How To Do More At University On A Student Budget

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Written by Michael Foote, founder of Quote Goat, has over 13 years experience working in the finance, insurance and currency sectors.

As a student, you will likely have to fit all of your living and academic costs into a tight budget. Understandably, you will also want to have enough money to socialise, and be left with money at the end of the academic year to travel, take an internship or simply just to live on during the summer months. This means that you will have to prioritise what is important to you and make cuts where you can, without giving up the things that are important to you. Below are some tips and tricks on how you can make savings as a student.

Shop Around For The Best Price

Even if this is just your weekly food shop, it is important to shop around and make intelligent decisions before you buy anything. Looking around for the best places that you can get your groceries may mean shopping in one place for certain groceries and going to another market. Practicing being economical with your food shop will get you into the routine of making smart financial decisions, and will allow you to make small savings that you can put aside for a holiday, surprise costs that you didn’t plan for, or even contribute towards your university fees.

Insurance & Bills

If you are looking for travel insurance, young driver car insurance, home insurance or any other form of insurance that you might need as a student, it is always good practice to look at price comparison websites that allow you to find the best product to suit your needs. You might make a saving of a couple of hundred pounds, which could be put towards your holiday or the upkeep of your car. Even if you see insurance as an extra cost, it is important to make sure that you purchase it and don’t end up paying costs if you get into an accident, or damage your vehicle or any other property. The same goes for all of your household bills, so take the time to compare home energy, mobile phones and broadband.

Go WholeSale

Getting together with a group of friends to buy groceries is an excellent way to save on an individual shopping budget. When you are in a group, you can visit wholesale stores and make bigger savings by buying in bulk. You can also save on electronic items such as laptops and Kindles in some wholesale stores. Certain wholesale stores such as Costco offer membership that you have to pay for, however getting a membership is worth the investment and you can divide the cost of the membership between several of you. This is great for purchasing student staples such as pasta, passata, eggs, kitchen and toilet roll, which can be bought in bulk and will last for a long time. Avoid perishable items, unless there is a specific item that you use regularly and will consume in a short space of time. Another way to save money as a group is by cooking together and saving on the cost of making individual meals. If you take turns to cook for a group, then you will also save on time, and only have to cook once or twice a week, depending on how many people get involved.

Look For Funding Available To You

If you are able to secure any grants or scholarship to help you in your studies, this will enable you to breathe during university and not have to worry about financial concerns. Quite often universities offer financial support, in the form of grants or scholarships, in a number of areas. If you are suffering financial hardship, speak with the appropriate person at your university, perhaps your Student Welfare Officer. See what options are available to you, or even if you are looking for money strategies to help you out. Similarly, if you want to travel during the summer and undertake research or a social project, then see how your university or college can assist you.

Do not forget to look at external funding options as well, for example; certain organizations may fund or sponsor your studies if you demonstrate how you meet their requirements. Look at the websites of charities, business organizations and councils to see if there is funding that you can apply for. Each year there are many students that benefit from funding, so take a look if there is a grant or bursary that is relevant to your particular degree.

Consider Living At Home

While the allure of living independently or with other friends is a reason for many students choosing to live away, the reality is that this is an extra cost that may not be feasible for many people. By living at home, you will not only be saving on the cost of rent, but also the other costs of living such as utilities and food.

Equally, if you do live in student accommodation try and limit the amount of time you go out during the week. Going out and enjoying yourself is an important part of university, however, it can end up being very expensive. Limit yourself to one activity a week that involves spending money, and do other activities that do not cost you anything. Try and see if your university will allow you to use a space such as the student union for a cheap night that you can organize.

Buy Second Hand

There is a reason so many students buy clothes in charity shops; it is a great way to revamp your wardrobe without having to splash out on high street clothes. The great thing about buying in second-hand stores or car boot sales is that you can find a unique item at a fraction of the original cost. In a similar vein, if you want to save money on clothes, then avoid online shopping! If you have email notifications from online retailers, turn them off, as the temptation to impulse shop can be very intense! Having a shopping addiction can drain you financially and limit any savings you are able to make. Equally, you can save money on electronics by buying refurbished goods from specific retailers.

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