Having just started my fifth year of uni, it’s pretty fair to say I’ve learnt a great load of tips on where to save money.
I personally struggle with finances, but I am quite a money savvy student. During my undergraduate degree, I rarely ever struggled financially but since starting my postgrad and no longer getting a loan to live off, I’ve had to tighten my belt a lot!
I’ve made mistakes with money and I’ve made some good choices too. From two new iPhones to drunken purchases of £22 takeaway pizza, it’s safe to say these incidents made me learn pretty quickly. But alas, here we go!
Get a job where you can get free food!
Right, sounds weird? Well hear me out… jobs aren’t just a source of income, with the right people and right environments, it’s a chance to gain confidence and make friends. And as a waiter or waitress, often many businesses will give you a free meal on shift – perfect for saving money on meals for the week. And if you don’t get a free meal from your job? Bring a packed lunch!!! So so SO much cheaper than a meal deal several times a week! Good companies for free meals include Nandos and Pizza Express
It’s not just middle age women who should have a purse full of cards… students get ready! There are some really useful cards to have! Companies such as Boots and Tesco have amazing point systems, so you don’t only get sent vouchers regularly, but allow you to spend your points too! Perfect for Christmas time or when funds are a little tight.
Make the most out of your uni support
Universities often provide incentives to get you to use services… try them!! You may think it’s “geeky” or a “bit sad” heading off to your union on freshers week to talk about finances, but honestly you will thank me later! During my time at MMU, students all got a money loaded “Metcard”, where you could use the money on coffees, union shops and even computers and iPads! Because of my good grades, I also received extra money, so have a check what’s available at your uni!
Freezer shops are your friend
Right, so let’s talk about supermarket snobbery.. it has to end! Whilst big supermarkets often have a huge choice of brands, sometimes, value bags are just as tasty, twice the size and half the price! Aldi and Lidl are the supermarkets of dreams, but also try out Iceland and Farmfoods for some bargains.
Night out? Cash not card!
I can’t emphasise this enough, drinking and contactless is a students worst enemy. You can often lose track of how much you’re actually spending, which can make that hangover a little bit more horrible the next day. Before you go out (and get your pre drink bevs), withdraw some cash for the night- enough for entry, drinks, a cheeky takeaway and your bus ride home.. £20 is usually enough on student nights, depending on which city you’re studying in!
Walk it out baby
Walking is amazing because not only is it a good form of exercise, but it’s FREE! If it’s a short and safe distance, opt to walk to your destination. We should be aiming for around 10,000 steps a day, but students often miss this target due to lounging about or sitting in lectures all day. Tips for this are walking to uni, walking into town, walking to the shops. Try avoid to get the bus or taxis where you can. One of my houses in Manchester was 3 miles away from the city centre, so on warm and light evenings, I’d often have a good 50 minutes stroll to avoid both the cost and the smelly cramped bus.
So that’s it! Make sure you keep it sensible and have the best time during university, it truly is one of the best times of your life!!!
(Also, check out all the shops nearby halls during freshers week… DISCOUNTED ALCOHOL!!)
Oops. Sorry I mean, drink lots of water huns….
Emma is a Registered Dietitian and Registered Associate Nutritionist based in Cheshire, England. Emma works in community healthcare and writes freelance alongside her work: topics including Dietetic life, nutrition, mental health and lifestyle. Emma also writes and photographs recipes for the platform, as well as being the author of the ‘Mummy and Me’ series for SR Nutrition. Emma’s Food Stories is PR friendly brand.