'I can't afford THAT! I'm a student!'
If you are one, that's probably a phrase you find yourself repeating, or hearing, pretty much every time you're out spending.
Most of my friends don't have time for a job - or simply can't find one. That said, those of us who do are still struggling to pay our living expenses. And the majority of my friends are now spending their summers attempting to climb out of an insane overdraft - while still finding some way to avoid boredom!
Now, I'm not stingy, and I like to treat myself as much as the next student. But I do have a few tips which I find save me buckets of cash - and which so many new students could do with knowing before they move in!
1) - Date check! One of the easiest ways to ensure your food doesn't go to waste is to check the date when you buy it. Sounds obvious, but take your time when shopping and consider whether you will use it up in time. Milk is a huge culprit - if you're not sharing, buy a single pint. Buy fruit which will last a while, like apples.
2) - Freeze it, freeze it, freeze it. I cannot stress this enough. The number of mouldy loaves I've seen! I freeze my bread and can pop it straight in the toaster, no defrosting required. If you want a sandwich, just remember to defrost two bits in a container the night before. Which leads me to...
3) - Good old Tupperware! Or any kind of plastic container or old biscuit tin you have lying around. These are great for defrosting and save you cash, as you don't have to keep stocking up on sandwich bags, clingfilm and foil. Get yourself a stylish lunchbox (not a term often heard, I know, but Cath Kidston and Paperchase have cool retro ones) and you are more likely to save on lunches too, by making your own. Which brings me to...
4) - Make your own lunch! So easy to buy a sandwich from the local corner shop or Student Union, but seriously - it's so much cheaper to grab yourself a hunk of cheese and some salad in a supermarket (and that defrosted bread!). Or share costs/take turns to buy essentials like these with one of your housemates (reiterating point 1).
5) - Clothes swap! Moving away from food now - you'll often find that university accommodation just doesn't have the room for all your clothes from home, and the more they accumulate, the more you'll realise you don't need them. Organise a clothes swap with some friends - chuck all your clothes on the grass at a local green or whoever's house has the biggest garden, and just take what you want! Give the rest to charity. Found some lovely stuff doing this.
Hope this helps everyone, and enjoy the pennies you save!