How to Reduce the Cost of Everyday Student Life By Simon Thompson
Student life can get pretty expensive, and itís the everyday things that suck your current account dry. Donít let lack of funds get in the way of a good time - by following these tips, shopping savvy, and making the most of student discounts, you can live well for less and avoid maxing out your overdraft.
Write a budget
The easiest way to save money is to watch what youíre spending in the first place. Takeaways, your bus pass, coursebooks, snazzy decor for your room, nights out, and dozens more things all add together to drain your account quicker than you can top it up if youíre not careful, so draw up a budget and try to stick to it. Work out how much youíve got coming in - loans, gifts, savings, cash from your part-time job - and allocate set amounts to the things you spend on, like food, your phone bill, socialising, etc. Take it up a level and get it all on a spreadsheet so you can see more clearly where you can cut back.
Grab discountsÖ everywhere
Youíve got your NUS card - use it! Many high street shops offer at least 10% discount, and look out for certain times of the year when this rises to 15-20%. Be cheeky and always ask in shops and restaurants whether they offer student deals, and never go out without your student card. For loads more discounts, nab yourself an NUS extra card - itís £12, but could be your best investment all year, as it gets you money off Amazon, National Express, Spotify Premium, and even cheaper student tickets at Odeon, just to get you started.
You should also check out the other established student discount websites, such as StudentMoneySaver and StudentBeans for money off and freebies. Make sure that you sign up to their Newsletters and follow them on Social Media, as some of the discounts and offers are for a limited time period only, so you want to make sure that you know about them as soon as they come out.
Save on your weekly shop
We all have to eat, but thereís no need to devour your cash through the grocery shop. Lurk around the reduced section of supermarkets, especially late at night, to pick up yellow-stickered bargains, and donít be fooled by BOGOF or 3 for 2 offers on things you might not actually want. Plan your meals, write a shopping list before you go and stick to it, and donít food shop on an empty stomach, itís well known that you will buy much more than you need! Club together with flatmates to save on bulk shopping or take it in turns to cook.
Clip some coupons
Speaking of your food shop, why not get organised and try couponing? Scour magazines, sign up for marketing emails from your favourite brands, and download vouchers from CaringEveryday and SuperSavvyMe.
Easy? Step it up by having a go at extreme couponing: the systematic hunting down of as many of special offers and money-off coupons as possible, then some tactical deployment to get the best deal. You could save a fortune on food and toiletries, so take the challenge and use this guide to get you started.
Be green, keep more cash
If youíre not living in halls and your bills arenít included in your rent, nowís the time to start changing energy-sucking habits. Turn the thermostat down, or completely off if you and your housemates are out during the day, or if itís lovely outside. Flick lights off when you leave the room, and give shorter showers a go. The weatherís getting warmer (fingers crossed!) but if youíre still cold, stick a hot water bottle under your duvet to make your bed cosy and wrap up in a jumper in the evenings. Donít forget, you can always decamp to the library for free heat and electricity!
When uni starts getting you down, or youíre getting cramped in the campus bubble, itís time to escape; and with the right resources, you can visit friends, family, or somewhere completely new, without spending too much of your precious funds on transport. For tripping around the country by train the 16-25 Railcard, which makes all train journeys a third cheaper, is essential. If you can plan your trip early, book in advance, as itís often much less expensive. Sites such as SplitTicket.com and FareSaver.org can tell you if buying your tickets separately for each leg of your trip could save you cash. Want to discover even more travel discounts? Check out NUS extraís fabulous array of travel discounts and Student Money Saverís massive travel section.
If youíre currently hunting for the ideal student accommodation, one of the
things you need to consider is whether a propertyís design features will
boost your productivity and help you to achieve the grades you want.
That dreaded lump sum of deposit you have to pay before you move in is even more of an annoyance if you don’t receive it back. Student houses are bound to be messy and a bit chaotic, but if you take certain actions throughout the year, it’s not so hard to get your
Your years at university are likely to be among the most memorable, exciting, and fun years in your life. You will be living with friends, going out lots, and generally enjoying being young and still relatively free.
