University life often conjures images of baked beans on stale toast, Primark clothes and Tesco Value lemonade…..but it doesn’t have to be! As we’re moving further into the second semester and our student finance loan is rapidly starting to disappear, here are some top tips on how to make the money go a bit further and still live comfortably (as far as it’s possible at uni anyway)!
1) Good old weekly offers
Half price toothpaste? Buy one get one free toilet rolls? For items with long shelf life it’s a great idea to bulk buy when the price is good. It costs slightly more to buy the items initially but saves you loads of money in the long term when you aren’t forced to buy your favourite shampoo for the twice the price when you’ve run out, and also saves the ‘horror’ of having to switch from L’Oréal to Tesco Value.
2) “Quick – sales”
All the major supermarkets have up to two or three ‘quick-sales’ each day where fresh produce items are often heavily discounted as they’re close to going out of date. The products are still perfectly edible and often products such as meat can be frozen for another day. Try locating this little corner of discount heaven and start buying items for a fraction of the cost! After all, when “Tesco Finest” ready meals cost less than “Tesco Value”, what’s not to love?
3) Student Codes
Shops often love the business that students generate. With the Unidays app or your u-card, you can make your £9000 student status go slightly further by claiming up to 30% discount in shops and a free burger/ice cream with value meals in McDonalds. Your handy little u-card doesn’t just give you access for the library but gives discounts that sometimes means that you can buy those perfect River Island jeans for the same price as full price Primark jeans.
Always try and share a taxi with as many friends as possible to split the cost. You can order taxi for up to six people from City Taxis for the same standard mileage fare. Also, if you’re a female travelling alone or as a small group at night and you’re near the IC then you can always get the women’s minibus which even drops you outside your door for only £1.50!
5) Nights Out
Buying your own drinks from a supermarket or off-licence will often be cheaper than drinks at clubs. If you have a good pre-drinks party then you often won’t need to buy too many drinks at the club and remember that water is provided by clubs for free. Signing up for guest lists and entry before 11pm will often save you a couple of pounds and if you’re going out for birthday celebrations, check club websites such as Plug offer free entry for the birthday girl/boy and a friend, as well as a free bottle of wine.
6) Train tickets
Train tickets can cost up to £100. Book in advance for discounts and if you’re a student with a Santander account then remember to use your railcard for up to a 1/3rd off fares. If you’re flexible with times, check prices for different trains because you can often save more than 50% by simply travelling an hour later or earlier to avoid the most popular trains…
7) Second-hand books
Every semester, new books cost a fortune… If there isn’t much difference between different editions, or you’ll be using the same edition as the year group above, then look into purchasing second-hand books. Within different academic departments, societies often organise events for older students to sell their old books. Keep an eye out for these as you can often buy clean copies for around half the RRP price. Amazon and Ebay are also great for selling cheaper second-hand revision guides.
8) Feedback sessions
You know when you get those rather annoying e-mails about feedback questionnaires/group sessions? Well, take a quick look before you delete. It’s becoming increasingly common for vouchers to be given in exchange for ‘vital feedback’. In a spare hour between lectures you could be making your opinion heard within the university and receive a £10 voucher at the same time!
Feel free to tweet me any other top tips for being money savvy! @stefstefahora