A certain degree of financial hardship can be unavoidable as a student, whether or not you supplement your student loan with a part-time job. However, there are plenty of smart ways to save money without giving up your nights out.
Take Advantage of Discounts
If you have an NUS Extra card, make sure you use it. Check which shops offer you a discount, and make the most of what they have to offer. You’ll definitely miss the discount perks that accompany being a student once you’ve left university. On your fresher’s week, you’ll probably be bombarded with discount flyers and promotions. Half of these may be completely useless, but there may be some gems so load up on them and separate the wheat from the chaff when you get back to your halls.
Recycle and Resell
The internet provides a wealth of options for those looking to make money out of the things they no longer need. There are plenty of sites that will buy old games, CDs and DVDs and give you money for old mobile phones. Get something for your unwanted clothes on eBay and take advantage of campus book fairs if you’re looking to sell old textbooks.
Food Shopping and Cooking
Never go to the supermarket on an empty stomach. Studies have shown that shoppers who do this will be much more likely to overspend on items that they wouldn’t usually by. Have a snack before you hit the shops, and head straight for the ‘reduced to clear’ section. You can usually find loads of good things that are nearing their sell by dates for a fraction of the price. It’s important to be wary of other offers however, as some of them don’t actually end up saving you any money. Read the small print and look at individual prices to avoid making a mistake. When you’re cooking, try to plan meals ahead and cook them in bulk. This will save you lots of time as you can freeze them and save them for later in the week. Some students like to share the cooking with their friends and split the costs between them.
If you’re at the end of your overdraft and broke until your next loan instalment comes through, it may be worth considering a small loan to tide you over. These are available from providers that specialise in student lending, like Smart Pig.