Despite this, it is easy to struggle at times, wheth
There is nothing worse than opening your laptop to a blank word document that needs to be filled with 2,000 words by next week. (Ok, there are worse things but it is pretty soul-destroying). Itís hard to stay motivated when writing an essay so weíve
University is already a stressful time without the added confusion of living arrangements. Thereís no official date or week when itís best to start looking, but here are some of the main reasons why itís best not to rush into a contract:
Itís that time of year where Graduate Schemes have started opening and the working world is nearing. Whilst Graduate Schemes are extremely competitive, they provide a high standard of training and open up future job opportunities. However, there is a whole ocean of gradu
A MacBook is the pride and joy possession of most students. Theyíre sleek, ultraportable and super speedy. Thatís not to say, however, that theyíre the only option on the market. If anything, there are numerous models which are much better value for money and perform jus
Itís September, the start of an academic year, and A-level students across the country are thinking about where they want to apply to for university. Soon enough, their parents will bring up the difficult question of where their university of choice ranks for their chose
It has to be said, one of the most liberating parts of freshers is signing up for every society you have a vague interest in. Whether itís something adventurous like mountaineering, something boozy like winesoc or something a bit more unusual like battle re-enac
Freshers' week is quickly approaching so we've got a rundown of the UK's best freshers' weeks for you. If you're going to be a fresher in any of these cities this month, you're in for an unforgettable week.
Semester one is right around the corner, and while you still have a few more weeks to make the most of lazing around at your parentís house, itís time to slowly start thinking about the semester ahead of you.
Most of us go into higher education with the hopes of gaining a first class honour's degree. Getting that first may seem painstaking and at times impossible but I am here to tell you that it is much more achievable than you may think.
After your A-levels, you might doubt your university choices for location or subject. Likewise, you may not have met the right grades for your preferences, or you may feel pressured to make a quick decisio
If youíre doing a Masters youíre probably in the middle of your dissertation, right at the time when most other students are taking long breaks and swanning around Europe. August has hit and no doubt youíre turning around and wondering where the past year has gone. If yo
An obligatory part of being a student is being broke around 90% of the time and if youíre not, then youíre probably doing it wrong. To try and solve this problem, in recent years, there has been a surge of students swarming to charity shops with the hope of being able to pick
Fed up with the same old sports dominating the television and BUCS leagues? Wanting to try something new and a little obscure? Take a look at these weird and wonderful sports that are starting to make it big in the UK rig
With many anticipated releases still to hit screens this summer and later on in the year, it may seem like 2016 has just been getting started in terms of film. However, despite all the blockbusters landing soon, the first half of the year had some brilliant films that are wort
Studying abroad is an exciting and rewarding experience, but the preparation before hand is certainly less enjoyable. It is easy to put the preparation to the back of your mind and convince yourself you will research it later on. It is really important, however, that you are o
Weíre over halfway through the year and have watched some excellent TV shows in that short time. With summer in full swing, there's no time like the present to hope on the sofa and binge on some excellent television. So, for your pleasure, we present a short list of the best T
Have any regrets on leaving university? Donít worry, we all do. From not going out enough, to not studying hard enough, to not spending enough time with friends, we all have our own personal regrets on leaving university - how could we not? So, to make you feel a bit less alon
We've all been there. It's 5AM on a weekday night and you're stuck in the depths of a YouTube rabbit hole with no signs of escape. You're not exactly sure what you've been doing for the past five to sixty hours, but all you know is that you've learnt nothing.
