Saving and managing money at University

At university there’s lots of new and exciting things to explore and enjoy, and before you know it you’ve spent ridiculously and can’t wait for the next loan to drop! Budgeting as a student can be hard, but there are ways to make your money go further. Here’s my list of money-saving tips and tricks:

Track your spending

Keeping track of your incomings and outgoings is a great way to budget and to make sure you don’t overspend.

Create a spreadsheet to show your incomings including: Student loans, bursaries, part-time job and then write down your regular outgoings such as gym contract, phone bill and rent. This way you can see what you have left to spend for the month. Alternatively, you can use budgeting Apps!

And now, with mobile banking apps you can check your balance at any time to make sure you don’t go over-board.

Food shopping and cooking

A lot of money will go towards food, so it’s important to find a way to cut the price down. Shop in the evenings, as many items are discounted. Also, try to buy supermarket value products which can be a lot cheaper for the same taste. I also shop in the international food sections for sauces, spices and legumes; The products are authentic and way cheaper.

When it comes to cooking, try to leave one night to meal prep for the week e.g. cooking a large batch of bolognaise and dividing it into four. This way you have a portion of food for each day and can avoid spending money on takeaways.

Make the most out of Student Discounts

Many shops, restaurants and bars offer student discount. You can also buy an NUS Extra cards for £12 for one year and get over 200 student discounts. There’s also Uni Days which you can sign up to for free and Student Beans. With these you can get discounts anywhere from 10% off to 40% off.

Buy Second-hand course books

Books for your course can be very expensive, especially if you won’t be using them outside of your course. But you don’t need to buy every book on the reading list and sometimes you can find online versions of the books. Whilst you can find books in the library, sometimes there can be a shortage. Look for cheaper second-hand copies online or use the University of Liverpool’s Pass the Book service, where you can even get some books for free. Pass the books allows you to sell and donate books too, so when you’re finished with books you can also sell them on.

Take your own Coffee and Packed Lunches

Spending money on food and coffee everyday can really add up in the week. Bringing a packed lunch with you, or some left-overs from the night before can really save you money; and you can now heat up your food in the Guild! Also, using a flask and bringing in your own coffee/ tea can save you a few coins, and if you’re worried about hot water, in the libraries you can find water fountains that dispense cold & hot water!

Use public transport

Liverpool has great transport links, and the university is campus based so it’s unlikely that you’ll need a car. Avoid using taxis and use public transport to get around town. Make sure you check for student discounts or weekly/monthly passes. If you take the train regularly, make sure you buy a rail card which will get you 1/3 off rail fares. It cost £30 for one year or £70 for three years.

Get a part-time job

If you have free time, then you can get a part-time job to earn extra money. It’s also a great way for you to build your confidence, gain new skills and meet lots of new people. There are even jobs being offered around the university such as becoming a Student Ambassador. Just make sure that working doesn’t affect your study!

This blog was written by Viola Gikar, 3rd year Law and International politics student at the University of Liverpool.

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