As a survivor of 4 long, long years at University, there are many things that I could complain about. The main one would have to be money. For a good while, I didn’t have any, so I had to learn how to save money and stretch out what I did have.
1. Take advantage of being a student
Along with the usual student discounts in bars or restaurants for example, there are some places where you can get really good deals on essential studenty things. The best one that I’ve noticed is an apparent oversight by Microsoft. Their Office Home & Student, for 1 computer, with Word, Excel, OneNote & PowerPoint is available for £109.99 at the time of writing this. Also available is Office 365 University, for 2 computers and multiple tablets and includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneDrive, Publisher, Access, OneNote and Outlook all for the mighty fine price of £59.99. Why? I don’t know. All you need to be to get this deal, is a valid student, which you probably are if you’re reading this article. It’s important to take advantage of such offers; you just have to look for them. Another good thing to keep an eye out for is the NUS Extra card. It only costs £12 and will get you discounts and special offers on a whole bunch of stuff and is definitely worth investing in.
2. Get the correct bank accounts
Yes, that is purposely meant to be plural. A lot of people will tell you that having a student bank account is the best way to go, and for the most part they are right due to the interest free overdrafts and what not. What I will also suggest to do is have another current account, a paid one. “Wait...” you ask, “I thought we were trying to save money, not spend more of it!” we are. We definitely are trying to save here. With these paid for accounts, you get all sorts of perks. This one that I used (and still use) from Clydesdale Bank is a perfect example. It gives me mobile phone insurance, travel insurance and discounts & cash back at my local Asda (and other supermarkets) as well as many other perks. It was ideal for a student, and it is still very relevant for me. Although you are paying money for the account, you would have to pay for the perks that come with it. This way is a lot cheaper, and they have bailed me out many times, especially the mobile phone insurance. There are many accounts like this, so shop around and find one that suits you, but they are definitely worth it.
3. Plan ahead
This is just generally good advice, for anyone. But in this instance, I’m talking about food! Food is part of the three things that we need to survive; food, water and caffeine (obviously), so it’s important that you think about it properly. Some people do a weekly shop, others take a monthly trip to the grocers, whatever your preference is, make sure you plan and budget accordingly. It’s very easy to go into a super market, all guns blazing, and just to make random impulse buys, buying stuff you don’t need and wasting money. If you know what you’re going in for and stick to your plan/list, then you will most likely stick to your food budget and you’ll just see the savings mount up. Also, very importantly, never shop on an empty stomach!
4. Packed Lunches
Packed Lunches, remember them? Traditionally, a wee sandwich, carton of juice a bit of fruit and a biscuit. Your mother gave you it every day in school (or at least mines did) and do you know why? Because mothers are very wise people, whether you want to believe it or not. They are the masters of saving, and we should take a leaf out of their book. Think about it, you’re going to be in your place of study for at least 30 weeks out of the year, and if you go out to lunch or even to the cafes on campus, it’s easy to spend a lot of money. Think about it; “Do you want to go to lunch?” “Yeah, sure! Let me just lift some money.” So, you lift £10 because that’s the minimum, buy your lunch, then you’ve got all this change. This change then goes to buying Red Bulls or Starbucks. Don’t lie, you know it does. Maybe not every time, but a lot of the time it does, and if you did do this every day, that’s £1500 right there! £1500! Packed lunches are a lot more economical, more nutritious, and the best thing about them is that they are completely personalised.
5. Don’t Buy Textbooks from the Institution
Seriously, don’t do it! The markup is ridiculous. One of the best pieces of advice I ever got during University, which surprisingly came from a lecturer, was to use this website when I had to buy a textbook for a module. It’s essentially the Compare the Market for used text books. Type in the Author, Title & any other details you have, and it searches several platforms to find you the best prices for used copies of the book you need. I used it several times, and each time the book, although not pristine, was more than readable, a few times there was actually some quite handy notes scribbled on pages. I’d definitely recommend this site. It can save you a lot of money. AND if the book is in fact in decent condition, you can always sell it on again. I wouldn’t sell them online though, what to do is put up flyers/notices outside the bookshop advertising the book for less than the store price, but more than you paid for it. This could be seen as by some people as a real easy way of getting their textbooks for that year (most institutions tend to stick to the same books) and they will be getting a bargain, but you might also manage to make a small profit off the books. Everyone is happy!
Know of any other money saving tips for students? Let us know in the comments!
My name is Chris and I’m a 25 year old guy who’s not long out of University. I love football and through my time at Uni I had to be quite frugal, so I decided to mesh these together to create my blog, Spend It Like Beckham. I write about financially related football (and other sports) stories while giving out money saving advice to the best of my ability.
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