Money saving tips for students

Piggy bank

We realise UWE students want to enjoy their student experience without breaking the bank balance, that's why we've put together a list of helpful tips to make your money go further.

Tips for starting at UWE

  • If you are paid your funding termly, pay for your student accommodation termly if possible.
  • Sort out your budget before you receive your first instalment of funding. The first term is the most expensive, and it is easy to spend too much in the excitement of the first few weeks.
  • Claim for help with health costs as you start university and get an exemption certificate for a year.

Food tips

  • Make a shopping list and stick to it - don't forget to check online for the latest supermarket offers.
  • Never shop when you’re hungry, research suggests you'll buy more than you need.
  • Shop on a Sunday afternoon, or after 19:00 when there may be bargains on perishables like bread and vegetables.
  • We all like special offers, but think before you buy - it may seem like a bargain, but will you use it?
  • Drop one brand level in the supermarket and see if you can tell the difference.
  • Look at price per 100g to compare different prices and save yourself some pennies.
  • Buy unpacked fruit and vegetables, they're better for your bank balance and the environment.
  • Buy in bulk with others to save costs - essentials like pasta often work out cheaper.
  • If you're a novice in the kitchen, why not invest in a cook book, you'll often find good books in charity shops.
  • Learning to cook will make you popular with your housemates and save you a fortune over the year, you could even hold your very own ’Come Dine with Me'.
  • Make a sandwich instead of buying a ready-made one and you could save a pound or more a day - that's £260 a year.
  • Use old bread bags and other food packaging for sandwiches.
  • Save take-away containers to use for leftovers and freezing extra portions.
  • Find out which vegetables are in season and grow your own – you only need a windowsill or a few garden pots.
  • Buying a take-out coffee everyday for a week could cost as much as £40 a month. In one year you could save £480, now that's what we call making your money go further.

Lifestyle tips

  • Join your local library for CD and DVD rental.
  • Set a reminder on your phone on the day library books are due back and return or renew them to avoid costly fines.
  • Walking and cycling saves money and keeps you fit, why not invest in a second hand bike and save money on buses, taxis and petrol.
  • Challenge yourself to spend-free days.
  • Check newspapers and magazines for vouchers and discounts.
  • Keep a written record of your spending.
  • Once you arrive at university, join your local Freecycle or Freegle group. This is a mailing list where local people offer up items they no longer want, for free as long as you agree to collect them.
  • Buy used textbooks and make use of the library.

Household tips

  • Make sure your washing machine is full every load so you save on energy bills.
  • Invest in energy saving light bulbs.
  • It’s often more cost effective to keep the heating on constant, but at a lower temperature.
  • Take dated photos to accompany an inventory when you move in to new property.

Shopping tips

  • Invest in an NUS card and don't be afraid to ask for discounts. On average, students save £500 with the help of an NUS card.
  • Use reward cards such as a Boots Advantage card or a Nectar card for those 'invisible' savings.
  • Try own brand products such as Boots' paracetamol rather than costly brand names.

Travel tips

  • Look for local deals on buses and trains - you might be able to purchase a termly pass.
  • When buying train tickets, buy as far in advance as possible. Always check the cost of two single tickets compared to a return.

Banking and finances tips

  • Are you claiming all the benefits you are eligible for? Contact our Money Advisers to check if you can claim.
  • Choose your bank account wisely. Beware of the gimmicks and freebies banks will use to entice students to take out an account with them.
  • Check your bank statements regularly through online banking. This will help to track your spending and prevent you going over your limit.
  • Try and stick to an agreed amount of cash to take out at the start of the week, and limit how often you use your card.
  • If you have an outstanding balance on a credit card, regularly check the financial market to keep up-to-date with the best deals on balance transfers.
  • If you withdraw £10 every weekday in term time, you will be withdrawing over £1,500 a year. Visualise how that money could be better used to celebrate your achievements instead!

Page last updated 13 October 2014

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