3 min read
Let me guess, you're reading this for a reason - your last student loan payment has faded into a distant memory in the space of a few weeks and you're probably already feeling the financial squeeze?
Some of it may be partly self-inflicted? But then again, University life is pretty expensive! Fear not though, as we're here to help see you through until the next payday with these simple money saving tips!
1. Make full use of your student discount
One of the best things about being a student is how much money you can get off virtually everything; you likely won't see that level of discount again until you're retired, so why not take full advantage of it while you can?
The Totum card is probably your best bet, and while it does cost a bit to get - £12 for a year, £22 for two years or £32 for three - the old adage that you have to 'spend money to make money' has never been truer in this case.
For that, you'll get mad discounts like Amazon Prime student 6 month free trial, up to 20% off loads of high street stores and even up to 50% off tickets to theme parks plus much more! Here's a list of just some of the stuff the Totum card can help you with!
Really strapped for cash? No worries, just flash your student ID card to get discount in all in sorts of places, from shops to clubs, cinemas, restaurants and more. Check out the Victoria Square student discount offers in Belfast for all you NI students!
2. Earn extra money using your student loan
This one's a bit more of an advanced tip and one you should only attempt if you know you can pull it off, but if you've got a big lump sum of cash left over from your loan that you don't need right now, you could tuck it away in a high-interest cash ISA.
That way you'll earn tax-free interest on whatever amount you put in, and the longer you leave it the more savings you can accumulate. You likely won't make enough to pay off your loan or buy a house or anything, but every little helps!
3. Cancel your subscriptions, or at least pretend to...
Paying too much for your phone bill, broadband or other subscriptions? You'll be surprised how much companies will be willing to slash your costs in order to keep you as a customer!
The reason is that it's often much cheaper to keep people on rather than try to attract new customers, so if you ring up and say you want to cancel your contract you'll usually find you'll be directed to the company's loyalty team who have the power to offer you significant savings.
It's a bit sneaky, but the trick is to not give away the fact you're clearly doing it just to get money off. Poker faces at the ready!
One of everyone's biggest regrets at university was showing up on the first day having spent hundreds of pounds of textbooks, only to find that they're literally all there in the library and available to read for free...
That's not to say you shouldn't buy any books as not every library will have everything and particularly around deadline time you'll find they're constantly being borrowed. But some will be used more than others, so if you can get away with it then why not?
When you finish your course, you can sell your books on second-hand. You'll make some of your money back and be doing a good deed by saving some other poor soul from paying over the odds for their books!
Say you spend around a fiver getting lunch every time you're in for a lecture, you could end up spending close to £1,000 over the course of the academic year on eats alone - more if you include the occasional snack or coffee.
One of the easiest ways to save a few pounds is to become your very own Gordon Ramsay and make your own lunches. It doesn't have to mean extra effort, either - if you're making dinner, just cook a little extra and take the leftovers with you the next day.
Amazon Prime offers a six-month free trial period for students, which allows you to order same-day delivery for free with no minimum spend. If you order a lot of things online and find you're paying out the nose for postage, this can be a godsend!
You'll also get access to Amazon Prime's entire online streaming service to keep yourself and your mates entertained, and once the six-month trial is up students can get a 50% discount on the normal yearly membership fee. Handy!
7. Live at home and drive to uni
Naturally, this tip won't work for everyone but it's an increasingly popular option among students who go to a university that's not too far away from where they live. One of the biggest expenditures you'll face at uni is the cost of rent and living.
By shacking up with your parents and taking the car to university, you could save thousands of pounds a year and drastically reduce the amount of money you'll owe to the Student Loans Company once you've graduated.
Driving doesn't have to be as expensive as you might think either, particularly if you go for a telematics insurance policy like ChilliDrive which can save you up to £1,800* off the cost of your insurance up front. Of course, you'll likely miss out on some of the craic by opting to live at home, but just think of all the money you'll be saving!
*Based on 53% of 100 customers saving over £1800 - June 2019. Source: Based on Broker's own data.
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