University life can be stressful, especially when it comes to having to manage your own money.
That's why we at Oval have all pooled our joint university experiences to come up with our top ten tips that we used to save money whilst we were students...
1. Ration your student loan
It's tempting to live like a king the first week your loan comes through, but all too soon you will see those finances dwindling and the pressure will be on to make sure you have enough left to live on. Do a few calculations to see how many weeks your loan needs to last and then give yourself a weekly allowance to make sure you don't overspend.
2. Make a budget
Budgeting for all your expenses is the most sensible way to make sure you're going to have enough money to live on. If you need help creating a budget that works for you then just check out this post here.
Remember that personal financial apps like Oval are designed to help you save money, and come with useful features to help you better understand and manage your spending habits. So take advantage of their expertise and download it!
3. Use all the student discounts!
One of the joys of being a student is that everyone wants to give you a discount. Many popular shops and retails chain offer students generous discounts on a variety of goods from clothing to electronics, so do your research and take advantage of what's on offer.
Check out QSTop Universities to find out how to apply for a NUS card.
4. Get a part time job
Obviously your studies come first, but getting a part time job is a great way to make some extra money whilst you study. Even better, when you are busy making money it means you are not busy spending it. It's a win-win.
5. Buy cheap and freeze
One of the great benefits of being a student is you operate on non-conventional hours. You are not tied to the 9-5 so you can do things like go food shopping at 11am on a Tuesday morning.
Use this to your advantage. Find out when your local supermarket pulls out their discount stickers and buy more expensive products at lower prices. You can then freeze them and eat them later.
6. Cook in bulk or cook with friends
A really good way to keep down food costs is to cook in bulk one day a week and then keep it in the fridge and eat it throughout the week. Cooking like this saves time, effort, money on utilities, and money on food.
If you get on well with your housemates you can also instigate a round robin system, where once a week one of you cooks dinner for the whole house.
7. Get smart with your appliances
Electronics that are plugged in still use electricity, even if they're off - so make sure you've turned off the plug at the wall too. Additionally, running dishwasher and washing machine on economy cycles save money on water and electricity too.
Finally, time your heating. Putting it on a timer can keep costs down and make sure no one freezes. It also means you aren’t paying to heat up the house when there’s no one inside.
8. Play the new customer/loyal customer game
At the beginning of each academic year look into new deals for your utilities. Companies often post new great deals for students at this time of year as they know this is when the academic year starts.
Bear in mind that even if you can’t find a new or better deal (or if you can but you can’t be bothered to switch), a lot of companies will match deals offered by competitors or give you loyalty discounts; you just need to phone them up to discuss it and tell them you’re thinking of leaving.
9. Buy used textbooks
Depending on the amount of reading required for your course, this can quite literally save you hundreds of pounds. With so many websites offering used textbooks for as little as £0.01 there’s no need to pay £40 for a brand new copy. Lecturers are usually flexible about which edition of a book you can buy, as they are very aware of spiralling book costs. They’re human; just ask them.
10. Spend serious study time on campus
If you need to pull some long study stints, doing it on campus is the most cost effective option. You don’t pay for the electricity, or the heating! Find a quiet seat in the library or other dedicated study areas and set up camp.
University is often talked about as a time where you have the most fun, with the least money, but if you can be savvy about a few small things you could ease the financial burden on yourself and maybe even find a few spare pounds a week to tuck away into your oval wallet to save for a rainy day!