as a student going into my second year at university i like to think i have a good idea of how to budget as a student. my student loan doesn't even cover my rent so i've really had to learn to scrimp and save. everyone has their own areas they can make savings but here are a few tips and tricks i have picked up in my first year.
1. take food with you
one of my biggest pitfalls is buying myself food when i'm out and about at uni. whether its a sandwich at lunch time or a coffee on the way to lectures it all adds up! so i bought myself some lunch boxes and snack pots from the £1 shop and i make sure to always have something in my bag, especially when i head off to library!
2. make a spending diary
this is something i have been doing more recently and it really helps you see where all of your money is going. i realised that i was spending money on a bottle of water every time i went out, so now i keep one in my bag at all times.
3. think before you buy
do you really need it? this is the first question i ask myself before i purchase anything. can i live without it? if they answer is yes, then don't buy it. i ask the same question before i go out for dinner or a night out. have i been out too much that week? can i afford to go out again? it's all about thinking before you do anything.
4. use your student discount (or any discount for that matter)
if you must buy something ALWAYS ask if they do a student discount. a lot of places do and those who don't can sometimes recommend another way to get some discounts. it never hurts to ask!
5. shop around
it took me 3 terms to work out that tesco was the cheapest supermarket by the university, needless to say i hadn't been using it. i've now worked out that doing an asda delivery every couple of weeks is even cheaper! if you want to save even more money go to a local market nearby and pick up all of your fresh fruit and veg here, it works out so much cheaper than any supermarket! ninety percent of the time if you're buying something you can get it cheaper elsewhere, so make sure you look around!
6. look at what you have
the amount of times i see people buy a new pair of jeans when they have another 10 pairs at home! don't buy things you already have! if you have 40 tops but no skirts then don't go buying another 5 t'shirts. in the same way think about what you have that will go with each piece. there is no point in buying something that you can't actually wear. this applies to anything you buy, not just clothes! think before you go to the till.
7. make sacrifices
sometimes you just have to go without. when i look back at all the things i wanted to do or have wanted to buy over the past year none of it was more important than needing money for food. it sucks, but don't think of it as going without. Think of it more as postponing until the future.
ps as most freshers will be heading off over the next few weeks i'm hoping to get up a few posts about my uni experience and my advice to anyone heading off. if you have anything you'd like me to cover please send me an email or leave a comment below :)