We know the feeling. The day your student loan instalment hits your bank account you feel rich. Super rich. You promise yourself that you’ll budget this time, but by week two, your bank balance is back down to zero (if not lower) and you’re back to living on Aldi’s own noodles.
Being a little bit strapped for cash is completely normal when you’re a student, but there are a few ways to save a couple of quid here and there. Here are our top five student money saving tips.
#1 – Set yourself a weekly budget (and stick to it)
This one is pretty boring, but if you just spend half an hour working out how much you can afford to spend each week, you won’t find yourself in the red quite as often. When you know how much your loan instalment will be, add on any extra income (if you have a part-time job), take away your rent and bills, then divide by the number of weeks until your next loan instalment. Easy.
The hard part is sticking to your budget. And this is where tip #2 comes in…
#2 – Withdraw your weekly budget in cash
At the start of each week, get yourself to your nearest ATM and withdraw your weekly budget in cash. For the next week, only use cash. Don’t use your card. Once the cash is gone, it’s gone.
This one takes a fair amount of self control, but once you get used to only spending the amount you limit yourself to, you might find yourself in a position to start putting some money away for when you graduate. (I did say might, let’s just concentrate on sticking to your budget for now. Saving can come later.)
#3 – Do a ‘big shop’
Shopping for individual meals can be pretty expensive. Instead, try doing one big shop each week after having planned out you meals. This will stop you running to the nearest Maccy’s because you don’t have any food in and you’re starving. It will stop you going out and buying something that you already have in (well, most of the time). It will save you money in the long run because you’re buying ingredients that may last you for three meals rather than just the one.
#4 – Be student discount savvy
There are so many student discounts out there it can be super hard to keep track of them all. Sure, there are lists of all the places that offer students deals and discounts, but when you’re out shopping, you might just forget. The best tactic? Ask. If you don’t ask, you might not get. And the worst they can say is no. Get your hands on an NUS card as well. They only cost 12 quid and get you access to even more deals and discounts.
Just make sure that you don’t get carried away and buy things just because you get a discount.
Student offers are a great way to save money on things you’re already going to be spending money on, but it can get pretty dangerous when you convince yourself you need something just because it’s a bargain. Been there; don’t do it.
#5 – Go bills included
The key to saving money is budgeting, and the key to budgeting is knowing the date and amount of all your outgoings. This can be a problem when it comes to bills; the utility industry is a web of estimates, credit, debit, and uncertainty.
The best way to budget is by finding accommodation that’s bills included. That way, you know exactly how much money you need to put aside for rent and bills each month. You don’t need to be worrying about who turned on the heating and left it on last week when noone was even in the house – now we all need to put an extra tenner aside to cover it, damnit…
All our student properties are bills included, so if you’re serious about saving some dollar, get yourself into a Mezzino property next year.