Tomm’s Top Ten Tips For Saving Money
Being a student can be tough, whether it's balancing work and free time, or finding cool things to do in your new home town, money shouldn't get in the way of your Uni experience. So now as your Student Loan is coming in I'd like to help you make it last with some tips I've collected over the years.
Tip, The First: Supermarket Discounts
Every Campus has a local supermarket, and nearly every supermarket has a way to save you money with their own brand of card. So next time the person on checkout asks if you have their card, get one, and a few months down the line you'll be laughing with all the savings you've made.
- Waitrose has MyWaitrose card which will save you considerable cash on your 10 favorite items.
- Sainsburys has the Nectar Card, which can help you build up points to spend on your future shopping or money off other things.
- Tesco has the Tesco Clubcard which behaves very much like a Nectar Card tbh but use your Nectar or Club card on a big house shop and you'll rack up some serious points.
- Lidl Doesn't have a card any more but keep looking on their website for deals and on top of their crazy low prices your grocery shopping costs will be at an all time low. Peking duck at £4.50? Treat ya' self!
- Co-op are big supporters of Students, and their partnership with NUS Extra could get you 10% off all your shopping if you have the card.
The Second One: The Online Shop
At some point everybody buys stuff online, but the trick is you don't always have to pay the displayed price.
Stick some things in your basket a few weeks in advance and leave it, in a couple weeks you might get some emails telling you certain items are now cheaper. And this works on loads of sites, whether it's Amazon, Steam or Topshop.
That Third Tip: The Ultimate Rail Card
Chances are you use the train pretty often, if so this could save you literally thousands while you're at Uni.
With the 16-25 rail card you'll save 1/3 on all train travel with a one time payment of £30 a year. Or if you get one through Santander it's free, talking of...
A Solid Fourth: The Student Friendly Bank Account
Finding a bank account that will give you good interest and offer plenty of great banking incentives is a must, but hard to find.
It's easy with the 123 Student Account from Santander though. With no overdraft fees and a free 4 year 16-25 railcard PLUS up to 3% interest on your account, the search is over, oh and it comes with a debit card!
And A Strong Fifth: The Community Kitchen
University is all about spending your time with like minded people and friends, living in a community of your own making. So it's handy that this tip is all about cooking together.
Buying individual microwave meals and ingredients for just yourself can get REALLY expensive, so try getting your housemates to pool together money for a weekly shop and take turns cooking it all up, you'll find you save loads on grocery shopping and rarely have food waste (thanks to that one housemate who will eat anything, you know who you are). If you're not confident cooking then pick up some recipes from your local supermarket, most have them available like here and here.
The Sixth Makes Sense: Never Under-Estimate The Cheap Stuff
"Nothing in life is free" apart from that futon from Freecycle and the crazy cheap furniture off Shpock and Gumtree, and ALWAYS look in Charity shops, people either donate cool things they don't care about anymore, or the staff have no idea what things are worth, there's one in Farnham that sells all kinds of film cameras for a tenner. (I'm not telling you where, they're all mine!)
The Soppy Seventh: How Far Could A Smile Take You?
Kindness can go a long way and favors are a beautiful thing. As I like to say "Build others with kindness and in turn be built".
You never know when engaging in sympathetic conversation with a waiter could lead to a discounted meal or kindness to check-out staff hints you towards great hidden deals.
Eighth-y Eighth: Is It Vital?
It might be tempting to bring it to Uni but how much do you REALLY need your car? If you can't walk or start a car share with your mates then fair enough. But think of how much money you could save by keeping it back home with Mom and Dad? Just food for thought.
IT'S THE NINTH ONE: Be Patient, And The Discounts Will Come To You.
All supermarkets discount their food before they close so they won't have to throw it away in the morning, not because it's gone off but because of their policies. So if you wait till after 7pm to do a food shop you'll find the majority of your shopping is reduced to clear, then you'll just cook it up with the housemates and save even more!
My Tenth Tip: All Those Coins!
Don't know about you but my desk is covered in little useless pennies and 2ps, but what is a bank if not a multitude of pennies? Get some big jars and separate them between your coppers and silver shiny ones, when you get enough exchange them at the bank for notes and squirrel those away for a rainy day. You'll turn money you didn't care about into something that could really cheer you up.
I hope these will help you during your time at UCA, and if you're looking for more ways to save money while studying get in touch about my "Fair Assessment" campaign, designed to save you money on course costs. And if there's a tip you think should be on here but isn't, feel free to suggest it!