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Stretch Your Money: The Ultimate Top 10 Money Savings Tips

Scared to be broke during your first month at university? Tamanna Ali and Yarohey Secka share some great tips to save money!

  • 1. Learn to cook: One of the biggest tips is to learn how to cook. Put down the menu of your local Chinese and put on an apron! Learning how to cook can be one of the best ways to save those pounds. There are many websites that offer simple recipes like Student Recipes and BBC Good Food Students. These websites make cooking so much easier, so you can whip up tasty, healthy, cheap meals in a matter of minutes. Another great tip for cooking is to use your freezer: Freeze leftovers and warm them up the next day. Ingredients for cooking don’t have to be that expensive too. Try buying generic supermarket brands, or if you really want to squeeze those pennies, opt for vegetarian. 
  • 2. Take advantage of being a student: NUS cards (read: cheaper entertainment). Loyalty cards. Free festivals, exhibitions and art galleries. Take advantage of being a student! There are plenty of shops and eateries (online, too), which offer student discounts. Purchase yourself an NUS Extra card, which will entitle you to a number of exclusive offers and discounts. Saving money doesn’t have to mean staying inside. Many big cities have museums, which offer free admissions. There are usually free festivals, exhibitions and art galleries: you’ve just got to keep an eye out! Check local listings and the internet to see what’s going on in your city. You could see yourself learning something new at an exhibition, at totally no cost.
  • 3. Use the web: Comparison shopping, cheap deals on eBay, Groupon, Student Beans and many others. Tying into that last point, use the web! It cannot be stressed enough. There are lots of money-saving websites like My Voucher CodesGroupon and Money Supermarket. eBay offers the best place to sell old clothes, and buy new ones at a considerably cheaper price than in stores. By bidding for items you have more control over how much you spend. 
  • 4. Save your bills: Save electricity, lower your heater, switch to the lowest energy provider. You can save on your bills by becoming more eco-friendly. Turning off lights, washing at 30 degrees, and lowering the temperature of your radiator saves money and energy. Contacting comparison-switching services like USwitch could be useful too: it’s an impartial service that finds the cheapest deals for you and it includes gas and electricity, broadband, mobile phones and insurance. They can tell you how much you can save by changing providers. These are all great ways to help lower your carbon footprint, and keep more money in the bank.
  • 5. Turn unneeded things into cash! Why not turning some of your unneeded items into some extra cash? Most second-hand mobile phone stores and companies offer to recycle your mobile for money, and this is a really quick way to make some extra cash if you’ve got the odd handset lying around! Be careful not to get scammed though. Sometimes certain companies can offer a very low price for a handset if your phone is not top-end (so if your handset is a Sony Ericsson K750i or a Nokia 3220 they could offer you as little as £3!). Don’t fret though – always be sure that you get your money’s worth. Why not setting up an eBay account and selling your items there? Sell your old books/textbooks, handsets, even clothes you may never wear (yes, this does mean de-cluttering your wardrobe). Check out Music Magpie: enter details of any old CD’s, DVD’s and games you don’t need and get that translated into cash. Don’t forget to use social networks, campus notice boards and store windows to expand your audience and potential buyers. 
  • 6. Get help – your university or college will most likely have a student adviser: Take advantage of student banking, interest free overdrafts and any student loans on offer: There’s no need to be in red when it comes to finances. If you’re struggling for help just ask! Your university will most likely have a student adviser on hand, who can help you with queries and enquires about loans and finances. Another benefit of being a student is student banking. Many banks offer interest free overdrafts to students, and other benefits tailored towards students.
  • 7. Keep an eye on your spending and kicking your habits: Avoid unnecessary expenses. Check out Gift Converter to cut the cost of your gift-giving and find discounted gift cards and vouchers that people sell on. Bargains could include a £50 iTunes voucher for £40 or a £60 Starbucks gift card for £35! You could also swap and share things with your friends. Remember, don’t spend more than you can afford! Prioritise your money and pay off any of your debts (and debts to people) before splashing out! You could also switch to alternatives such as renting books/textbooks from the library instead of paying large amounts for them (they’re temporary anyway!). Kick your expensive habits such as smoking – check out the Stop Smoking Service from Boots which includes expert private consultation with a Boots pharmacist! 
  • 8. Learn to haggle: Hunt for hidden student discounts at markets. Don’t be ripped off by people whether you’re in the UK or abroad! Be vigilant of money-grabbers and be sure to compare prices before you buy. Some stores may charge a little extra than others to get a bit more profit – and this usually goes for smaller corner shops (if you want to grab a snack before a lecture). Why not bring a home-made sandwich or packed lunch now and then to save that little bit of cash? Always ask retail stores whether they accept student discounts on purchases – most stores may not advertise it. Check out the top haggling tips here.
  • 9. Battle your mobile bill: Compare different tariffs and networks. Check out Billmonitor, where you can be matched to your ideal mobile contract out of thousands available! All you have to do is type in your preferred contract details (i.e. how many minutes, calls, texts, Internet you need) and in a few seconds you could be matched to your perfect network, handset or contractor. Always compare different tariffs and networks, don’t rush into a contract without knowing all the available options first! You could also implement some of the your haggling skills when searching for the right mobile contract, but be aware that some can be fixed. 
  • 10. Get a temp or part-time job: To help out with finances, check out jobs at your university and enhance your CV as well. If you can balance your studies well, why not look out for temporary and part-time vacancies to help put with your student finances?  Check out websites such as Gumtree, Retailchoice, CharityJob, Reed and more. Use your contacts, links and search engines to optimise your chances of finding a job: you never know when a vacancy will pop up! Be persistent and don’t ever give up hope. You could hand out your CV in different retail stores which are looking for vacancies, but most stores now have an online application which they’ll tell you to fill in. It might be handy to know that most employers favour university students to college students, so you’re not completely out of luck! Take advantage of your university Career Services: they’ll answer your queries, point you to the right direction and may even set you up for a part-time or temporary job on campus!

Pictures by Pinoy Life, My Family Club, She Knows, Student Flights

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