University students often underestimate their ability to be frugal and scrimp those few extra pounds. While calculating your expenses beforehand, paying your rent and utility bills, and walking (instead of using transport) in the frosty weather are great ways to go easy on your pocket. But, sometimes it just doesn’t cut it! Smart spending can be challenging, especially when your student loan looks like a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. But trust me, all that money barely lasts when you have to pay tuition and housing installments.
Now, bear in mind that these money-saving hacks are by no means a get-rich-quick scheme. Let’s start by figuring out how you can save up a handful of pounds each week. After all, every penny you save today is a penny you won’t have to worry about on a rainy day.
Download cashback apps
Cashback apps are the holy grail for every student looking to save money while studying abroad. Why? Only because you get great discounts and some of your money back every time you shop. Online and in-store shopping apps like Quidco and TopCashback are perfect for students who like to shop ‘til they drop! Various supermarket cashback apps also allow students to save at least a few hundred pounds each year.
Invest in a Railcard
Seems like spending money is the only way to save money in the long term. Head to your nearest train station and buy yourself a 3-year 16-25 Railcard. This will cost you only 1/3rd of what you would normally spend on each train journey. Apps like TrainSplit also help you calculate the best way to save on UK rail travel.
Hit the gym on a budget
If you’re looking to lose a few pounds without losing a few pounds, you can always head to your university gym. Most student accommodation providers also offer on-site gyms that are free of cost for residents. If that’s not an option, there are many pay-as-you-go gym memberships and services for students.
Get the best deals on Amazon
No, we’re not talking about the Amazon website. Let us introduce you to Amazon Warehouse. They offer various discounts and outlet price deals on a variety of products. Offers keep changing, so if you’re looking for something in particular, you’re going to have to be patient. But if you’re casually browsing, you might come across some steal deals.
Idealo is ideal
That’s not a typo. Idealo is the UK’s most popular price comparison website. Find and compare prices on an extensive list of products and services that you need. From household supplies, electronics, fashion, and fancy beverages, Idealo is the one destination that tracks thousands of online retailers to get you the best prices.
Did someone say free gigs?
The UK has a fabulous nightlife and entertainment scene, which means if you’re studying there, you’ve got to experience its beauty. Subscribe to event newsletters and student magazines, because you might come across early-bird discounts and even contests and giveaways for free tickets to your favorite concerts and events!
Meal prep & planning
Planning your meals is a sure-shot way to help you squirrel away your moolah. Most students end up having to discard their groceries because they turned stale and moldy. Prevent wasting food and plan your meals in advance. This ensures that you’re loaded for the week, saves time on preparing food, and is a lot more affordable.
Get a bus pass
If you commute by bus often, it’s a great idea to get a bus pass that will last you a while. For students who travel by bus every day, investing in a bus pass is a lot cheaper than buying a ticket. You can also save time instead of having to stand in long queues every time you want to take the bus.
Go to the cinema at non-peak hours
While you’re freer on the weekends as compared to on the week, going to the cinema during off-peak hours is a lot lighter on your pocket. We’re going to let you in on a little secret— cinemas slash their prices about 15 to 20 percent when they’re not busy. If you’re a movie buff and Netflix hasn’t got your movie yet, going to the cinema for a lot lesser is a great way to pass time.
Stop buying gym memberships
Your university fees are inclusive of amenities like the swimming pool and gym facilities. They cost a lot less than the high-end gyms and local fitness centers. Don’t prefer the university gyms? You can also find several pay-as-you-go gyms that provide the same equipment and space as regular gyms.
Don’t do drugs
Supporting your drug, alcohol, or smoking habit will wind you up in hefty expenses and even jail (for drugs)! Cut your smoking habit by investing in quitting kits like nicotine patches, gums, and other medication that will help you kick the butt. Recreational drugs are also bad if you’re trying to make ends meet as a student. Read How to Counter Binge Drinking and College Alcoholism.
Buy and sell on eBay
Students are always looking for ways to manage their expenses and cut costs whether they can. One way to do that is to buy and sell items on websites like eBay. If you want to go on a shopping spree but don’t wish to spend, preloved clothing in thrift stores, boot sales, and open-air markets are your best bet.
Take advantage of your student ID
Many restaurants, cafes, museums, and other recreational activities allow students to enjoy themselves at affordable prices. If you want to avail of a student discount, just flash your student ID and the rest will be taken care of. Your student ID is super powerful in the UK and helps you get discounted prices and great deals even when it’s off-season!
Planning your budget beforehand is a sure-shot way of managing expenses and not going over budget. There are many student finance management apps that help students plan out their budget and be accountable for all their spendings. As a university student, it will always be difficult to cut costs, but these simple, minuscule ways will ensure you save money wherever you can!