Whether you’re a fresher or graduating this year, managing your finances is tough. Maintenance loans don’t get you very far, minimum wage is barely enough to live on, and that overdraft just isn’t going to last forever. Although these tips won’t solve your problems completely (it’s just part of that student life), they’ll definitely relieve some of your financial stress.
- Cook your own meals
Not only will this save you a ton of money, but cutting down on takeaways and jumping into the kitchen will also make you feel healthier and more energised. Cooking your meals and even baking treats and snacks is also really enjoyable when you get creative. If the thought of cooking for yourself every day just doesn’t appeal to you, then why not try cooking in bulk once a week and freezing it into portions for you to reheat later? It’s just as healthy, and still stops you reaching for that Just Eat app.
- Shop around
Although the free Sainsburys bus from campus is convenient, it’s hardly the cheapest place you could be doing your food shopping. Other places in town you should try are Lidl (it’s a little far out from town, but fine for picking up a few bits) and Iceland, which is right in the centre of town, just a couple of minutes’ walk from Common Garden Street and the bus station. Both of these retailers are so much cheaper. Remember you don’t have to stick to one place – you might grab your cans and fresh stuff at Lidl and your frozen stuff at Iceland! If you’re close with your housemates, the best option might be to order an online shop together – this way, you can get all your cheap Asda or Tesco favourites delivered right to your door.
- Wait for the sales
Ok, so if you’re a fellow shopaholic you would’ve likely already taken advantage of the New Years’ sales. If you didn’t grab some bargains, though, then there’s always new opportunities. Most of your favourite stores will put on flash sales throughout the year, with the big bargains coming at the end of season sales in June-July (Spring-Summer collections) and November-December (Black Friday followed by Autumn-Winter collections). If your online wishlists have been piling up, try holding off on the more expensive items until the sales, where even a 20%-off deal could have you saving big.
- Get UniDays, Student Beans and Groupon
Third year will come around quicker than you could image, so make the most of student privileges while you can. UniDays and Student Beans regularly offer discounts of 10-50% on major retailers and restaurants, including ASOS, Topshop, Skinnydip and Bella Italia. Groupon has plenty of bargains of its own, from cheap exercise classes to meals at restaurants around Lancaster.