5 Ways to Save Money at University by Sam Hardy

hand putting coins in a pink piggybank

University life is expensive. From tuition fees to rent, bills, food and a social life, there are a lot of things students must be financially responsible for. In this blog I will share five helpful tips to help manage your finances and save money while at university.

  • Create a budget

Creating a budget for your spending is a great way to stay on top of your finances and help allocate your money for different things you need to pay for. This can be on a simple notes page on your phone or maybe an Excel spreadsheet on your computer.

Firstly you want to work out your incomes (these can be from your maintenance loan, part time jobs, money from bursaries or from family etc.) Work out roughly what you will have to spend each month from these sources and then go on to work out your outgoings.

These are things you spend your money on, including rent, bills, food, savings, social life, subscriptions (gym memberships, Netflix, Spotify etc.) Work out how much you will be paying each month and this can help you prioritise your spending and whether you have areas where you can cut back or potentially save. For instance, if you are paying £20 a month for a gym membership but hardly ever use it, it could be useful to cancel this and save the money to use elsewhere.

  • Find a second source of income

Most students will have a student loan from SFE but sometimes even this doesn’t stretch far enough for your spending habits or needs. A way to increase your income is to create a second or have multiple sources. This can be from working a part time job or by helping out at the university. There are plenty of opportunities for students to earn money and gain experience whilst studying with part time jobs in lots of areas such as hospitality or bar work, student ambassador roles or even note taking where in some instances you can even get paid for going to your own lectures! Visit the Campus Jobs page and check back regularly to look out for new opportunities. Alternatively there are plenty of places in and around Reading to work part time however these places may not be as lenient with time off for holidays and commitments to coursework and deadlines etc. However any part-time job is an amazing opportunity to increase your income, gain experience and meet new people.

  • Look out for student discounts

A third useful tip for saving money at university is to look out for student discounts. A great way of doing this is signing up for UniDays or other alternatives like Student Beans which are useful apps for searching for discounts for all of your favourite shops, restaurants etc. All you have to do is sign up with your university email and there are discounts from high street brands like ASOS and Urban Outfitters to restaurant chains such as Byron Burgers and Pizza Express! Other student discounts can be found depending on which bank you are with. For example, Santander offer a free 16-25 railcard which offers up to 1/3 off on all rail travel or HSBC offer a £100 joining fee when setting up a student account.

  • Food shopping/cooking

Another great way to save money whilst at university is to shop around for cheaper groceries. If you can, try to shop at cheaper supermarkets such as Aldi, Lidl, or Asda and buy things in bulk to save money in the long run. Before you go and do your food-shop, have a rough plan of what you need to buy for the week with some staple meals to save buying things and then having them go to waste. You can also do food shops with your flatmates or housemates and then take turns to cook. This is not only a great way to save money but it’s also a fun way to make friends in your flat or do as a fun evening activity with your friends.

  • Shop second hand

Finally, another tip for saving money at university is to shop second hand. Next time you are looking for clothes opt for charity shops, or online stores such as Depop, Ebay or Vinted. You will likely find the same stuff you are looking for but at a discounted price. Also if you have any clothes or things you don’t use, these platforms are a great place to sell these items and increase your monthly income allowing more freedom in your spending!

I hope you found these tips and resources useful for helping you save money at university. If you have any other ideas or tips for saving money, let us know on Instagram @uor_studentlife

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