Monday, 23 September 2013

My Top Tips For Saving Money At University

So this week marks the beginning of Freshers week for many people here in the UK. I imagine starting any college or university across the globe in similar - you move to a new place, you're making new friends, partying more than you ever have before and trying to ignore the fact that all of this is costing you thousands.

All joking aside, University was the best time of my life but it was hard not earning any money and having much to spend. Over the 4 years I was there I learnt how to manage my money so that I could still afford new clothes every now and then and more importantly not miss out on anything. So here are a few tips (Maybe obvious ones?) on how to live on a budget.

1. Make a plan

So you know how much everything is going to cost and how much you are able to get through loans or help from family. Now you need to work out how much you have to live on after you've paid your rent and bills (including phone and anything else on direct debit). Then you just need to stick to it. If I felt myself being tempted I used to draw my allotted money out on a Monday and when it was gone it was gone. Try not using your card to pay for things, it's hard!

2. Shop around

I've never been one to buy something that seems expensive straight away. I go away and have a look in a few more shops or even better, online. 9 times out of 10 you can get it cheaper online whether it's books, art supplies or clothes. So plan ahead and then you won't need to panic buy something on your way to a lecture which could cost you twice as much.

3. Work together

You may feel that because you're moving out on your own that you have to do everything on your own now. Wrong. Cooking together is often cheaper than cooking for 1 so sharing the cost of a roast dinner between 6 people could mean £2 each rather than £10 each. I was lucky and had a housemate who instantly became a friend for life so we shared basics like milk and bread and then tried to cook a decent meal together once a week. Needless to say we also did this when we were going out with drinks. Instant money saver!

4. Think ahead

Maybe this won't work for everyone because I'm a bit of an obsessive organiser but planning ahead for Birthdays, Christmas and any other occasion where you have to spend money will help to ease the pain over a longer period of time. If you are lucky you might be able to get things in the sale and keep them for a present in a month or so. After Christmas I always have my 2 best friends birthdays, boyfriends birthday and Valentines day in the space of 2 months so I used to buy things when I saw them (Sometimes months in advance) and then I didn't have to worry so much about not being able to afford 4 lots of presents.

5. eBay

Ebay became my best friend in uni. I can't quite believe that I had never heard of it in first year. I think I first discovered how cheap it was when searching for fancy dress online and the selection and price was better than any shop I could find. Having jokily been called the eBay queen, I have learnt how to bag the best bargain and find that Topshop dress, complete with tags on for a fiver. I will be doing a post on eBay bargains and how to get the best deals very soon so keep checking back.

I hope these are helpful to any new students. It may seem boring but these little things stopped me from having to stay in because I had no money, A line I heard a lot! 

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