Back to News 9 Great Tips for Thrifty Students 21/02/2017

As a student, you want to be focusing on enjoying yourself, rather than constantly worrying about money.

Whilst all the costs that come alongside your studies can become daunting, there are plenty of things you can do to reduce spending.

By adopting a thrifty mindset, you can ensure that you minimise your outgoings and use the money that you do part with more wisely. To help get you started, we’ve come up with a list of helpful tips:

Use Utility Comparison Sites

To ensure that you get the best deals on things like TV, internet, gas and electricity, it’s always worth looking on price comparison websites. These present the best way to see what the various suppliers within each sector charge. Naturally, you can then easily compare each and find the best deal for you.

It’s important to look out for things like the fixed contract length, what happens when you get to the end of a contract and how the various suppliers incentivise sign-ups.

Useful resource – uSwitch

Get a Railcard

If you’re moving to study in a new city, it’s a safe bet that you’ll be using the rail network throughout the course of the year. Bearing this in mind, it’s essential that you get your hands on a Young Person’s Railcard (providing that you’re 16-25 years of age).

Available for just £30, one of these will give you 1/3 off Standard Anytime, Off-Peak, Standard Advances and First Class Advances fares throughout the year.

Useful resource – 16-25 Railcard

Loyalty Schemes

Loyalty schemes can be priceless for students too. Whether that be general schemes run by restaurants, or offers that are specific to students, it’s worth researching whatever is out there. From NUS – which is great for shopping and food – to deals with companies like Apple, there are plenty of opportunities out there.

Regular schemes you can take advantage of include those offered by restaurants such as Nandos and the Handmade Burger Company, which incentivise visits with free food after a set amount of purchases.

Useful resource – Save the Student

Cook Together

Sharing the cooking is a great way to cut down on your shopping costs. By buying food together, you can plan your meals more effectively to save money. You’ll also reduce utility costs that would be higher if everyone in your house were to cook separately.

Plan out the meals you want to have in any given week, then shop for exactly what you need. This will help you to avoid wasting money on additional items that you’ll just end up throwing away when you don’t end up needing them.  

Useful resource – All Recipes

Take Advantage of the Outdoors

When it comes to socialising, you don’t have to spend money to have fun. There are plenty of ways to occupy time for free, particularly if you live in a city with lots of green spaces. Walking, cycling and picnics in the park are always great options.

For students based in Sheffield – where our properties at MAF are – the Peak District is never more than 15/20 minutes away. This is something you should really take advantage of. Given the beautiful surroundings on offer throughout this sprawling National Park, you’ll never be short of inspiration for healthy and free activities.  

Useful resource – Visit Peak District

Share Car Journey/Cut Down Journeys

If you need your car whilst you’re at university, it’s a good idea to consider car-sharing with friends. If more than one of you drives, look to take it in turns to do lifts. Or, if only one of you has a car, don’t be afraid to ask for some money for petrol. After all, your mates will still be saving money they would otherwise be spending more of on public transport.

For some students, it may be more prosperous to ditch the car altogether during any time spent at university. If you live on the doorstep of your campus, or even within walking distance, this is likely to save you serious money on the expensive costs of running a car.

Useful resource – Walk It

Create A Budget

There’s a reason why so many people rely on budgets to manage their money. As a student, you should really be leveraging one to your own advantage. Not only can it help you avoid getting in any financial difficulty, it can even end up with you saving a bit too. Come the end of university, this is something that you’ll be immensely grateful for.

When you’re creating your budget, don’t be tempted to cut corners. It’s always worth allocating more money than you think you’ll need as an extra on the side, as more often than not, there will always be costs that crop up that you weren’t expecting. 

There are a number of great apps around that you can use to support your budgeting drive.

Useful resource – The Guardian

Get a Job

Getting a job is a great way to improve your financial situation as a student. By supplementing your time spent studying with regular income, you can look forward to enjoying more disposable income, whilst also squirreling away some savings at the same time. 

In conjunction with bringing in some money, a job is also a great way to improve productivity and tackle boredom, which is a common problem for students who aren’t in lectures that often.  Even if you’re doing a busy course, there’s nothing to stop you picking up one or two shifts a week.

Useful resource – Student Jobs

Use Holidays to Gain Work Experience Rather Than Go Away

Holidays are always an expensive way to burn through any money you’ve got saved away. Instead of heading off away, why not instead use the time to gain some priceless work experience.

Not only should this prove interesting if you’re doing something you enjoy, it will also undoubtedly help improve your future career prospects.

Useful resource - Prospects