Written by A Guest Blogger
My name is Rebecca Elizabeth and I am currently studying for my masters in law at the London School of Economics. My husband (then fiancé) made the decision to pay off all his debts whilst being an undergraduate student. We learnt so much from this experience, and with so many other students struggling with money management, I decided to start a blog about personal finance so students could share the tips and ideas we learnt – SavingScotts was born!
And here I am to share some of that wisdom with you on the Student Nannies’ blog in this guest post. Autumn term is coming to a close and odds are you’re finding yourself at the end of your student loans. With money running short, Christmas presents and parties adding up, you need some money saving tips to make it until the January loan installment. Here’s my top ten thrifty tricks for students….
- Cook with friends. Food shopping for one can be quite expensive as often you will purchase larger quantities than you need just because it is the smallest amount available. Shopping and cooking with friends allows you to share the workload, take advantage of special bulk offers and reduce the cost of your weekly shop.
- Buy your textbooks secondhand. Textbooks are extortionately expensive, especially from the campus bookstore. Odds are you can find a much more reasonably priced second-hand copy from someone in the year above you. Check to see if your department runs book sales or see if there is a Facebook buy/sell page for your course.
- Don’t pay for a TV license if you don’t need it. If you are a student, your parents have a TV license and you are watching on a device not plugged into the mains, you do not need to pay for a license. If you do require a license don’t forget to reclaim the summer months you are not living away from home. For more information to help you understand if you need to pay click here.
- Take advantage of student discounts. Both NUS and UniDays offer great student discount systems well worth subscribing to. After all why pay full price when you don’t have. It is also always worth asking if a store/restaurant offers a student discount as it is not always clearly advertised (especially for smaller non-chain companies).
- Ask a member of staff what time their supermarket marks down food items and schedule your shops for that time. Typically supermarkets will do their biggest reductions at about 7/8pm. Most supermarkets have a designated reduced section for different departments (chilled, fresh, dry goods) so it is a good idea to familiarise yourself where these are in your local store.
- Get the best student bank account for you. Whilst the biggest selling point for most student bank accounts is their overdraft (not something we advocate dipping into) they will offer additional freebies including NUS cards, train or coach discount cards. Look at which of these freebies will be of most benefit and value to you when deciding who to bank with.
- Most students will work part-time during their studies in order to bring in some extra income. Working as a Student Nanny offers a great opportunity for flexible work schedules, avoids zero hours contracts and provides the chance for you to network with local professionals and gain valuable work experience. StudentNannies.com is a great place to look for nannying work suited to fit around a student’s busy schedule. If you are looking for something even more flexible consider getting an online job that allows you to work from home.
- Being on a tight budget doesn’t have to mean no fun. From free festivals, museums and galleries wherever you live there is sure to be plenty of free (or low cost events to go to). Don’t forget events on campus are also often low cost or free as they know students are on a small budget. You can also get 2for1 movies for the whole year for less than £2 (learn how ) making it a great budget outing as you can combine it with student price tickets for an extra discount.
When the next student loan comes pays out in January there are couple of things you can do to make your money go even further next term :
- Pay your rent first. Most landlords if you ask are happy for you to pay several months upfront, just be sure to ask first so they know that is what you are doing. When you get your termly student finance in, pay that term’s rent.
- Pop the remaining money into a separate account. Pay yourself an income. Odds are you get student finance three times a year, you might also get some sporadic scholarships or grants. When money comes in so irregularly it can feel tricky to establish a budget. Open up a separate account and set up a standing order for your ‘salary’. Depending on how easy you find it to manage your money you may wish to ‘pay yourself’ weekly, bi-weekly or monthly. Just do what best suits you and your spending habits.
With some creative ideas you can make living on a student budget a liberating not limiting experience.
For more information on any of the above, take a look at SavingScotts. We have tons of articles on managing, earning and saving money all aimed at students and millennials.