Stating the obvious, we know, but uni can be expensive and the cost of living crisis isn’t doing anyone any favours, which is why it helps to be savvy with your spending!
In an ideal world, no one should have to choose between heating and eating, but with 1 in 4 students reportedly living off less than £50 a month after bills, we think it’s important to stay up to date with the latest student money saving tips so you’re less likely to feel the pinch.
1. Sign up for student benefits
You’re probably on this already! From student rail cards to student bank accounts, there’s a whole world of exclusive student discounts and benefits out there to grab hold of. Do your research and keep your student ID with you wherever you go – if you’re unsure whether or not a place offers student discount, always ask!
Be sure to sign up to free student money saving sites like Student Beans to find out where you can get those mega deals.
2. Bargain hunt
Whether you’re doing your weekly shop or buying your course textbooks, it’s worth shopping around. Don’t just stick with the supermarket at the end of your street, get some steps in and see what offers you can find elsewhere. According to UK consumer champion Which?, Aldi, Lidl and Asda are winning the race for cheapest supermarket based on average basket cost. Just be careful not to be taken in by those middle-aisle bargains…(okay, maybe just the air fryer).
Buying your books online? Often the digital version will cost less than print, and when you buy eTextbooks through the Kortext store you’ll benefit from competitive rates, exclusive Student Beans discounts and even have access to a host of smart, digital study tools to enhance your learning, including highlighting and notetaking, in-text searching and easy reference export.
Alessandra Natale, student at the University of Exeter, says:
Discovering Kortext was surely a changing moment throughout my academic career. This platform made it so easy for me to access my school books whenever and wherever I wanted without any trouble!
Imagine searching a whole digital book for key terms and not having to trawl through pages and pages of a print book to find the bit you need…
3. Shop and cook with your housemates
According to Save the Student’s National Student Money Survey, students spend on average £101 per month on groceries. Unless your housemate, Fred, is particularly precious about having his own bread, you can bring down your food bills by doing your weekly shop together and sharing the staples like bread, milk and eggs. Let’s face it, nobody wants to see three half-eaten loaves of bread going blue on the counter at the same time.
You can even go so far as creating a meal plan, sharing the cost of the ingredients and eating together in the evenings to save some dough. Not to mention it’ll help tackle food wastage!
Gery Borisova and Zaria Zaman, students at the University of Southampton, shared their top student money saving tips:
Preparing my lunch at home before going to the library helped me save some money without realising it as I didn’t have to spend on meal deals all the time on campus. A little really does go a long way! – Gery Borisova
Buying and cooking ingredients in bulk not only saved me time, but also money! Now I have a lot more freedom to do the things I like! – Zaria Zaman
4. Earn while you learn
For many students, part-time jobs are part and parcel of university life. In fact, the National Student Money Survey revealed that 66% of students have a part-time job to help pay for their university experience. The trick is getting the balance right between work and study, and knowing when your major course deadlines are so you can plan ahead.
If you’re looking to earn some extra cash and get discounts on your textbooks while studying, Kortext is looking for Brand Ambassadors to join its Brand Ambassador Programme for the academic year 22/23. It’s an exciting opportunity to promote Kortext’s eBookStore and represent the UK’s #1 student learning experience and engagement platform at your university, assisting us with promo activities, blog writing and social media. For more info and to apply, hit this link.
5. Create a budget plan
This is a great tip and if you master it, future you will thank you for it! The best way to stay savvy with your money is to create a budget and stick to it. This way, you can allocate money to different activities without overspending. It’s not about spoiling your fun, but more about being realistic.
There are plenty of budgeting apps out there or there’s always the trusty Excel spreadsheet!
6. Take advantage of campus facilities
House sharing with your friends can be one of the most rewarding university experiences, but it also comes with the added responsibility of bills! If you’re campus-based and worried about the cost of turning on the heating come winter time, don’t forget your university has invested in state-of-the-art buildings and facilities for you to use – so make the most of them. Take a walk to the library, spend time in the SU building and use it as an opportunity to study and socialise with friends while staying toasty (and at no cost to you).
And remember, your friends also have student houses and halls – the party doesn’t always have to be at your place. Use someone else’s heating for a change!
7. Cashback and reward sites
TopCashback, Quidco, Airtime Rewards – there’s plenty of sites out there offering cashback on everything from groceries to clothes to your mobile phone bill (just be sure to use reputable sites!). Don’t forget to check your bank account as well. Many current accounts nowadays come with added cashback rewards so you can double up on cashback with little effort.
Keen savers will learn how to double dip – using discounts and cashback to make the biggest savings!
8. Loyalty cards
Get rewarded for being a regular customer! Most supermarkets now offer free loyalty cards so you can earn discounts, vouchers and coupons based on your shopping habits.
50p off cheese? £5 off your next shop? A free coffee in store? Yes please!
9. Cheap gym membership
The gym. You either love it or you hate it, but for many the gym is an essential for staying fit and healthy, both physically and mentally. Unless you’re adamant you need to go to the ultra-modern, high-tech gym around the corner, don’t go mad on gym memberships. Chances are your university will offer discounted rates to local gyms or cheaper membership to its own facilities. Typical gym memberships range from £9.99 a month to well over £100 per month, so be sure to do your research.
Alternatively, embrace the weather, skip the gym entirely and get your exercise by walking and cycling to get around – it’s a great way to save on petrol and public transport, but you might want to invest in a rain mac!
10. Opt for the right phone plan!
Phone contracts can be expensive, so ask yourself a) if you truly need the latest model (and the price tag that comes with it) and b) if you’re on the right contract. A tip for international students – or indeed anyone hoping to avoid a long contract – if you’re worried about getting tied down, did you know you can open a no contract, pay monthly account and still get many of the perks usually associated with a contract?
Gery Borisova explains:
I really struggled finding the right phone plan. As an international student, a 24 month contract just wasn’t right for me. When I found out I could do ‘pay-as-you-go’ I did my research and it worked out a lot cheaper for me, plus I still get unlimited data, calls and texts.
And that’s it from us – 10 simple ways to save money as a student, and there’s plenty more out there.
Do you have any tips to help other students save? Comment below!