Annoyingly, as your age increases so do your expenses and the need for budgeting and saving money. It can be hard finding ways to save money as a student so I’ve written a list of 5 things that you can do.
Whether you’re in school and rely on pocket money from your parents, you have a part-time job or you’re a university student learning to do everything yourself, I have 5 top tips on how to save money as a student.
These tips include everything from food and shopping to revision materials!
How to save money as a student (5 easy ways):
1. Student discounts
If you’ve downloaded my FREE PDF: 10 Apps That Every Student Needs, you’ll be aware of this one already and I hope you’ve started implementing it into your money saving ways!
As a student, you’re entitled to thousands of discounts (for shopping retailers, travel, restaurants, entertainment and more) which you can make use of all year-round. Here are my top sites/apps for student discounts with a handy link to take you straight to the websites:
2. Go digital
Ask yourself how much you spend on notebooks, flashcards and stationary each year…it’s probably quite a lot, right? One of the easiest ways to save money as a student is to go digital and stop buying study-related materials that eventually end up in the bin. Try these instead:
- Quizlet – it’s an app and website that allows you to create ‘sets’ of revision materials such as flashcards and games for free. You can share your ‘sets’ with others and download theirs too.
- Google Drive – I’m a little bit obsessed with this one, it’s pretty much Google’s free version of Microsoft Office but everything is online (app or website) and even better…things save automatically so you never have to worry about your laptop crashing and losing all your work! You can use Google Docs (like MS Word) to write notes instead of using notebooks.
3. Meal plan
If you’re in school or college then it’s likely that your parents buy and provide most of your food. However, if you’re planning to go to university or to live away from home, this is a factor of providing for yourself that you should be preparing for in advance.
I buy the groceries for myself and my boyfriend and we eat fairly healthily. We love eating out at restaurants but we’ve had to cut this down as it was getting too expensive.
I discovered meal planning and it changed my outlook on food and cooking completely! I have a blog post about healthy eating on a budget so check that out if you’re after tips on all that good stuff. You’ll also be able to download my FREE PDF: Meal Ideas, Shopping List & Meal Plan Worksheet to help you get started.
I’ve always been put off the idea of cooking a full meal each night and slaving away in the kitchen but with meal planning it’s a lot more bearable. I actually enjoy cooking now – I get a bit annoyed if we don’t end up sticking to the meal plan!
We all love freebies and the best way to get them is to find them yourself instead of waiting for them to come to you. Examples of popular freebies you can get are:
- Product samples
- Full-sized products
- Furniture & household items
I highly recommend you visit www.latestfreestuff.co.uk and sign up to the newsletter because you’ll be sent a daily email with great freebies for you to claim, it couldn’t be any easier!
For other items such as clothes and household bits, become a member of Freecycle and search for buying, selling and free groups on Facebook that are set up in your local area. You’ll find things like bags of clothes, sofas, washing machines and garden furniture on there that people just want to get rid of.
5. Make use of what you already have
Being a 18-25 year old means you get invited to a lot of events. Whether it’s going clubbing, a freshers party or your graduation ball it’s important to look the part and wear something nice.
As a teenager I got into the awful habit of buying a new outfit for every party I went to. I soon realised that:
- I’m spending a lot of money on something I’m only willing to wear once
- There’s no reason I can’t re-wear something
- Nobody else pays that much attention to my clothes that they’d comment on if I’d worn it before
- My wardrobe isn’t big enough to constantly buy new things
Based off of those factors, I learn ways to make use of what I already had, for example:
- Keep 1-2 plain coloured ‘fancy’ dresses for very special events that only happen a couple times per year
- Re-use basic items such as a black bodycon dress and make it suit the occasion by adding accessories. I’ll add my best jewellery for a special dinner out or wear the same dress and buy something like cat ears and a tail to wear with it for a costume party.
Bonus tip: A super efficient and easy way to save money as a student is by doing something called ‘skimming’. You put small amounts of leftover money into your savings account on a regular basis.
For example, if you finish the day/week with £27.42 in your account then you can put the 42p into your savings or £2.42 to make it a round amount of £27 or £25. Regular small amounts of money will soon start adding up! To learn more about this, check out this blog post.