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Articles > Money June, 21, 2016

12 Clever Money-Saving Ideas

Maisie Pearson
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6.12 / 10

This month, I start University. And the extortionate prices of student accommodation means I need to contribute a large proportion of my own money towards halls, as my loan no where near covers it. I work full-time at the moment and I am keeping my job when I go to Uni by reducing my hours to one day a week, however I have, as expected, not managed to save enough money yet.

So, I am writing this post as a promise… a promise to myself to not make any unnecessary purchases this month. I have set the following 9 money-saving tips everyone (not just students) can use:

1. Write down the things you HAVE to pay for

For example your phone bill, food, car payments, bus tickets etc… the things you just have to pay for without the help of the bank of mum and dad.

2. Organise your money into different accounts

Put all other “disposable” money into a savings account – if any unexpected payments need to be made, you’ll still be able to access the money quickly! And online banking helps you set these up in seconds.

3. Don’t avoid checking your bank balance…

We all do it. But keep a track of all transactions – write down (or use a fancy App) all transactions that you make, even if it was only 75p! This will allow you to track all of your spending and you’ll know exactly where your money has gone for the month!

4. You’ll be surprised how much money you spend on lunch and snacks

Take pack-lunches to work and spend no money on snacks – that means no 3pm chocolate bar from the vending machine at work when you’re feeling peckish! If you want snacks, it always works out better buying a multi pack from a supermarket, than a single bar of chocolate.

5. Use cash

If you do treat yourself to a night out (c’mon you’re a Student), take out cash before you go out and leave your card at home. This way you’re more aware of how much you spend when you physically hand the money over, rather than tapping your contactless away and not being able to keep an eye on what’s going out!

6. Walk straight past that H&M

No shopping trips! Only allow yourself to purchase essentials and have the occasional window shop. This has to be one of the hardest things when you’re at uni and trying to look your best.

7. Cook for your mates!

Instead of going out for dinner, try cooking something new – this will save money and hopefully improve any diabolical culinary skills! It will be so much fun to have friends around, and maybe you can take in turns to cook for each other.

8. There’s plenty of free activities 

Fill the weekend with free things to do – e.g. trips to the seaside (but take a picnic and stay away from the fish and chips), going for bike rides, visiting the museums and having movie nights at home.

9. One man’s trash… 

… is another man’s treasure. Look at ways of earning a few quid – I think I might try a car boot sale and an eBay selling spree.

So please wish me luck on my saving adventure – hardly an adventure I know, it’s actually going to be torture, but positive thinking and that!

10. Free postage and packaging

You can actually get free ‘Amazon student prime’ for 6 months on trial, and as long as you cancel before the end of the 6 months you pay absolutely nothing! I set a reminder on my phone calendar the day before to ensure it doesn’t roll over.

11. O2 priority

If you are on O2 then you are eligible for O2 priority. I personally live for O2 priority moments, I got free popcorn at the cinema four times in a row. If that doesn’t convince you then I don’t know what will

12. Points cards

If you spend a lot in certain shops then always check to see if they have a points card. That way you can build up points when you do make purchases and spend less the next time you shop there.

If anyone has any other money saving advice, PLEASE do let everyone know in the comments below!

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  1. Vikas

    I have a bag or rice that weighs a tonne for £20 and it will easily last me a year. Cook, save, and bring it with you, don’t eat out. Check out UniBulkBuy for some decent deals. I ask everywhere if they have a student discount, a lot of places will surprise you and will give you one, even if you have the free Uni ID you’re given not an NUS card. Never shop when you’re hungry. Finally, resist snacks and sweets. Your body will burn them off really fast and they don’t suppress your hunger mechanism in the way healthier foods do

  2. Lucie Richards

    I’m going to university next year hopefully, and with friends telling me how expensive it is and how they’re struggling I’ve started to put money away, even if it’s £10 a month it’s going to add up in the end. It’s going to be especially hard for me, since most nursing courses are full time and don’t leave much room for part time jobs. I think getting into these habits mentioned and getting savings early will be a huge help when you first move.

  3. Joshua Marden

    Shop around online and see if you can use TopCashBack, who give you small amounts of cashback if you go via certain sites. Also I’ve been lucky with finding a few coupons online lately so check on google first. Buy in bulk, I have a bag or rice that weighs a tonne for £20 and it will easily last me a year. Cook, save, and bring it with you, don’t eat out. Check out UniBulkBuy for some decent deals. I ask everywhere if they have a student discount, a lot of places will surprise you and will give you one, even if you have the free Uni ID you’re given not an NUS card. Never shop when you’re hungry. Finally, resist snacks and sweets. Your body will burn them off really fast and they don’t suppress your hunger mechanism in the way healthier foods do.

