Handling your finances as a student can be tricky under normal circumstances. With the cost-of-living crisis around us at every turn, it can seem very difficult to make your money last until that next loan instalment. However, you are not alone and there is a lot of support out there to help you on your way! We have compiled some of the best tips and tricks used by current students that help their money go further while still letting them have fun!
One of the first places students spend money besides rent is on groceries, and this can be one of the first places you are able to save money.
Firstly, look at the supermarkets you are shopping in. Are you shopping in budget stores, or are you going to more high-end supermarkets? If you are doing the latter, that could be the first swap you make!
We appreciate not everything is available at budget stores, and not everyone has access to stores like Aldi and Lidl. In these scenarios, it is definitely worth signing up to any reward schemes that supermarkets offer. Whether you build up points that can be used elsewhere as vouchers, or get money off your shopping, it can all help.
Next, take a look at the brands you often buy when you do your food shopping. Do you often go for the top branded food? If you do, you might find other brands available that have the same, if not better-quality food, for a lot less money. There have been many TV shows and documentaries like ‘Eat Well for Less’ that have looked into this and have proved right in many circumstances – if that isn’t enough, they even give you quick and simple recipes you can do with the leftovers in your fridge!
Meal planning can be really helpful when it comes to saving some money. Before you do your food shop, plan out your meals for the week and think about the ingredients you need for each meal as well as how long you want that meal to last you (e.g., are you batch cooking a particular meal). That way, when you do your food shop you have a plan of action and aren’t buying lots of random ingredients that you don’t yet know what you are going to do with.
No matter the circumstances, we all want a treat every once in a while. However, this doesn’t have to mean spending £20 on a takeaway on a Friday night. Instead, it is worth using apps like ‘Too Good To Go’ where shops, restaurants, bakeries, and more will advertise ‘magic bags’ if they have any food that will be going to waste at the end of the day. They are sold at a heavily reduced price and can often have a range of different items in them depending on where they are from. It’s a win-win scenario, by saving the magic bags you can have a cheap treat from some of your favourite places to eat, and you are preventing food from going to waste. Supermarkets have also jumped on the bandwagon and are selling grocery magic bags!
If we are taking about cheap food, then we might as well add FREE food to the mix. ‘OLIO’ is a really good app to get free food from people in your local area known as food waste heroes! By doing this, you can bag yourself some fresh ingredients that supermarkets have given to the food waste heroes, so it’s worth checking the app most days to see what you can get!
We all want to treat ourselves to that new pair of jeans or shoes occasionally, however this can also be expensive! Apps like ‘Vinted’ are a brilliant way to bag yourself some new clothing through buying from other people. You can find some incredible deals on high quality items, for a fraction of the price you would pay in store! It is also an excellent way to make yourself back some money, just by decluttering your wardrobe and selling anything you no longer want or wear.
Thrifting is a great way to get that new look without paying high-end prices. Be sure to check out second-hand clothing stores and charity shops for some deals, especially if you’re looking for that vintage look!
We all already know about student discounts and just how good they can be. This is just your little reminder to check out the different discounts available on apps like ‘Unidays’, ‘Student Beans’ and also ‘Totum’. It is also worth checking at your favourite restaurant, high-street and shops even if they aren’t on the apps as they might still have offers exclusively for students. I heard recently that Nandos have joined the student discount club…
Boosting your income/Financial Help:
Having that extra bit of cash in your pocket can go a long way as a student, especially when your loan is stretching a lot less due to increased prices everywhere. A part-time job while studying can be a great way to boost your income and make things that little bit easier. There are so many different jobs available for students studying in higher education up and down the country. If you are looking to get a job, then your university campus is a brilliant place to start! Have a look and see if there are any jobs going in the bars, pubs, social clubs and shops. Most universities also offer a Student Ambassador Programme to help on and off campus at various events. These are often paid a particularly good wage and you only sign up to work when you are available! University employers as a whole are very appreciative of the fact you are a student who is there primarily to study, so they are normally much more flexible with your availability and want to help you out as much as possible.
If you are in the situation of true financial hardship and need some help until that next loan instalment or payday, then it’s worth checking your institution for a financial hardship scheme. Every institution has them in one way or another, but they work slightly differently depending on where you are studying. In some institutions they are similar to a grant, meaning you will never have to pay the money back, while at others they are presented as a loan. In all cases, you normally have to present some evidence to prove that you are in a hardship. If you contact the student support services at your institution, they will be able to help you and tell you what you need to do.
Universities and external providers also offer a whole range of scholarships, bursaries and grants to help you along with your studies. Some are given for showing academic or sporting excellence, while there are others you can just apply for. This is money that you never have to pay back and can range anywhere between around £50 to £2000 or more. It is definitely worth doing an online search for the different scholarships and bursaries available both at your university and elsewhere, you never know what you might be eligible for, and you won’t know unless you apply!
There are also other aspects within your everyday life that can help you save money. Mobile phone providers and various banks have certain benefits and deals available to their customers. These can include discounts for certain restaurants, brands, and travel providers; free cinema or excursion tickets; free coffees at certain chains and more! Banks also have many in-app schemes to help you save money. Functions including money-pots and rounding up can help you put money aside, or even save money without you having to do anything. This way, you can pay for your essentials and then squirrel away the money you have ‘rounded-up’ to allow yourself that little extra treat on a rainy day!
For more information and advice, click the links below for cost-of-living information available to students studying at NSSW partner university and colleges:
Use the following links for more general advice: