Money Saving Tips for Students
As a university student, the second term can be a trying one. You’ve just returned from a well earned Christmas break, you have either exams or coursework deadlines on the horizon, and you’re met with the realisation that all the work you have completed this academic year is only a third of what is required. Not only is the work piling up but so are the living expenses and you may find yourself struggling to make your student loan stretch to the end of term.
Maintenance loan day may feel like a lifetime away, but you can make it if you follow these simple money saving tips:
Aside from rent, the biggest drain on a student’s remaining maintenance loan in the winter months are bills. January and February are infamous for their extended hours of darkness and bitter cold nights. There are only so many cups of tea one can drink before even the most stubborn student reaches for the thermostat and with energy providers raising their prices higher than ever, you can see how energy bills strike fear in hearts of students around the country.
The best course of action at this time of year is to compare energy providers, which you can do here.
Another huge stress on student’s bank accounts is transport. For students with their own car, insurance premiums, petrol, parking and maintenance are just some of the costs that eat away at their ever diminishing student loan. If this wasn’t bad enough, petrol prices are set to increase throughout 2017 .
Though it may seem hard to do, the most prudent thing for any student with a car is to wave goodbye to their trusty motor, whether that means selling it or leaving it back home with their parents. Along with a list of environmental advantages, public transport is a sure fire way to save money and with the discounts that one can secure, it is one way to limit a students’ outgoings.
The start of a new term can mean a new tutor, a new subject matter and unfortunately sometimes a whole new reading list.
Course materials can be a hidden and unwelcome cost for students. Not only are new textbooks in high demand and thus difficult to find, they can also be very expensive. The best way to combat this is to use the free resources available. The library can be a saviour when it comes to new textbooks and after receiving your new reading list, the library should be your first port of call.
If you cannot find the materials you require in the library, there are ways to avoid another pricey transaction. Firstly, ask for help from previous students. Throughout university students will collect a mass of unwanted textbooks and will be happy to get rid of some to a willing recipient.
Secondly, take advantage of swap sites. There are plenty of websites online that students can sign up to with the view to trade books. Finally, if all else fails, pool together with a couple of friends, by splitting the cost you avoid having to pay a hefty price at the till.
Take a look at anyone’s bank statement and there will be one universal expenditure, food. It doesn’t matter what your shopping habits are, whether it’s a daily top up or a weekly shop, food is a necessity and a cost that cannot be avoided. The full effects of Brexit have not been felt yet, but food prices are set to inflate over the next 12 months.
A fool proof way of slashing that shopping bill is to buy fewer branded products. It may not be an easy thing to do but putting down the finest brand and picking up a run of the mill item can save a lot of money. But if you really cannot pull yourself away from the finer things, you need to be more strategic with when you shop. Start shopping later in the day to take full advantage of the reduced items.
“I spent HOW MUCH?” a commonly asked question amongst students after a big night out. It is no secret that a large portion of a student’s loan will be ring-fenced for drinking. You can go to as many pound-a-pint nights as you like, alcohol is expensive and nothing short of quitting can change that. However, there are ways to curtail the adverse effect drinking has on your bank account.
However, there are ways to curtail the adverse effect drinking has on your bank account. Pre-drinking, the age old cure for an ailing bank balance, it is a simple formula the more you drink before going out the less money you lose to drinking establishment’s alcohol markup.
Thinking Outside the Box
A final tip for students on how to save money is to be savvy with what they purchase. Many companies take advantage of gender binaries with their products, whether this means setting a higher price for women’s everyday items such as razors or jacking up the price of a masculine branded moisturiser. A way to reduce the financial strain that these products cause is to shop smartly and not fall for these tricks.
Don’t let your finances get on top of you, be vigilant, make these small changes and you will make it to next term.
Luke Bennett is a Law Graduate from the University of the West of England. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.
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