You’re probably discovering that the student lifestyle isn’t easy on your bank account. Yes, you get a big lump sum every few months, but that has to pay for your accommodation, your food, and (of course) those all-important nights out. Most students have to pick up some part-time work on the side to keep up with all of the socialising – but that’s what uni life is all about, right?
Fortunately, there are a few simple changes that you can make to ensure that your hard-earned cash is being spent on the things that you love rather than solely on the things that you need.
1. Cancel That Gym Membership
It may not seem like it when you’re paying monthly, but gym memberships can be expensive, even if it’s only a £15-per-month student contract – that’s £180 a year that could be spent on other things.
This might seem like it’s going to break your new year’s resolution to get in shape, but that’s not necessarily the case. If you’ve ever seen the Rocky IV training montage, you’ll know that you don’t need high-tech equipment to get fit. You might not have a snow-capped mountain to climb, but you will have access to one of these free outdoor gyms in your local park, which means you can keep up your resolution without the costs.
2. Stop Buying Your Lunch Each Day
The meal deal is a cornerstone of the student diet: £3 for a sandwich, a drink, and a snack – it almost seems too good to be true. But if you’re buying one of these five days a week, you’ll find that you’re spending around £60 a month on lunch alone. We aren’t advising that you skip lunch altogether (that wouldn’t be very healthy), but you can save quite a bit by preparing your lunches at home.
If you head to one of the cheaper supermarkets, you’ll find that you can buy the ingredients to make a curry or soup to last you the entire week for around the same price as one meal deal – enjoy.
3. Start Buying Food with a Long Shelf-Life
If you always end up throwing away the food that you didn’t get chance to eat, then carefully choosing what you buy in your weekly shop could save you quite a bit of cash. Swapping out the perishables for longer-lasting items such as white rice and beans will mean that you won’t waste as much food, and you’ll thereby spend less overall.
4. Transport or No Transport?
Getting from place to place can really add up, especially if you live in a remote area and have to drive or use taxis (which is a great reason to choose centrally located accommodation). One way to avoid these costs is to swap the car for public transport. You’ll find that getting the bus or train to uni is a fraction of the price of running a vehicle. If you’re a savvy traveller, you can buy monthly passes for public transport, which will save you even more in the long run.
If public transport doesn’t take your fancy, then you should consider cycling or running to uni. This approach will allow you to cut out the costs of transport altogether, keep you physically fit, and have the added benefit of boosting your brain power.
5. Learn to Haggle
Haggling is a dying art, but with a bit of practice, you could end up saving yourself a bit of money. Generally, when we’re given a price for something, we just accept it – but it’s possible to bring the price down for everyday things, including your phone bill.
The trick to this is to find a better quote from your phone provider’s main competitor, and use this as leverage in bringing down your monthly costs – and if they don’t bite, you can always swap to the competitor, saving you money either way.
6. Leave Your Bank Card at Home
This is an obvious one, but if you find it difficult to stop yourself spending money, you should leave your bank card at home. Just taking out what you need will make you more disciplined with the small amount that you do have, so you won’t start spending unnecessarily.
This is an especially useful tip for your next night out, as it isn’t always easy to stick to your budget when you can buy drinks on your card so easily. You’ll probably find that doing this a few times will help you realise how easy it is to save, and when you do take your card out again you will have more self-control.
Quick Changes Can Mean Big Savings
Making slight changes can bring down the costs of everyday things – it may not seem like much, but when you add them all together, you will find that the savings can be huge. For more advice on surviving uni life, take a look at our blog.