Penny-Pinching For Dummies (A.K.A. Students)
“Do you do a student discount?” is your new mantra. Say it with me.
There’s nothing more inevitable than the post-loan drop spending spree. Studenthood may be the first time a lot of you have access to such a large pot of dollah. But if the movies have taught us anything, it’s that money corrupts.
Still, budgeting is very important as a student. You’re fending for yourself now. So what can you do to avoid breaking the bank?
Budgeting is key. You don’t need to be a mathematical genius to set yourself some rules as to what amount of money goes where.
A good idea would be to split your money into months, maybe even weeks. Set aside the majority for a good food shopping trip – that’s the most important purchase. Then, some money for travel, laundry and maybe a night out or two.
Try your hardest not to dip into other money and stay on track so you won’t have to have the added stress of not having enough cash.
Do you really need to spend £3 on a Starbucks coffee or can you buy 50 in a jar for the same price? We all know that receiving deliveries, buying yourself something nice or splurging on a treat can give you that warm fuzzy feeling. But there’s more to happiness than constant retail therapy.
Prioritise. Food, books and university supplies are useful. Spending £50 on a night out, only to be left with a horrible hangover, a bunch of new friends on Snapchat and an embarrassing phone call to your ex? Less so.
Money is NOT an unlimited resource
We tend to spend more money when we know that it’ll get ‘restocked’ soon. Knowing that you get three instalments of student loans a year can feel like an artificial safety net.
Beware becoming too reliant on this idea. It will leave you spending ridiculous amounts and forgetting what the money is really for, which is essentials and resources. If you really need that extra cash, try getting a part-time job for pocket money.
No, you don’t need that just because all your flatmates have it.
So what if they have a TV and you don’t? So what if you don’t shop at designer shops like your new classmates? Being competitive takes a toll on your debit card.
Your financial affairs are not common to all. You may not receive the same allowance that others benefit from. You may be living in halls while others live as home, meaning they’ll have some more money to spend.
Live a ‘student’ life
Don’t yet pay tax? You’re not a self-sufficient human being, so act accordingly. Get the bus instead of an Uber, shop in Primark and the PoundShop or opt for a cheaper laptop than a Mac.
If you live a plush student life, you’re missing out on the fun of being an actual student! Remember too that it’s okay to be low on money sometimes. You have a lifetime to accumulate dollah and spend it however you like.
Use discount codes
Discounts are a student’s best friend. Sign up to every one possible! Getting an NUS card is the first port of call for more undergrads. One little card can get you numerous discounts at many high-street stores such as New Look, Topshop and ASOS!
Get shopping savvy. Hundreds of websites catalogue student offers. If you type ‘student discounts’ into any search engine, you’ll have pages and pages of money savings to trawl through!
Some shopping centres even host student nights, where shops set up deals just for university and school-goers. Find out when they are and get them in the diary.
Pinching pennies may not feel good, but it’ll make life a lot easier in the long run. Keep your education on track – stay in the black!
Nikita studied English with Creative Writing at Brunel University London. Her loves include literature, travelling and writing. She is a spiritual soul and a bit of a wanderer. Stalk her on Twitter, Instagram and on http://www.nikitamurva.com/!