With the cost of student accommodation increasing and student loans at an all-time high, managing your budget while at university can be quite a challenge, but there are a number of ways that you can keep your costs down and make it through first semester without going into your overdraft.
Student Finance – don’t spend all of your student loan as soon as you receive it! Work out how much you can afford to spend each week and set yourself a strict budget!
Track your Spending – I use weekly spending tracker to update me on how much I’ve spent each week – you can also set up an automatic savings account which will save what you can afford in a separate holiday/emergency fund if you’re super savings savvy.
Pay the Right Taxes – as a student you don’t need to pay council tax (yay!), but you will need to pay for a TV licence and Income Tax (if you earn over £11,851), if you think you might have paid too much tax, you can check through HMRC.
Students, recent graduates (anyone with access to an “ac.uk” email) you can get student discount! Here are all the best ways to make sure that you get student discount on almost anything…
UNiDAYS – The UNiDAYS app is a free app that gives you access to student discount from 100’s of retailers including Urban Outfitters, Asos and Apple. UNiDAYS is available on both iOS and android, and you can use your UNiDAYS app to pay online or in store. Getting the UNiDAYS app is straight-forward, there’s more info on my Student Discount post.
NUS Extra Card – NUS extra is the most popular student discount card in the UK. It provides you with discounts for over 200 retailers (in the UK). The NUS Extra card is £12 for 1 year (or £32 for 3 years)! You’ll also get access to student discounts abroad! NUS discounts include: 40% off Pizza Express, 25% off ODEON (Mon-Thur), 20% off National Express & Eurolines, 12% off the 16-25 Railcard, £10% off Co-op, 10% off ASOS, 10% off Megabus. Applying for your NUS Extra card is super easy, just head over to the NUS Extra website and click “buy your NUS extra card now”.
16-25 Railcard– If you frequently travel by train you should invest in a railcard. A 16-25 railcard will give you 1/3 off standard train tickets. The 16-25 railcard costs £30 a year (or £70 for 3 years) and any 16-25-year-old (or student in full-time education) is eligible to get a railcard! Head over to the National Railcards website to get your money saving railcard!
Worried about how you’re going to eat, drink, stay sane and afford Christmas on your (slightly less than comfortable) student budget? These freebies might help you…
Free Food – There are tons of ways you can get free food, drinks and cosmetic using various apps such as Shopmium, I check the Shopmium app every time I go shopping and have now claimed over £100 worth of freebies. You’ll also get a (chocolate related) freebie just for signing up!
Amazon Prime Student – You can get a 6 month FREE trial of Prime Student & 50% off after your trial when you become a student. Prime allows you to stream TV shows and movies, get unlimited One-Day Delivery on millions of items, access songs and playlists (ad-free!) & get early access to lightning deals. After your trial is over your membership will cost you half the price (£39 a year), however, you can cancel anytime! To claim your free trial of Amazon Prime, just head over to the Amazon website and verify your student status (you do this with your student email address)
Debenhams Beauty Club – Debenhams offer a new monthly freebie to its beauty club members, freebies have included foundation, perfume and mascara! To get yours, become a Debenhams Beauty Club member.
Part-time Employment – Throughout Uni I worked as a sales assistant, sports coach & a brand rep; all to earn a bit of extra money (it’s also good experience for when you leave Uni!). You can find part-time employment by looking on your university’s employment page or by checking out vacancy search engines like indeed.
Side Hustles – Casual work is a good way to earn some extra dollar without taking too much time away from your lectures and assignments. My favourite places to find odd jobs are RedWigWam (part-time shifts) and BeMyEye (tasks in your local area) but you can find extra income opportunities on my Side Hustles page.
Mystery Shopping – As a mystery shopper with I’ve been paid to eat, drink and shop at my favourite stores! This is a great way to bag a free meal and get paid in the process! Interested in Mystery Shopping, find out more on my Mystery Shopping post.
For more advice, tips and freebies head over to Bee Money Savvy and become a super money-savvy student!
This post was kindly written by Emma at Bee Money Savvy. I came across one of her money saving posts the other week and realised it would be perfect to get her involved in this student week, sharing her helpful money saving tips with us students who often fall short of money. Make sure you head over to her blog for any more money saving tips (her posts are incredible) and follow her social medias [linked above] to keep up to date with any new posts and helpful tips!