While life as a student is a great experience in many ways, it can be financially challenging. Research shows that the average student’s maintenance loan falls short of covering their living costs by £439 every month, while 82% of students worry about making ends meet at university.
In other words, things are financially tough for those studying at university. So, given the increased cost of living and the fact that students are feeling the pinch more than others, we’ve put together this helpful guide that explains how to save money as a student while introducing some handy student money-saving tips that everyone can implement.
How to Save Money at Uni: Student Money-Saving Tips
This section introduces some simple student money-saving tips that you can use to alleviate some of the financial burdens of studying away from home. We cover accommodation tips, how to budget your loan and income, and how to make smarter financial decisions as a student, to help you save some money throughout your studies.
How to save on student accommodation
One of the most significant costs facing students is the price of accommodation. Here are some ways that you can try and minimise this expense:
Student accommodation or stay at home
Due to the soaring cost of living, 37% of students are now choosing to live at home. While staying at home with your parents might not be what you initially had in mind, it will make the entire university experience much less financially stressful.
Given the vast number of universities in the United Kingdom, search for institutions commutable from home and consider remaining with your parents for a few more years to save on the expense of university halls.
Split your house bills fairly
If you decide to move away from home and live in halls or private student accommodation, it’s really important to split your house bills fairly. Things like internet, gas, electric, and water bills should all be split between the number of people living in residence.
You should convene a meeting with your housemates to review your bills and decide how to pay them. Read our ultimate guide to splitting house bills to learn how to manage your university utility bills fairly.
Try student saving challenges
Setting yourself a savings challenge is a great way to motivate yourself to achieve your financial goals. Some student saving challenges that you can try include the following:
Have no-spend days weekly
A no-spend challenge is where you don’t spend any money on non-essential items. While some people opt for weekly or even monthly no-spend challenges, it’s a good idea to begin with, a set number of no-spend days during the week, perhaps on Monday and Tuesday, for instance.
As you get used to the challenge, you can slowly increase the number of days to save even more money each month.
Try the 1p saving challenge
The 1p saving challenge is a great way to put some money aside without noticing that it’s missing, and it’s a brilliant way for students to save for a rainy day. As the name suggests, you begin the first day by saving 1p, increasing by a penny every day, so you save 2p on day two, 3p on day three, and so on.
By the end of the year, you will have saved £667.95, an excellent method of saving cash while at uni. You can find out everything you need to know about the 1p saving challenge here.
Learn how to create a student budget
Budgeting as a student is crucial, particularly as you have access to limited funds. Here are some of the fundamentals of budgeting as a student that you need to be aware of:
Budget your student loan and income
There are many ways to create a budget, but however you go about it, you need to begin with a detailed list of your income and expenditure.
As a student, you should list income from any part-time jobs that you have and income given to you by your parents. You can also class your student loan as income for your budget.
Then, attribute all of the essential costs you will face to your income, including accommodation, transport, and utility bills.
Be sure to check out our complete guide to budgeting to help you create a comprehensive student budget that you can stick to throughout your time at uni.
Save money using a finance app
One of the best ways to stick to a student budget is to use a finance app like HyperJar. Our pre-paid debit card is perfect for students, and you can set up savings jars to help you meet your saving targets throughout the year.
Digitising the budgeting process can make things much easier as you manage your finances as a student, so sign up to HyperJar for free today to get started.
Save money by shopping smarter
A top student money-saving tip is to think carefully about how you go shopping when you’re a student, being sure to avoid impulse purchases wherever possible. Here are some ways to save money as a student by shopping smarter:
Shop second hand
Buying second-hand items is one of the best ways to save money as a student. Use charity shops in your local area and head online to marketplaces like eBay and Facebook to find great deals on bulkier items like furniture.
You can also buy second-hand textbooks online to save significant money.
Sign up for student discount portals
Many student websites are designed to help you access deals and discounts when shopping online. One of the best is Unidays, which promotes brilliant discounts, coupons, and cost-saving opportunities for students.
Money saving incentives
In addition to platforms like Unidays, you can save money in various ways by looking for coupons and vouchers before completing a purchase and signing up for loyalty points at online stores.
Leave no stone unturned in your search for coupons and vouchers, as every little helps as you look to save money as a student!
Save money by taking advantage of student discounts
The good news is that the world recognises that life is financially tough for students, and many retailers and travel networks offer exclusive student discounts. Be sure to look for student discounts in the following ways:
Check your eligibility for a discount on your council tax bill
In the UK, you don't need to pay council tax if you live in a household full of students. If you live in accommodation with professional people, you can still apply for a discount on your council tax bill, so make sure you know where you stand as far as council tax is concerned before paying your monthly bill.
Student discounts on experiences
If you’re planning to attend a festival, concert, sporting event, or theme park, always enquire about the price of student tickets, even if a student discount hasn’t been stipulated in marketing promotions.
Organisers sometimes forget to mention that there’s a student discount, so don’t be afraid to ask to access savings before buying your tickets.
Get a 16-25 railcard and split tickets
Most students in the UK rely on trains to move around the country, even though they’re expensive.
A 16-25 railcard is essential, as it offers 1/3 off train fares. You should also look into split ticketing to save money on the expensive cost of train fares. For instance, if you’re travelling from Birmingham to Glasgow, instead of booking a direct ticket between the two cities, you could book a ticket from Birmingham to Carlisle, then from Carlisle to Glasgow. Often, this offers significant savings and a great way to access better value rail fares as a student.
To enjoy student life, taking responsibility for your financial situation is important, and you can’t afford to be blasé about money.
The above student money-saving tips will help you access discounts and make your money go further while at university. Consider your budget before purchasing, and consider whether you can afford additional expenses at this already costly time.