[Hannah Bicknell | Features Editor]
What they say about money and trees is true – unfortunately. So when it comes to saving money there is a lot more you can do than you realise. We have put together a list of helpful tips and tricks that will allow you to get the best deals whilst still getting the most out of your experience. After all, university is expensive enough without needing to part with an arm and a leg for your home comforts.
- BUY SUPERMARKET OWN BRAND – Instead of the brands, such as Heinz, because they’re just as good and sometimes healthier, but you should always check label.
- MAKE MEALS IN BULK AND FREEZING THEM IN INDIVIDUAL PORTIONS – Having food such as stews, pasta sauces and fish pies frozen means you only need to buy the essentials when you shop. This trick can last up to 3 months depending on how much food you make to freeze. (TIP: You can buy takeaway foil containers from Poundland/99p Stores.)
- DON’T FOOD SHOP ON AN EMPTY STOMACH – All seasoned students will know that if you’re hungry and go on a food shop, you will buy ten times more than what you need. Have a sandwich and take a list to avoid unnecessary purchases.
- USE SKYPE TO CALL HOME/FRIENDS – Not only is it free, but the video chats to family and friends will help with the homesickness, which means you won’t have to spend a fortune on travel to see them.
- DON’T GET A TV – STREAM ONLINE – A TV licence is an expensive luxury and one that many students choose to opt out of buying due to the fact that it doesn’t cost them anything to watch their programs on catch up online. The only catch to this is that it is illegal to stream programs that are being shown live without a licence.
- BUY A PRINTER – You can print in the LRC but there are charges that apply, so it is cheaper overall to buy a printer that will last you throughout your time at uni. The cost of the ink will still be cheaper than paying for the printing charges.
- DON’T BUY MUSIC – USE SPOTIFY OR PANDORA – If you have an NUS card you can enjoy 50% off a Spotify Premium subscription, so it will only cost you £4.99 a month for all the music you’ll ever need.
EVEN MORE STUDENT MONEY SAVING TIPS:
- NUS CARD – It is £12 a year or you can buy one that lasts for up to 3 years. It provides students with over 170 savings on top brands all across the UK. You can get one either through www.nus.org.uk or the Students’ Union reception.
- GET A 16-25 RAILCARD – You may think you won’t need one but trust us, when you’re going to festivals, visiting friends at other universities or doing anything that involves travel when you don’t have a car, this will be your saving grace. You get 1/3 off all rail fares. (TIP: If you have an NUS card you can get a 12% discount on the price of the railcard making it £26 for the whole year!)
- DON’T BUY NEW BOOKS – RENT, BORROW OR BUY SECONDHAND INSTEAD – At the start of term you will be given the inevitable, dreaded reading list full of books you’ll need over the year. Depending on your course, some of these books can really break the bank. We suggest getting to the library early (first week of term), scouring Ebay, nicking them off a sibling/friend and, if after all that, you really can’t find the text book anywhere, only buy a new one after a little price comparison. But watch out for the sneaky postage costs!
- COLLECT ALL SPARE CHANGE – All those copper and silvers might not be much use on a night out but if you take an empty jam jar and put a few coins in it every day it will soon add up. Just make sure you wash out the jam jar first!
TOP TIPS FROM ADVICE & SUPPORT AT UNI:
- BUDGET BUDGET BUDGET! – Prepare a plan to help you avoid overspending. (TIP: Once you have budgeted, put money aside in envelopes. For example, food shopping money so that you can see what you have left over rather than using a card if you are not used to online banking.)
- WATCH OUT FOR CREDIT CARDS – You will be offered credit cards, store cards and a student overdraft but think carefully before accepting them. If you need to borrow money only use interest free facilities.
- GIVE UP SMOKING – Smoking is an expensive habit and depending on how much you smoke in a day, quitting could really save you some money. The University’s campus pharmacy on College Lane runs a smoking cessation support service, which provides expert advice about managing cravings and helps you with the process of giving up in a way that is suitable for you.
BONUS TIP: GET HELP – Student support officers are available throughout the year to provide guidance and financial advice, they can be found on the ground floor of the Hutton Hub building on the College Lane Campus. If you would like any advice on budgeting, help on managing your money or have any pressing questions, you can reach them at: Financialfirstname.lastname@example.org