The imagination is a powerful tool. With it you can bring books to life, imagine characters from films, and create your own romances. Or whatever. But no matter how hard we try, it’s hard to imagine peas and tap water as an acceptable meal for the next three months. The imagination has its limits.
And like the imagination, most student budgets are limited too. But your cleverness is not. So let’s figure out how to stretch your budget a little bit further and get you more for your money. Here’s how to do it.
1) Get a rail card
A rail card costs £30 for the year and saves a third on all your train travel. For the locomotivated it’s a must have.
2) Use NUS Discount
So it can be a pain to get round to, but it’s smart to buy an NUS card. You can save money in plenty of high street shops as well as in restaurants, and cinemas, and other fun places too.
3) Check your bank balance
Daily. This helps you stay on track of how much you’ve spent. You can watch the numbers go up and down, and keep up with your budget.
4) Make your own food
It takes a bit more effort but, if you can strain yourself to hit the kitchen you can actually save money.
Look at chilli: a single ready meal can cost £3 -£5, but you can buy the ingredients for a week’s worth for £10 -£15.
5) Go to free entertainment
One way to keep costs down is to go to free nights out. There are plenty of free things for students to do: a night in your accommodation is great with a few close friends and a movie.
6) Buy used text books
Bring the cost of books down. Amazon and other sites are great for finding used copies, normally in perfect or decent condition. You might even be able to use an old edition. Check with your tutor to be sure.
7) Download a budget app
There are plenty of free budgeting apps out there. One of the most recommended for students is OnTrees. (Likely in part because it’s free).
8) Think about drinks
We’re not advocating drinking, but given that you’re adults, it’s pretty likely you have the occasional drink.
To save, only go to the bars you can afford or pre-drink at home. It gives you money to use on more important things.
9) Buy non-branded
A good way to bring down the shopping bill is to buy the cheaper, store own goods. The foody clever clogs at consumer reports say you can save as much as 25% and that most of the time we can’t taste the difference anyhow.
10) Get a job
If it comes to it there’s no shame in a part-time job. As well as a chance to make more friends it’s an easy way to get a bit more money.
There we have it. With these tips you’ll never have to imagine frozen vegetables as fine cuisine. Sure it’s not like you’ll have the fine dining experience. But who needs that at uni? You just need the money to be comfortable, decrease worry, and increase fun.
For more about how to make your student life an adventure, check out the advice on our blog.