You’ll have a better idea of what your student budget will look like after you’ve applied for student finance and learned how much maintenance assistance you’re eligible for.
You could possibly supplement this with:
- Bursaries, scholarships, or other financial assistance based on your individual circumstances.
- From a summer and/or weekend job prior to starting university
- Helping hand from family, such as paying your phone bill or going grocery shopping while you’re at university.
- Working part-time at the university once.
- or taking part in paid research.
Even with this extra cash, your income may fall short of your outgoings, especially since tuition does not cover rent, bills, or study expenses.
If that’s the case, you’ll have to be creative in order to make ends meet.
Here are some tried-and-true money-saving tips to assist you in lowering your student expenses.
Get a student travel card.
- The sooner you determine your weekly schedule, the sooner you can decide whether to purchase a weekly, monthly, or even termly travel ticket to get around at university.
- This is almost always less expensive than buying individual single tickets, but do the math first.
- Consider how often you plan to return home. A student railcard can significantly reduce the cost of taking the train or coach.
- Finally, find out if there is any financial assistance available to explicitly subsidize transportation costs for required placements as part of your degree.
Buy your books second-hand.
- As part of your course, you will almost certainly be given a long list of books to purchase.
- Most tutors would expect you to purchase all of them, but it’s worth double-checking how many are required (and how many are nice-to-haves).
- Find out if you can borrow any necessary books from your library or if the relevant sections are free to download online. Many classic literacy texts, for example, are freely available on the internet.
- You can also use Google Scholar, a database engine that can be used to search for academic resources on the internet and links to where they can be found – you might be able to read the excerpt you need without paying for it.
Shop in the appropriate places.
- Look for lower-priced items in supermarkets both on and off campus; items are frequently marked down near the end of the day. Despite their convenience, campus stores can be more expensive than other retailers.
- Find out which supermarkets are in your area and shop around for the best prices on specific items. Some may promise to match the price if you find an item cheaper elsewhere.
- Plan your nights out ahead of time.
- It won’t take you long to discover which bars and clubs host frequent student events during the week.
- Take advantage of these chances because non-students also go out on the weekends, which often means higher prices and more crowds.
- You might be able to enter for free or at a discounted rate if you put your name on a guest list or arrive earlier than the designated time.
- Don’t be afraid to suggest staying in and watching a movie if money is tight or you’re just not in the mood.
Reduce your energy bills
- Only those who rent privately are affected; if you live in a residence hall, your rent already includes energy.
- Think about ways to save energy to lower your bills, like cooking with your roommates or setting your heater to turn off when no one is home.
As a student, think about working part-time.
- The number of opportunities there are for students to make money may surprise you. These aren’t your typical retail or waiting jobs (although if you’re studying in a big city, you should have plenty of those as well).
- Working as a mystery shopper or providing quick online answers in exchange for minute payments are two additional ways to earn money. The money you make from these jobs can add up quickly and fit into your schedule.
- Any ads that seem too good to be true should be avoided. Contact the student services office at your university if you have any questions because it could be a hoax.
Take part in university research
- Students who are looking for volunteers to participate in experiments or studies as part of their course may post advertisements around campus.
- Don’t let the ominous word ‘experiment’ scare you away. These aren’t always the doctors and nurses who show up at the beginning of gory zombie movies.
- Before agreeing to anything, make sure you understand the specifics.
- It could be something as simple as being interviewed or observed while attempting to complete a specific task.
Make your own meals.
- Rather than going shopping on the spur of the moment or on an empty stomach, try to plan your meals for the week and stick to a shopping list. When you enter a supermarket hungry and without a plan, you are more likely to make impulse purchases, be swayed by a phony ‘bargain,’ or buy too much of anything (that will end up going to waste).
- Cooking from scratch rather than relying on microwave dinners or takeaways will save you a significant amount of money. Make a large batch, take the leftovers to college, and freeze the rest for later.
Never hesitate to ask about student discounts.
- This includes restaurants, retail stores, exhibitions, museums, and other kinds of activities. Keep your Totum card or student ID on you at all times.
- It’s common knowledge that students aren’t exactly wealthy, so don’t be afraid to ask or feel like you’re being cheap by doing so.
- When purchasing tickets online, check to see if the company offers a student discount.
- Check out our guide to the best student discounts and where to find them.
Get on your bicycle.
- Living in a small town or city may allow you to commute by bike or on foot, both of which are low-cost options that also make it easy to stay fit.
- When you live on campus your first year, you may not spend as much money on transportation, but this may increase dramatically if you move into a house or flat in town your second year.
- When discussing where you want to live with your potential roommates, keep this in mind that even though being in the center of town will make it simpler to get home after nights out, it might be a problem if you have to drive to campus for classes most days.
Make use of budgeting apps.
- To keep tabs on your spending, take into consideration using a free budgeting tool.
- These apps can combine all of your accounts and employ algorithms to reduce your spending without interfering with your regular routine.
- Some also allow you to divide your money into pots and jars in order to earn more rewards on your purchases.
- Check out the guide to budgeting apps