So, you’ve just received your A-level results and are well on your way to starting your new university life. You’re probably planning all the events you’re going to attend during Fresher’s Week and what drinks you’re going to get with what mixers, what societies you’re going to join and how you are going to survive doing your own washing. But before you know it, you’ll find yourself hanging onto your last couple of quid and surviving on beans on toast – or if you’re lucky, treating yourself to some Pot Noodles.
Don’t worry! It doesn’t have to be that way – here are some top tips to help stretch your student loan further and save you some cash:
Tip 1: Get to know your discounts
You might be one of the lucky few that receives an NUS with your student card, but if not, you can always get yourself an NUS extra card. For the best value for money, we recommend the three-year card. Whilst there is an initial cost to purchase one, you can redeem the cost back in the money you will save on offers like 10% off at ASOS or 50% off a Spotify premium subscription.
NUS isn’t the only card that gives discounts to students. If you’re mainly into shopping online you can sign up for UNiDAYS online instead. All you need to do is create an account, verify your student status and start saving. If you’re a fan of eating out, get yourself a Tastecard which offers 50% off at hundreds of restaurants.
Tip 2: Get rid of big-name brands
One sure fire way to save the pennies is to get rid of big-name brands from your shopping list. They up the cost of your food shop and honestly you don’t need them. Plenty of supermarkets tend to offer their own version of your favourite products at a fraction of the price, and most of the time you can’t even taste the difference.
Tip 3: Save money on postage thanks to Amazon Prime
You can sign up to Amazon student for 6-months and get free next day delivery and student-only offers, which give you discounts on textbooks and other essentials. And best of all you get access to Prime movies and TV shows for when you’ve overdone it on Netflix.
Tip 4: Get an (almost) free coffee everyday
This one is going to be a gem for when you have to revise or when you are up against a deadline. In the old days, anyone who had a Waitrose card could just walk into the store and grab themselves a free cup of coffee. Sadly, Waitrose clocked onto this and when they realised that a lot of people weren’t buying anything, they changed their policy. The new policy still allows you to enjoy a great bargain. The only rule now is that you must purchase something if you want the free drink. Good news though, there is no minimum spend. So, grab yourself the cheapest thing you can find and enjoy a free hot drink. For those smarty pants out there, the 5p bag doesn’t count as an item.
Tip 5: Ride public transport for less
No matter what you have going on, whether it’s trips to the library, getting to and from campus or just exploring your new adopted city, Stagecoach offer a range of discounted student tickets where you pay once and you can travel as many times as you like. Depending on your area, tickets are available on a yearly or termly basis and offers unlimited travel in your area from only 83p* per day. More information can be found at www.stagecoachbus.com/students
Tip 6: Get free food from McDonald’s
Did you know that everyone’s favourite night out stop, McDonalds, offer you a free cheeseburger, McFlurry or Chicken Mayo when you order a meal and show your student card? Give it a try next time you’re out.
Tip 7: Be book smart and do your reading for free
One of the biggest uni expenses is forking out for books. They can be very expensive, and depending on your course, you might have a reading list as long as your arm. However, there are ways you can cut costs and still be a top-class student.
One option is to buy second-hand books from people in the year above you. Many courses have a Facebook page where students sell second-hand copies. You can also buy e-books which are usually cheaper and lighter than carrying physical copies- win-win!
If you can’t get a hold of the books in the library you can have a look at Google Books or Google Scholar. You can find whole articles without having to dip into your account to buy the whole book, and you might find that at the end of the year you’ve saved yourself a few hundred quid too.
Tip 8: Get yourself a cheap flight
Everyone loves a good holiday but as we all know, they can be very expensive. Don’t mistakenly assume that the first price you see is the cheapest. If you don’t have a preference on your location you can use Skyscanner’s ‘everywhere’ tool to find a bargain. Another option is to check out Ryanair’s cheap fight page, just put in your budget and browse through the options available. If you have a destination in mind then you can also set up price alerts with Momondo.