Money, Mulah, Pesos, clout tokens… No matter what you call it we all have to look after our money, ESPECIALLY us students. With a lack of income apart from a possible part time job and the Student Finance Gods (and your parents if you’re lucky) feeding us, we have to make sure our money goes the distance. This is why your old pal Shiok is helping you out here with this list of great tips to make your pound stretch…
Average Rent in London can hit £650+, Homeshare schemes allow cheap living for fraction of such costs. (www.london.gov.uk/what-we-do/housing-and-land/renting/london-rents-map). Considering student loans for those studying in London only go up to £11,300… You’re likely going to struggle to find affordable rent in the heart of London. Homesharing can reduce the cost of living down to just £200 a month which equates to £2,400 a year! So for the same price of one month’s rent in Camden you could pay for 3+ months of homeshare. You might think “Whats the catch”, well there really isn’t one, in return for living in London for such a low price in return you must provide at least 10 hours of support to the person you’re living with. This can be anything from cleaning the dishes to simply watching TV and providing companionship. There’s been plenty of successful cases of young people living with an elderly housemate, just take Poppy for example who lived with 82 year old Zebunessa because she struggled to deal with the cost of hosuing in London as an actor (https://www.refinery29.com/en-gb/homeshare-with-elderly-people-in-the-uk).
2. Buy Smart.
Groceries plays a big factor within this, and as students many of us have humble budgets to spend so it’s always better to choose wisely! One of the good ways to do this is to plan your meals ahead as this gives you a rough idea of the specific items you need when you enter the grocery store. This method can help you figure out which stores have better bargains for certain items you require such as “2 for 1” deals or bulk buy packs. Meal prepping may sound like a tedious tasks, but once you get the hang of it, meal prepping can take a load off your busy schedule by having set recipes and the exact ingredients you need already at hand whilst being able to save money.
We don’t always have to buy the big brands. This may be a luxury you have become accustomed to at home however the best thing for you may be in your local shops. More often than not local stores like butchers or fruit and veg grocers have better prices than your big name supermarkets, and more likely they’re better quality and fresher produce.
P.s. Freshers fairs always give out free stuff, even when you’re not a fresher don’t be shy to go get a slice of free Domino’s pizza like I initially was…
3. NUS Cards/ Discounting opportunities.
It is also not a harm to ask if certain stores do accept student discounts, and it is especially helpful if you have a Unidays or NUS ID, as many stores do accept them - such as Superdrug which gives students 10% off your total amount. If you’re looking to buy toiletries and cosmetics, a little percent can go a long way. And even if you don’t want to sign up for these, just show your student ID and pray they do have a discount, it usually works…
Moreover, if you know you are a frequent shopper at certain stores then a helpful quick way to save is to start collecting your loyalty points, which culminates with every purchase. The more points you earn and collect, can often gain you discounts and deals as a loyal shopper.
Depending on who you are, you might also like to travel home a lot like me for those fresh meals and free laundry… any to see the family too I guess. But if you do this, you’ll quickly find your train tickets costs add up to a not so cheap amount. One way to fix this is to get a 16-25 railcard which reduces ticket prices by 1/3rd, better yet, if you sign up with Santander for a student account you can get one for free! Or just pay £30…
4. Budgeting spending.
Budgeting is probably the hardest thing I had to learn in the first year, even stats wasn’t that hard. Budgeting yourself can make sure you’re keeping on top of your cash flow. If you're not keeping on top of what you're spending then you may end up with a large hole in your pocket and an overdraft the size of the Eiffel Tower.
5. Compare costs for Bills and maximise efficiency.
Bills, bills, bills! We can’t avoid them (unless you homeshare, see no.1!) but we can compare them. Handy dandy websites such as Compare the Market or USwitch can help reduce your bills and insurance. Sometimes using these websites you get a little bonus on top like with Compare the Market you can get 2 for 1 tickets at the cinema just for using their service. Another handy thing to do is to use supermarket price comparisons when shopping online or even in store. You can find the cheapest prices for things you’re buying weekly online and potentially even get a cashback offer for using the service.
6. Buy cheaper products. Own brand etc.
What is cheaper? Tesco branded paracetamol or GSK produced and branded paracetamol? Probably the GSK one. More accurately, which is better? Trick question, they’re both the same. Legally all paracetamol products are the same and do the same job. Now what was that fun fact supposed to prove? Well, the cheaper brands could often save you money due to them simply being a smaller or lesser valued name! You do have to look out for this though, when it comes to things like meat you might find the better branded ones are of a better quality so this rule doesn’t always work…
7. Grow your own foods.
You don’t have to be studying Farmonomics at The University of Seeds to grow some vegetables or fruits (yes tomato is a fruit). See the list below for all the types of things you can grow in your own room with a little pot, though I do recommend you make sure it’s ok to grow things in your room, maybe just put it in the kitchen and blame your flatmate if you get in trouble…
Onions and Garlic.
8. Use apps to fund your fun.
Apps are great, from taxis to socialising apps have changed the game. One way you can make money is to use one of the apps below:
These apps allow people to make money using their skills. People can buy your services and you simply provide to their specification. For example if you’re a computing student you could go on one of these apps and offer up your services to build a website design or code a simple command! Easy as that!
9. Loyalty points.
“Loyalty isn’ grey, its black or white”, so either you sign up for these loyalty schemes or you don’t because you’ll be missing out if you don’t:
Boots Advantage Card.
Most commonly loyalty cards just let you accumulate points for purchases depening on how much you’ve spent which, when you’ve earnt enough, will be redeemable for vouchers or credit. Sometimes you can get something like a free lunch at Nandos… Just for going Nandos….
10. Freecycle! Use websites to see what you can get for free and furnish for nothing.
“Momma always told me, take free stuff when you can” – Forrest Gump
Ok so maybe that isn’t the actual quote but it’s still just as useful. Who doesn’t love freebies? You’ll find being a University student you’ll get plenty of free things; pens, pizza, bags, vouchers. One way to extend your freebies search beyond the campus is to use the following websites to find things that are being given away in search of a new home: