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Student Money Saving Tips

By: Sarah O'Hara BA (hons) - Updated: 22 Aug 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Student Budget Money Saving Student

As a student the chances are that money is going to be tight, and you’ll need to conserve cash wherever you can. The key to knowing where to cut back is knowing where your money is going in the first place. Putting together a budget will help you see where there is any leakage and anywhere that you could tighten your belt. Our article on Budgeting Basics for Student will help you with this.

You’ll find there are some main areas of spending which could probably be tightened up.

Food

Food is an area where large savings can be made, as well as where small fortunes can be spent! However, with a little thought you can make sure you eat both cheaply and healthily, and you don’t need to be Nigella Lawson or Gordon Ramsay to do so.

Firstly, learning some basic cooking techniques will serve you very well. You don’t have to cook extravagant three-course meals every night (it’s unlikely you’ll be able to afford to!), but knowing a few culinary tricks should stave off the lure of the takeaway or other overpriced, pre-packaged foods.

Good meals to cook are soups, bolognese, chillis and curries. You can make loads pretty cheaply and easily, and then freeze the leftovers for another day when you have less time to cook.

It’s also worth buying in bulk and cooking for each other if you live in a shared house. Bulk buying works out a lot cheaper (as long as it’s stuff that you’ll actually use up!) and if there are a few people cooking throughout the week, there’ll be less nights when you actually have to cook! Check out local markets for the cheapest deals.

Try to take sandwiches or a packed lunch if you’re going to be out all day. Buying lunch out regularly can get expensive and the options are usually pretty limited anyway.

Entertainment

Students are well-known for their liking of a night on the town and a drink or two. However, you’ll need to be savvy with your money or you could end up going out every night in freshers’ week, and not having enough money for a lime and soda by October. Not fun.

Booze is expensive, especially in pubs and clubs. Many students have a few drinks at home before they go out to avoid paying too much. Look out for student nights and happy hours where drinks are a lot cheaper.

If a few of you enjoy watching films you could think about using a DVD rental service and all chipping in, then having a weekly film night at each others’ houses. Home-popped corn is cheap as chips as well.

Clothes

Just because you’re a skint student doesn’t mean you have to give up on fashion. At the same time, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to afford to deck yourself out in the latest designer finery either.

One option is to avoid spending your own cash at all by asking for clothes for birthdays and Christmas. If you do shell out on a new outfit or two make sure you take advantage of any student discount offers which are available.

It’s also worth checking out charity shops if you have some spare time on your hands. You could well bag a bargain for just a few pounds, and cultivate an original and individual look at the same time.

Books

As a student you will obviously need to buy some books. However, that doesn’t mean that you need to run out and buy everything on the reading list straight away. Wherever possible use the library or secondhand book shops. You could also photocopy relevant chapters (if you only need a few). It’s worth checking other libraries than your own university one. You may be able to order a book they don’t have. Or, although you might not be able to take books out of other university libraries, you should be able to use them for reference.

When you have finished with your books it’s worth selling them to secondhand book shops. You won’t make a fortune but every little helps and you’ll be getting rid of clutter at the same time.

When you’re a student save where you can, and then you’ll have extra money for the fun stuff!

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