Friday, 18 September 2015
Ways To Save Money At University
In my first term at uni last year, I was pretty frivolous with my cash. At one point a got to a stage where I looked in my account and, to my surprise, I had well under £100 left. Panic ensued, naturally. Thereafter, I decided that I would cut back in every way that I could and I ended up saving so much money. So, I wanted to share my money saving tips with you as I know that I was rather nervous before I started uni about how I would budget my money so I would like to share what I have learnt.
You are studying - and possibly living - in a university city. Students often donate lots of the things that they have accumulated whilst at uni that they don't want to take back home with them. Our uni even organised a collection of things to donate to charity at the end of the year when we were moving out of halls so our unwanted goods went straight to charity shops in the city.
I found that there were lots of branded clothes and bags that were often new in charity shops in Cardiff for a good price - unlike in smaller towns, charity shops in cities get so much stock that they don't have to overcharge for branded goods. You might even find the textbook that you need that is £30 in Blackwell's or something to liven up your new place.
Sell unwanted items on eBay
I made serious money selling all my unwanted clothes on eBay throughout the year. This is, of course, something you should really do before moving out or at the end of the academic year but I found that as I bought new clothes, other things in my wardrobe lost their appeal so the best way to get rid of them - and make some money to replace them - was via eBay.
Only buy course books you know for definite are compulsory to buy for your course
This is so important. When you get your reading list, only purchase the primary texts. The secondary/background reading can be found in the library. Also lecturers will probably tell you if an extra textbook is a good one to own. Trust me, you'll be living off Pot Noodle and stale bread for the rest of the term if you purchase every book on the reading list.
Do work at the library
This one applies more to those who have to pay electricity bills - i.e. those not in halls. A good option is to do your work at the university library. You can charge your laptop there as you work or use the PCs there as not to waste excess electricity. I would always write up the basic argument of an essay on paper then go to the library to type it up on a PC and print it there.
Make use of the uni wifi
Got blogging emails to reply to? Nip to the library, find a quiet corner, and make use of the free wifi. Then you're not paying data charges and you needn't have your broadband left on at home.
These are an absolute lifesaver. The amount of times I would have had to replace the batteries in my blogging camera if it wasn't for having rechargeable batteries. It is something you have to spend a little more on but it works out a lot cheaper in the long run - especially if you're using a battery operated appliance often.
Use your student discount. This seems obvious but it is easy to forget to take your student ID out to the shops or wherever with you. You can get a student discount at so many places these days so it is a shame to miss out on it.
Fresher's Week offers
During Fresher's Week you will be inundated with offers left, right, and centre. Make the most of it. Pizzas are buy one get one free at Domino's? Do it. You'll regret passing up the offer when you're paying full price for two.
Lots of Lidls have a bakery section where they sell freshly baked bread and cakes for very low cost. You can get a whole French stick for, I think, 45p. And it tastes as good as a Tesco or Sainsbury's one which would have been about 40p more expensive.
Get a part time job
Getting a part time job is something I would advise. Towards the end of my first year, I worked 6 hours a week at a cleaning job. It doesn't sound much but, at £8 per hour, I had a little extra cash in my pocket to spend on what I liked.
At the start of the year, I would take the bus to the bus station whenever I needed to catch a coach to travel home on. It wasn't hugely expensive but I then discovered that the bus station was only about a 40 minute walk away. From then on, I decided to walk it each time and it really wasn't a problem at all. The only time I wouldn't walk somewhere is if it is more than an hour's walk away or if it is getting dark.
National Express coaches
I always use coaches and I would seriously advise it. It takes longer than the train but it is so much cheaper. For instance, my return fare from Devon to Cumbria was £50. If I had taken the train it would have been about £180. No student can afford to be spending that kinda money frequently. If you use the coach service, you can go and visit your friends in different places around the UK inexpensively.
Also, if you are going to be travelling home a fair bit, get a coach card or rail card to get really good discounts.
I hope this post was helpful and, if you are starting uni or returning to uni this month, I wish you all the best and I hope you have an amazing time.