7 Money saving tips for university students

Apr 18, 2020

Struggling to manage your money as a student? University life can be difficult if you’re having difficulties managing your student budget. We are here to help! Here are our best money saving tips for university students!

Taking charge of your student finances

For many, university is the first time that they take full responsibility for their finances and spending.

According to Save The Student, up to 77% of students start university without being taught how to organise their funds.

Getting used to student budgeting can involve trial and error to learn your own way of handling cash. That’s why we’ve put together this guide outlining the best money saving tips for university students. 

Saving money sounds tedious, but it can help you develop lifelong skills which will prove invaluable in the future. 

Furthermore, it is about having the best possible experience at university, without letting it be ruined by finances. 

It is worth recognising, especially as a former student, that laziness is prevalent at university.

Therefore all of the following has been selected to be as undemanding as possible!

#1. Get the right student bank account for you

If you haven’t got a Monzo card, consider getting one! They are free to apply for, so there is no reason not to. If you already have one, then discover further what good they can offer. 

A Monzo is a prepaid card, so you can deposit money at the beginning of the week/month.

Monzo is a great way to stop you using your bank card, and an excellent way to track your spending.

Actionable student bank account tips

  • Organise your bills with those you live with.
  • Get a full list of what and where you’ve spent money on. The mobile app automatically sorts your spending into categories like groceries, eating out and bills. This can be good for tracking how much you’ve spent on nights out.
  • Activate features such as the “Round up transactions” pot. This feature can help you to preserve and save your spare change. 

Student bank account benefits

There are several student bank account options available in the UK. It is important to compare the best bank accounts before making a decision.

Here are some benefits of having a student bank account:

  • They are specially designed for the needs of students.
  • Many of them come with an interest-free overdraft.
  • Most student bank accounts come with other perks such as discounts and free gifts.
  • Some student bank accounts will allow you to pay off your overdraft once you have graduated.

If you are considering getting a credit card there are several available for students. Research thoroughly which one is best for you and seek professional financial advice from your bank. 

➡️ Compare Student Credit Cards

We all know that university, aside from getting a good degree, is a time to have fun and make friends.

This advice doesn’t want to stop that! Hopefully, it will help you to manage your student bank account. Doing so will help you to enjoy your social life whilst staying on top of your financial obligations!

#2. Save money with recognised student discount cards

As a student, whether it is buying food or travelling, you should never be spending more than necessary.

There are a few notable student cards which will undoubtedly save you money in the long run: 

  • Totum Student Card: The Totum card is the evolved and latest version of the NUS Extra Card (National Union of Students). It’s designed to provide a student with a cheaper lifestyle.

Many big high street names will offer you up to 20% discount and it can even be used as ID, no more losing your driving license! A one-year membership costs £14.99.

  • 16-25 Railcard: Train tickets can be expensive and if bought regularly the expenditure can stack up.

    For a £30 outlay, you can save a whole third from the original ticket price which will make a considerable difference over an academic year.
  • Beyond just what a discount card can get you, be looking for a student discount everywhere else as well! 

#3. Make your food shop efficient and worthwhile

It will always be tempting to order a takeaway at university, as it has become so easy, with the number of apps available.

Fresh Student Living estimate there has been a 73% surge in the number of home delivery takeaways through smartphone-based delivery companies. 

Whilst this is certainly an easy option, it is expensive and often unhealthy. 

Whilst one of the simplest money-saving tips for university students, bulk shopping and home cooking is much more cost-effective and longer-lasting. 

Don’t know where to start? 

  • MOB Kitchen is a much admired and trending online food channel with book publications, recipe suggestions and plenty of videos. What’s better is everything they do is aimed at the student crowd!
  • Another collection of student cookbooks, Nosh is an introductory guide to the kitchen for those with little or no experience. They contain simple, easy-to-follow meals which can show you how to cook in bulk.
  • It is worth taking time to think where it’s easy to spend money, without noticing it. This is because it could accumulate over time

    Buying a daily meal deal at the cost of £3 five days a week could set you back up to £60 a month! Or spending money on a coffee at Starbucks nearly every day will easily cost over £10 a week. Cutting these down for cheaper alternatives and treating yourself here and there will save you A LOT of money!
student shoping for groceries
Photo by Artem Beliaikin from Pexels

#4. Get a part-time job

Money-saving goes far beyond just simple budgeting. It is possible to live only on your student loan and maintenance grant from the government, but you will have to be strict with yourself.

Whilst it doesn’t sound overly glamorous, working even just a few days a month can line your pockets without having to worry about your budgeting quite so much. 

Saving money as a student isn’t just about finding ways of spending less! If you’re working, you aren’t spending. You also could be taking onboard invaluable experience to take forth into the working world. 