Who doesnít remember writing their personal statement? The hours of agonising over quite how many books to pretend youíve read, or even how to get your teacher to write it for you without them realising it? Now that many of us have seen uni to the end, I thought it would be a
Your bank accountís on -£2K, all the pot noodles are empty, and the crippling pointlessness of your own existence is starting to settle in. Summer is here! Hurray! Youíre back in with your parents now, after leaving the safety of the nest so you can pretend to be an adult for
A vice-chancellor has warned that UK university bosses are accepting Ďcounter-productiveí anti-terror legislation out of fear that they will be labelled extremist sympathisers by the media if they do not.
The head of Kingston University in London, Julius Weinberg, re
Unless youíve been living under a rock, Iím sure youíve noticed that more and more young people are running their own blogs these days. According to some recent statistics, around 70% of bloggers are under 35, and over 20% are under 20. This is no surprise to me; within a day
Parents: we love them really. Theyíve helped us with our educations, fed us, clothed us, seen us through our awkward teenage years with astonishing patience and given us a place to live both before uni and during university holidays. And now, for those moving home for summer,
For a lot of students, a Research Masters, or MRes, is the first step to a PhD programme, and perhaps a career in academic research. For others it is an opportunity to continue studying a subject at a higher level than can be achieved during an undergraduate programme. Whateve
So, exam season is finally over. The weather has its fleeting moments of looking gorgeous and you canít wait for summer to get into full swing. One of the things that got you through exams was the thought of a holiday away somewhere sunny with your uni housemates, but is this
Summer can be a time when the average student just lazily kicks around their hometown, waking up at midday and lazing about the house before collapsing back into bed again at 3AM. If youíve got the willpower, though, it can also be a fantastic time to finally start taking exer
With up to three months off over summer, itís likely that youíll have the time to earn some money and gain professional skills through a summer job. Many jobs can be fairly enjoyable and flexible, leaving you with plenty of time to still enjoy the sun. It It is important to st
Your graduation is fast approaching and talks of wild celebrations are already underway. Yet you know it will end up in the same old club with all your friends getting completely twisted (as usual). To mark the occasion you're thinking of doing something different: celebrating
If youíre feeling the pinch at the moment and planning your summer, the humble Ďstaycationí might just be your ideal solution. If youíre willing to risk the British weather, rather than jetting off on a low-budget, sunny trip to Spain, there are so many beautiful and exciting
When youíre in the depths of your uni career, it's hard to even think about the fact that youíre piling up an enormous and seemingly endless amount of debt. I mean, I remember at every meeting I had in college about the prospect of higher education, they sort of just skimmed o
Like most students, you probably find that your student loan just never seems to stretch far enough. You keep telling yourself that youíre going to save money over summer to fund your extravagant lifestyle next year. Yet will you really be motivated when the time comes around?
Most of us will have grown up with the internet and social networks; from the days of Myspace to the arrival of Facebook, Twitter and professional networks such as LinkedIn. Nowadays, students and young professionals are using social networks as much for fun
Whether youíre in your first or final year, as a student the question of what you will do after uni is always lingering in the back of your mind. There are plenty of resources out there to find advice, yet it is often hard and time consuming to find out options specifically re
At university, a vast amount of reading is required Ė textbooks, theses, articles, novels Ė and itís easy to forget that reading can actually be an enjoyable and relaxing pastime. With this in mind, here are eight fantastic books to get you reading for pleasure again this summ
With ďUnbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" returning to Netflix on April 15, you are bound to be drawn away from those textbooks and back into the world of your favourite cult survivor, evil president or female prison inmate/toilet hooch-maker. However, no matter how hard you try to ju
The student generation is commonly described as Ďaddictedí to their mobile phones. Whilst it is true that hours on social media could often be hours better spent, apps that are beneficial for University life and your studies certainly exist.
Although this tip is commonly known, it is also regularly overlooked. The importance of dressing professionally for an interview cannot be stressed enough: what youíre wearing sets an impression even before you have said a single word to t
There are two types of people in the world: those who cannot eat their Easter eggs quickly enough, and find themselves tearing through the plastic and foil before breakfast, and are having a sugar crash by 9:30 am, and those who keep their Easter eggs in cupboards for later, e