Surviving on a shoestring budget
It seems a long time ago since your student loan dropped into your new student bank account, and the cupboards were heaving with pasta and baked beans donated by well-meaning family.
But what happens when the food donations have run out and you’re deep into the first term?
Follow our handy tips to make sure your budgeting game is on point and avoid that awkward bail-out call home to your parents.
- Take the free stuff! It’s not just during Freshers fairs that you’ll be bombarded by people trying to off-load free pizza, USBs, mugs, choc and food vouchers, so take what you can! And did you know that when you reach 19 you may also be able to get free prescriptions, dental care and sight tests by applying to the NHS Low Income Scheme?
- Save on your shopping. For longer term savings from a broad range of retailers such as ASOS, Co-op and Pizza Express, get yourself an NUS card. It will cost you £12 for the year, but you’ll benefit from cool discounts and plenty of useful offers.
- Keep fit and save on travel costs. It might seem simple but walking or cycling to and from uni will save you heaps of money on expensive bus or train fares, although it will mean you have to get out of bed a bit earlier. If you can’t avoid spending on the trains, then make sure you pick up a student railcard to save a third (during off-peak times).
- Three cheers for charity shopping! If you have some time to browse the racks in your local charity shops (and let’s face it, you will definitely have some spare time between lectures), go and grab yourself some bargains. Congratulate yourself on rescuing your unique new wardrobe from the jaws of the local landfill too!
- Look after the pennies. Think about saving for something you really want – festival or gig tickets, nights out or trips back home to see your friends. Fill a jar with your spare coins and watch those savings grow into something fabulous!