For most of us going to university also means becoming financially independent for the first time in our lives. Which I know can be an incredibly overwhelming idea as a fresher! However, as a third year student who is heavily reliant on my student loan, I am here to offer you some tips and tricks I have picked up along the way to really make my money stretch.
1. Learn how to budget
As a student, budgeting will likely become your new hobby. Whether you use a budgeting app or just write in a notebook – keeping a record of how much you have to spend and what you are spending your money on is extremely beneficial. To budget well:
- Take into account how much money you have to spend each month
- Minus rent, travel and bills from this
- Review what is left over and spend it on your food shop and fun things
2. Make grocery lists and meal plan
I don’t know about you…but if I go into Tesco without a plan I can guarantee I will forget everything I needed for meals and end up coming home with a lifetime supply of snacks and chocolate but no dinners in sight. So to avoid me having to eat cereal for dinner every night, I found that making grocery lists and planning my meals for the week is both is better for my health AND my bank account. Basically making meal plans stops me overspending on ingredients I won’t use.
3. Make use of student discounts
A truly great perk of university life is having a student card! Therefore, you have got to utilise it and save money anywhere you can. I whip mine out all the time – clothes shopping, at the cinema,at Blackwell’s buying university books, the hairdressers…etc
QUICKFIRE BONUS TIPS
- Shop in charity shops more – all over Edinburgh we have so many great charity shops (especially on Nicolson St which is right next to George Square) that are budget-friendly and sustainable!
- Look out for Fresher sales at the beginning of the semester – there is always a range of sales e.g. posters, plants, art, vintage clothing…etc
- Keep heating bills down by buying a great hot water bottle and lots of blankets (and also making lots of tea to warm your insides)
- Go out for drinks in the student union – socialising can be expensive but Teviot always makes for a very affordable evening