Oh hey remember that mini series I'm doing about students? Today for one week only it's replaced my Friday Favourites but don't panic (I know you're panicking), FF will be back for a bumper fortnight issue next week. Hooray.
If you're a college student, a Fresher or in your last year, we all know being a student can be expensive, I mean, I've had my student loans statement through, it's HELLA expensive. During my three years at university I prided myself on being in control of my finances and budgeting and whilst I made some uhm, less than wise purchases (hello iphone iny my first week), I managed to save over a grand by the time the loans ran out.
Here's a few little tips to help you look after the pennies without spending all the pounds.
Like, it's the most simple sounding thing but it takes a lot of discipline to actually budget when there's suddenly a few grand in your bank account. Student loans come in three times a year and it's easy to blow your budget in the first few weeks and find out you're struggling at the end of the year. The best advice I can give is to open a second bank account, preferably one someone else has access to to track when you're withdrawing from it, and put your loan in there. Every month work out what you need to spend and set up a standing order to transfer it to your current account so you can budget more effectively.
2. Get A Student Bank Account.
Student bank accounts are an absolute must when it comes to managing your money. Student living is hard there's no doubts about it and you need to know your bank isn't going to surprise you with any cheeky charges if you're a bit short one month. Research student bank accounts (which do a good comparison table) and see which one benefits you the most but definitely get a free overdraft.
3. Get A Student Card.
Your university will provide you with one of these anyway which will get you 10% or so off in a lot of places but I'd 100% recommend buying an NUS Extra card too. It's £30.00 (I think) and you get the money back in no time with all the extra discounts it gets you. From travel insurance, money off railcards, money off student cinema tickets plus extra discounts on shops and food, it's a life saver. Seriously, I never shopped without a discount. Also Apple, Windows and PC World/Currys often do student deals which is often pretty hefty.
4. Get A Railcard.
Similarly, if you're travelling by train a lot I'd get a railcard from National Rail. There's a whole variety of different ones but the 16-25 one is what I've had for nearly 8 years now. They're a bit expensive off the cuff but if you're travelling home on the trains it really adds up and you make the money back and more.
5. Book Trains In Advance.
This one is life saving. If you can, plan when you're going home or wherever it is you're off and book in advance. The price of train tickets can more than triple if you pay on the day and what used to cost me £30.00 home every time would've cost me £80.00 if I had planned. I appreciate sometimes you just can't plan or you just don't know but for things like holidays or reading weeks, you're likely to know the dates in advance so book book book.
6. Plan Your Weekly Meals.
And never go shopping when you're hungry. It's so boring and I hated doing it but planning what I needed at the shops kept me from over spending on shit food. I mean, treat yo damn self but don't forget to get the essentials like bread and milk and try and make big meals that you can put in the fridge or freezer to eat more than once.
7. Take Your Lunch.
Everyone says this so I'm not going to dwell but taking a flask and a packed lunch rather than buying a coffee and a meal deal in class will save you so much petty cash. It all adds up.
8. Combine Shopping.
There were some things me and my flatmates doubled up on and shared and just halving the costs or paying alternate weeks makes a small bit of difference that adds up. Things like laundrette fees, washing up liquid, bin bags and toilet rolls don't need to be bought every week and don't need to be rationed to just one person. Let's be real, you don't need 6 bottles of fairy liquid in the flat.
What tips saved you the dollar through university? Share with us in the comments!