Part of the fun of being a full-time student is the challenge of living on not much money. There are plenty of ways to have a comfortable life as a student, so being smart about what money is going out and what’s coming in will benefit you in the long-run
[photo by Jeremy Wilburn]
- The more time you spend on campus in the library, the less time you’re lighting and heating your house. It adds up!
- Take shorter showers. Get a timer that you can set to 2 minutes (we all know how easy it is to luxuriate in a long shower)
- Become a vegetarian! Or at least cut down on your meat intake. Meat is an expensive luxury item for a student, so either cut down or only buy reduced price items to throw in the freezer.
- Work part time in a restaurant – you’ll save money on food.
- Bring a packed lunch and always have a few snacks floating in your bag – muesli bars, an apple, some celery, a few biscuits.
Making some cash on the side
There are plenty of ways to get a bit of cash while you’re at university. Here are some ideas:
- Sell unwanted items – Here’s a handy guide for turning your old stuff into money.
- If you’re handy with writing, take up freelance copywriting. Digital media agencies often use freelancers, so approach a few with samples of your writing (blog posts will do). Proofreading is also a skill that you can turn into good money.
- Mystery shopping is also a way to make a few pounds very casually; sometimes you get to mystery shop food outlets, so it combines a free meal with a few extra quid.
- If you’re a speedy typist, transcription work is often on offer through agencies.
- Offer private tuition in a musical instrument or a high school subject.
- Create a ruthless budget and stick to it. This may involve only taking cash with you on a night out (no cards!), limiting the amount available in your debit card and buying groceries online so you don’t get to the checkout and find a hefty surprise waiting for you.
- Check your bank balance every few days and monitor your spending closely.
- When looking at where you live, include travel savings into the cost of rent. Even if it costs a little more to live near campus, you will save the bus fare over the year.
- If you have to live a little further out, get a cheap bike! Environmentally friendly and cost-effective.
- If you have no other option than public transport, look into seasonal deals and student discounts.
- If you’re going on a night out, make sure you know when the last bus or train home is. If you plan to get a taxi home, arrange a time to leave with friends who live near you so you can split the cost
- Students can get discounts and freebies from a lot of different places – clothes stores, cinemas, even banks. Always carry your student card to prove your identity.
- Keep an eye out for student organisations on campus that might provide free breakfasts.
- If you’re in the pub, don’t forget to squirrel away salt, pepper and sauce sachets.
Vivienne Egan is a writer for Thomson Local who offer free advertising to all UK businesses.