You tend to find that the first few weeks of University fly by and you’re in something of a blur.
You’re meeting new people, trying to fend for yourself and getting into some kind of routine around your studies, but at the same time it’s easy to watch that beautiful thing known as a student loan disappearing at a rapid speed.
To help you to combat this problem, Alexander & Co – who are top accountants in Manchester – have compiled this list of top money-saving tips for students to make sure that you don’t spend “the time of your life” as many call it, struggling for cash and relying on bailouts from The Bank of Mum and Dad.
Create a budget sheet
While making a budget might not sound like fun, especially when all you want to do is play on FIFA with your new flatmates or to go and have a few drinks with people on your course; it could be the difference between having a comfortable amount of money to live on and having the awkward “can I borrow” conversation with your parents.
By working out when you have money coming in, you can work out just how long what you have has to last you. Start at the beginning or end of the month when you have no more outgoings, and subtract any essential payments from your balance – things like rent and course fees for example.
This should then leave you with a total to live on, and by dividing it by the number of days or weeks until your next income, you can work out exactly how much “disposable income” you have available before you go into your overdraft – if you’re fortunate enough to have one.
Student bank account
A lot of the most popular banks offer accounts specifically for students. Some will have interest-free overdrafts which can come to your rescue, while others will be savings accounts with good interest rates that will help you to keep money back for essentials like books, rent, deposits on properties for the next few years and of course your trips back home to see the parents!
Buy second-hand course materials
At the start of each semester your tutors might send round a list of essential reading, usually textbooks that they suggest you buy to have as a handy resource for your course. These books – while incredibly useful for referencing in your essays and assignments – do often come at a price when bought from new in book shops.
It’s worth either looking online for other students who no longer need the books who might be selling them on the likes of eBay; or on notice boards around the campus where people might be advertising them for a few pounds.
Buy retailer’s private labels
A lot of people have their own favourite items when it comes to going shopping for food and drink, and it’s easy to head straight for the branded items like you might have done when your parents bought the weekly shopping.
However, now you’re fending for yourself, it’s worth looking at retailer’s private labels that are often much cheaper than the branded alternatives, and taste exactly the same – in some cases, better! By doing this you will find that the cost of your weekly shopping drops substantially.
Share the bills
Every student these days seems to have a Netflix account for example, or other streaming sites and subscriptions. The chances are that you’re all going to sit down and watch a film at some point, so rather than having five or six different subscriptions, share the expense and have one person signing up for Netflix, one for Amazon Prime and so on so that you’re saving money together – you can then put those savings away for a rainy day or in a pot to spend on flat essentials like cleaning products.
Similarly, check what everyone else already has before you buy your own equipment, such as pots and pans for the flat. You’re never going to need six frying pans, so look around and speak to your house mates before you spend money on items that you don’t need, and look to buy something that nobody else has thought of to do your bit.