Minimising expenditure is something that you might need to do in order to be able to afford all of your bills as well as the occasional treat. Minimising your expenditure may feel like a difficult task at first, as it may seem that all your spending is essential, so we have come up with some helpful tips which may make this easier for you!
Keep hold of all of your receipts for any impulse buys that you may have made – that way you can look at how much you have spent and factor this into your budget. (It’s also useful if you decide that you do not need these items and choose to return them in exchange for cash!) Getting receipts for when you go to restaurants, fast-food chains and coffee shops may seem like a chore, but when you calculate how much money you’ve spent on these things collectively, you will start to question whether they are essential.
Buying all of your University reading list may seem like the most worthy and admirable way of spending your money, but it isn’t necessary or financially viable. First things first, check with the University library to see whether they have these texts available in physical and eBook copies. If not, cheap, pre-owned copies of textbooks may be available to buy online or from students on your course in the year above.
Your Student ID card is invaluable! Take this with you wherever you go so that you can take advantage of discounts whenever possible – you would be amazed at some of the places that you are eligible for discount with this. Don’t be afraid to ask for student discounts either, the worst that can happen is that they say no, after all. For a list of student discounts, please see the following sites:
Plan meals for the week ahead before you go shopping and write a list to prevent any impulse buys. Avoid shopping on an empty stomach!
Planning meals with similar ingredients may help you to keep costs down, as will making meals in bulk and freezing them – this also creates valuable studying time in the evenings because you won’t have to cook a meal from scratch.
Try to take advantage of when your local supermarket reduces items to make the most of your money. Consider value brands over better-known brands as these will be cheaper and often taste very similar, if not better in some cases!
Take advantage of ‘Buy one get one free’ and ‘3 for 2’ offers to stock up on essential items. It is always worth remembering that it is only a bargain if you needed it in the first place!
It may help if you and your housemates do a food shop together so you can cut down on costs and also try new meals that you might not have considered before.
Check out our Savvy shopping post for more tips on how to make your money go further.
Shopping around is a great way of managing your money, but is particularly useful for utility bills. By changing providers you might be able to save money, however, if you are living in rented accommodation you may need to check with your landlord/lady first.
Think before you crank up your central heating – can I actually afford this? Take plenty of warm layers and blankets with you for the winter months so that you can keep warm and toasty without having to pay a hefty bill at the end of the month!
Owning a car can be very useful for moving all of your belongings to University, but it is not the most cost-effective form of everyday transport while you are studying. Petrol, car insurance, tax and maintenance costs soon add up and so if you are only using your car for the occasional five minute trip to Campus, it might be more financially worthwhile to leave the car at home instead.
If you’re living in the Boughton Green Road Halls, you can travel to and from Waterside for free on the Uni bus with your pass, and if you have your student ID you can get subsidized tickets into the town centre and around. Walking or cycling to University is a more cost-effective option for you with the added bonus of being good for the environment as well as good for your health.
If you do decide to keep your car and use it to travel to University then you could arrange a car-share scheme with your housemates and friends so that they contribute to the petrol costs and relieve you of some of the expense.
If you have any useful tips that you’ve found in your time as a student that you would like to share then we would love to hear them. Sharing is caring after all!