Sophia Bi (student at UCLan) shares her top tips on saving money whilst at university
Whether it’s your first or your third fresher’s week, the temptation to spend is everywhere. Most students tend to overspend and get trapped in the danger zone whilst at university so here are my top 5 tips for old and new students alike on how to save money whilst at university.
Food - Just because you’re a student on a budget it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy yourself, shops like Aldi provide not only good quality of food but it’s also cheap which is very handy. If you’re a smoker, you could be burning more money than you think, to fuel your habit. You can get a quitting kit (patches, gum, sprays and medication) for less on the NHS, otherwise e-cigs could help you stop frying your lungs while you cut back.
Rent - Always keep track on how much your weekly budget is and how much income you get as most people tend to overspend and then there left with no money for their rent at the end of the month. Don’t fall back, there’s bursaries, scholarships and grants you can apply for and there’s even the Disabled Students Allowance if you have a disability or learning disadvantage so always see if there’s anything you’re eligible for.
Necessities - As much fun it is to spend time with your friends on a night out and tempting, rather than squandering all your money on alcohol, limit yourself on how much you drink and don’t overdo it. At the start of a new term, it's likely you'll be given a list of books you'll need for your modules over the year. Depending on your course, some textbooks can be overly expensive and sometimes the books you really need from the library are already taken out or it’s on a short loan so your left waiting. Instead of buying them brand new when you only need to use it for a couple of weeks, try and find a second hand one from another previous student online, it’s much cheaper and could save you some money along the way. Vital Source is a great site to go on that helps you loan the e- version of textbooks for up to a year and for up to 50% less than buying the text new.
Travel - You can also save money whilst travelling by purchasing a student 16-25 railway cards to lock in a third off rail fares. It will cost you £30 for a year so you can explore anywhere and save money at the same time. If you travel by bus, there’s that a student bus pass usually works out cheaper (if you’re entitled to disability support, you might get the funds to help you pay for a pass). Uber is a mobile taxi app that has become very popular amongst students; it saves you 50% on taxi rides in most cities compared to the traditional black cabs.
Discounts - You can splash your cash and save those extra pounds at the same time by getting yourself the number 1 student discount card. The NUS Extra Card provides over 200 UK discounts online and in store and the best thing is, it’ll cost you only £32 for three year card, what a bargain! If you don’t want to pay at all for discounts, you can still use your student ID to get discounts everywhere, from clubs, restaurant’s to cinemas.