  4. Rachel

    Use your student NUT card. For free McDonalds from the 99p menu and money in shops and ask you don’t know if they accept if you don’t ask and if you have not got a NUT card just use your student card still works. GO for the student jobs at uni it helps to meet new people, get to know your way around and earn extra dosh. Winner all round. Get the numbers of people you meet and get to know at uni, you’ll be surprised how handy that was. I am a mature student so believe me do some networking.

  5. Jessica Scott

    I’m not at uni yet but for when I go I’ll keep this list in mind! Shopping cheap is always important and having products like soap/shampoo that lasts longer is a lot better than buying cheap ones that run out in only a few weeks. You can even make dinners in large amounts so you can portion it up and freeze it, defrost it before you go out in the morning and you’ll have a home cooked meal that only needs a little heating up! Stuff like pasta dishes and chilli, or curry sauces. Hope that’s helpful for you!

  6. Manop

    I would say that shop around the net and see what on offer/sell really help me saved a lot on clothing/food and also get UNiDAYS that help with free stuff on McDonald’s when you buy a meal

  7. alex williams

    I think that the amount of money i spend on food can be usefully spent on other things

  8. Danielle O'Driscoll

    this tips are very helpful

  9. Charlotte Pluck

    Thanks for the tips.

  10. Shana

    Really helpful tips, which are easy to achieve ones you set yourself these targets. Personally I think, making a weekly shopping list and making sure you do not go wild in the supermarket is essential as we all end up doing this on a regular basis. I also think a savings account and even a cheap money rin to save the extra pennies to treat yourself is good to! I have a personal dairy for everything i can do to save myself from spending the unnecessary!

  11. Alejandra Tapia

    I think…there are some very good tips in this article.

  12. Syed Wajeeh

    great article

  13. clara troy

    Thanks alot ,those are very amazing tips which change my life ,especially the snack tip.

  14. alicia robson

    thanks these are really good tips

  15. Chris Waugh

    Tracking is the key to all sorts of problems!! Keep a mini notepad on you for a week, atleast, and just see how much your spending is adding up.. You’ll be surprised

    • alicia robson

      i know sometimes you can overspend its crazy how little money can be worth

  16. Jordan Lyndon-bone

    Very useful i just need to learn to put it all in action!

  17. Sophie

    write everything down, keep track.. you might notice that you are buying and spending to much.

  18. Matt Ruane

    Good solid and practical advice for helping anyone like me who’s currently in the Freshers week on how to keep my wallet from getting too light too fast. 10/10 for you! 🙂

  19. Celina Yik Sze Wong

    I think I must be very lucky, to be able to pay with my parents’ accounts (overseas though… D:). However, I feel like these tips are very true, especially with shopping *sighs* girls! I think my biggest temptation is going to be online shopping, especially it’s my first time owning a card… Gosh!

  20. Naadiya Kaur Sanghera

    makes so much sense

  21. pearl macey

    glad i found and read this article makes alot of sense as im moving to uni on sataurday im worried about my money not stretching far enough this article has helped me see things that i can do so that i can still live on my money and not worry as much.

  22. Casie

    I think this is a very good plan, i struggle to save money and know looking and thinking about it i really need to….. i have a part time job and the grant but the money dont last for ever so im gana give these instuctions a go. Thank you

  23. Raya

    I think your advice and suggestions are great. Sometimes though I cant be too careful .For example last year at uni I had to be at uni early before 9 am 3 days in the week. During these days I could not resist buying a hot cheese and onion pasty and chocolate even though it costs £1.65 ( pasty) and £1 coke (£1.65). I wish I had done what you had suggested.

  24. Robena Begum

    I think these tips are very useful, and students living at halls should use multi purpose cleaning products instead of separate products! Also, try to buy food from Aldi than Asda as it is better value for money. I think something as simple as you turning off switches when they’re not in use.

  25. Mohamed Satti

    Awesome tips as i am going to uni next year.

  26. Joshua Firth

    I… kind of feel a tad sting of guilt reading this; being a student in Scotland who has their living accommodation paid for them by SAAS, but this is definitely useful as a student starting out with little money in the bank. Thank you.