You might be wondering “Where do I get a job?”. There will be far more options than you might expect, from working for your university, or for a restaurant or hotel in the area. Equally worthwhile, find employment that can use your personal skills. This could be playing an instrument in demand, photography at events or being an extra for television. 

Working part-time during the holidays can also allow you to return to university in a stronger financial position, be it as paid work experience or any sort of local business closer to home. 

#5. Making sure you are paying the cheapest bills possible

When you first move into a house with your friends, you are no longer getting free utilities like your student accommodation.

Not much attention is often given to house expenses (unless all utilities are covered in the rent of course!).

Actionable tips for saving money on your bills

  • Make sure you aren’t paying council tax: Any full-time student is completely exempt from this!
  • TV License: With the availability of Netflix, Amazon Prime and NowTV is there even any need to have daytime television or use the BBC iPlayer?

    A TV license is an £157.50 annual fee which when split between several people isn’t that much. Also, according to moneysavingexpert.com, if your parents have a TV License and you live with them outside of term time, you technically don’t need one!

    But you must watch content requiring a license on a device not connected to an aerial.
  • Make sure you are doing business with the cheapest energy provider: Possibly one of the most boring parts of being a student is dealing with your utilities bill.

    This is covering such essentials as electricity, water and heating. When you arrive in your house this is all provided by a company already.

    New players Look After My Bills provide a completely free service which will auto-switch you to the cheapest and best provider of energy!

    On the other hand it is worth doing a small bit of trawling online to see how much your bills are costing compared to other companies. 

Something else outside of your house worth noting…|

  • Job Tax: If you get an aforementioned part-time job at university and earn less than £12,500 a year which, as temporary work, would be likely you are not obligated to pay a penny of tax! So make sure you claim back anything you are owed.
  • Concerning your mobile phone, speak to your provider as a student to see if you are getting the best deal possible. Customer service has the power to offer a better deal. 
Photo by Sora Shimazaki from Pexels

#6. Saving through technology

Luckily the current university student generation is fairly tech-savvy. As a result none should have a problem utilising the following money-saving tip for university students:

  • Books: Before starting university you are often given a reading list. Check to see which ones are required.

    If you have no luck online, see if your library has them or see if any second or third years are selling their old textbooks.

  • Amazon Prime: You can get free Prime for 6 MONTHS as a student, what is there to lose?

  • Spotify: You can save 50% with Spotify at only £4.99 a month whilst you’re a student. One could argue a shrewd investment.

  • Microsoft Office: A student at university can save a large chunk of money by securing Microsoft Office for free.

  • Hold App: Struggling to work because of your phone? This handy app will reward you points every 20 minutes for NOT using your phone between the hours of 7am to 11pm.

    You can trade these points at a huge number of brands including Vue, Amazon and Caffè Nero. A great money-saving incentive and will allow you to get some work done.

  • Sweatcoin: Similar to Hold in that it gives you credits with brands which will allow you to save money.

    It quite literally rewards you for walking about outside, aiming to promote a healthy lifestyle. It has to be always running on your phone, but can do so on a battery saving mode. Why not try it?

  • Depop: Instead of spending a fortune on every item of new clothing, why not scope out what is available on Depop?

#7. Money saving tips for university students going out

This is what most people look forward to when arriving at university!

Luckily, a lot of student nights already come with discounts on things like entry and drinks, but we tried to find a few ways which can help:

  • Pre-Drinking: A basic and quickly established principle, if you’re planning a big night out save money through buying your alcohol from a supermarket or local shop. It is as you might expect infinitely cheaper than drinking out and about instead.

  • Learning to live with FOMO (fear of missing out): You can’t go out every night, even though in your first year of university some people manage it. Sometimes save your money for the next one, be mint not skint!

  • Taxi: After a night out it is always tempting to grab a taxi home. If you do this then share the cab, or find which local taxi services provide the best deals.

  • FIXR App: One of the best ticket providers for student nights out, an event usually sells early release tickets at a discounted price. 

Summary: Money saving tips for university students

Having already been through university we can stand by the student money management tips above and trust it will serve you. 

Saving money requires discipline and we’ll all occasionally take a day off! Just aim to reward yourself on that odd day when you know you truly deserve it. 

Remember university is about having the best time possible (and getting that degree), so don’t think that money is something that will diminish the experience. It is a part of it and if you enforce some simple saving methods it’ll be a smooth ride! However, if you do find yourself getting into financial hardship whilst at university, check out our post on How to Cope with Financial Emergencies During Your Degree.

Check out how to Enjoy university in another one of our blogs to couple up with this one, and our networking tips which will help you with your job hunting preparation! If you enjoyed this article and know anyone it may help then please share it using the below.

Featured Photo by maitree rimthong from Pexels

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