deals and see if there’s an early bird price for booking in advance.
3. Work out your disposable income.
This is a boring one, but it’s the only way I keep myself out of my overdraft. Work out how much money you need each month for necessities like rent (always over-estimate!) and then you’ll know how much extra you have for fun stuff.
4. Collect coupons/vouchers for places you frequently shop.
Sounds lame I know, and actually I don’t do this enough, but it does work. I tend to collect the vouchers they give you with extra Nectar points and stick with those as I’m a Sainsbury’s shopper, but don’t be afraid of searching for discounts online to save you some pennies!
5. Save your loose change.
I’m awful for carrying round tons of change in my purse and then offloading it on some poor cashier when I can pay for something worth £1.59 in 1p coins, but you can just as easily save it at home and then take it to the bank or to a machine at a supermarket (I know I keep harping on about Sainsbury’s but they have one!) which counts up your change and gives you the cash. It might only be a couple of quid, but money’s money!
It’s not really a tip on saving money, but my final piece of advice would be to get a job. I had a job during uni holidays in my first year which worked really well for me, and I definitely struggled more in my second year when I quit my job and had no extra income on top of my loan. Obviously everyone’s different and it depends on how much help your family will give you etc. but there’s no harm in having a little bit of extra money coming in!
I appreciate not all of this advice will be useful for every single one of you as literally everyone is in a different position when they come to uni, but I hope there is some useful advice in there for you. Once again, if you have any questions about going to uni, you can tweet me @lzythoughts, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave me a post suggestion in the comments and I’ll be sure to get back to you!
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