Money has a habit of disappearing quickly – especially when you have rent, bills and a social life to juggle! Take a look at Emily’s top tips on making your money go further at university…
As someone who knows the woes of living on a tight budget while waiting for their next termly student finance deposit, here are 6 handy tips to stretch your student loan:
- Get a part-time job. You may think you don’t have the time to work on top of your studies but the University offers part-time work even on campus so you don’t have the excuse of a long commute. If you check out CampusJobs online or speak to them in the Carrington building, you can find roles that fit into your timetable and help fund some extra spending.
- Buy course books second-hand. Amazon may lure you in with a brand-new copy, but Blackwell’s offer great discounts, price matches with other online sellers, has free delivery even to campus and stocks second-hand copies that will help save you a few pennies. Top tip: you can also sell your course books back to Blackwell’s once you have finished with them!
- Take advantage of student discounts. TOTUM Cards (previously known as NUS cards) give you 10% off every time you shop at the Co-op and other retailers, but don’t forget UniDays for free offers for lots of the restaurants in Reading. Invest in a National Express coach card and a Railcard too to save up to 30% on your trips back home!
- Food budgeting is key to saving money. Visit cheaper supermarkets like ALDI, ASDA or Iceland and you can get offers for students such as money off when you do a big shop. You won’t always get your branded baked beans, but their alternatives taste just as good. Try to allot a certain spending amount each week, cap it and plan all your meals ahead: Co-Op meal deals every single day at lunchtime get expensive.
- Buying in bulk also helps; it may seem expensive at first but it works out cheaper overall for long-life food items. You’ll have all your essentials for weeks and have cheaper shopping trips after that.
- Try not to impulse buy (even if the Oracle is always tempting you with its offers). Be the boss of your budget and manage what you spend so that you don’t end up deep in your overdraft within the first few days of student finance coming in.
Follow these tips and you hopefully won’t end up -£1000 in your overdraft next term like many people I know!
If you do find yourself worried about money and would like some advice, you can always contact the Student Financial Support Team, who will be happy to help you.