Save money without living off own value beans

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Everyone has money worries at some time or another at university. Whether its spending most of your student loan on cheap shots and kebabs, or that addiction to shopping you just can’t stop, we all have our weak spots when it comes to money. But when your balance is nearing the red and your wallet is left looking rather dusty, follow these five tips to make that loan stretch even further.

1. Cook more

Sounds a bit contradictory but it will definitely help in the long run. Instead of spending the odd fiver on a supermarket meal deal every day of the week before dashing off to lectures or the library, try making your own packed lunch. Whenever your next cooking pasta or making some salad, try making a little more than you would want to eat for one meal. Pack your leftovers into a container in the fridge and the next day you can use them to rustle up a quick lunch to take with you to university.

2. Leave your card at home

An old trick, but it’s been tried and tested. If you plan on going out that evening, grab some cash in the day before you go out and keep your bank cards safely at home. I’m not saying be stingy and avoid getting a round in, but try and make the most of the money in your wallet and look out for those ‘2 for £5’ offers. (An essential part of all student life), pre-drinking can also save you money. Get the drinks in at home, and avoid draining your account later at the bar.

3. Shop around

We all know that certain things are cheaper in certain places, but when you’re in a rush we don’t always think about those extra few pennies. Try to avoid going to the same shop for all your shopping. Not only do competing shops put similar items on offer, but often the same supermarket has different prices in different stores! The trick is, try not to buy something just because it’s displayed on a colourful ‘On Offer’ shelf. Take a rough note of the price of your favourite items and then when you’re walking past them next time you’ll know a good offer when you see one.

4. Online shopping

Arguably one of the best benefits of being a student: Student discount. Most clothes shops offer student discount all year round, however there are a few exceptions. (Keep an eye on the websites of those shops – as at certain times of the year they run student specific promotions!) Instead of hitting the high street and falling in love with everything in the shop, try looking online at home first. This way, not only will you limit the things you see/want, but you can use this time to browse through the latest sales and bargains. Look out for the occasional free delivery options too!

5. Think ahead

Even with a Railcard, the price of getting home for the weekend can often mean we opt to stay put at university for another week or so. The tip here is to book in advance. It can’t always work this way, as obviously student life throws various events, parties and activities at you throughout the year. But if you do know you want to travel somewhere, try booking as far in advance as you can. Train lines and coaches alike, tend to offer discounted rates for those of you who get in early when the tickets are first issued.

Photo Credit: Go Minolta via Compfight cc

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Amy McCrossan

Second year History undergraduate at the University of Portsmouth. West country cider girl at heart with a love for cake and shiny things. Secret crush on Philip Schofield.

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