The best student money-saving hacks are all about common sense and some creativity, and anyone can implement them to cut back on expenditure at university.
That being said, with all the different things that require your attention at uni, staying on top of your finances is tough, particularly if you don’t have a plan.
Given that the average student’s living costs in the UK are about £924 per month, we want to introduce you to 16 student money-saving tips that will help you navigate university without getting into financial difficulties.
Student money-saving tips
All of these student money-saving hacks are easy to follow, and you can effortlessly implement them into your daily life while studying at university. So, without further ado, here are 16 tips that you can’t afford to ignore:
1. Participate in a No-Spend challenge
A No-Spend month challenge is precisely what it sounds like – you commit to going for a pre-determined period without spending any money on non-essential items. You can commit to a day, a week, or a month, depending on what you think is achievable.
Taking on a No-Spend challenge introduces you to financial discipline and helps you to avoid frivolous spending while at university.
2. Track and split your house bills equally
While living with other people as a student can be challenging, it also has its rewards. One of those is that you can split your student house bills with your housemates, alleviating some of your financial burden at the height of the cost of living crisis.
To split your bills successfully, you need to convene a meeting with your housemates and agree on which bills you want to split, how you will pay them, and what you will do with any surplus. This way, you can save money throughout the year and use any extra money strategically. Try our expense-sharing feature to share household bills with your housemates with no hassle.
3. Minimise your travel costs
Travel is one of the most significant expenses for students, and whether you rely on a car or public transport, your transport bills will quickly add up if you don’t plan ahead. As such, it’s a good idea to plan your accommodation based on how close you are to your campus, and if you can walk or cycle to the university every day, you will save a fortune on travel costs.
You should also look for student discounts for public transport – such as the 16-25 railcard – to save money when paying for university transport.
4. Have a staycation
While booking a city break or a beach vacation abroad with your housemates or course friends after a long semester is tempting, doing so eats away at your savings.
So, why not plan a staycation with your uni friends instead of travelling abroad? Look for a countryside retreat or plan a UK city break with cheap travel from your uni base.
You can use our Savings Jars to help you reach your savings goal before planning a staycation toward the end of your year of study.
5. Select a cheaper broadband
Internet is a modern-day essential for students, but it’s also one of the biggest expenses associated with student life.
Although it requires a little research and some effort, switching to a cheaper broadband provider can save you and your housemates a considerable amount of money each year, which you can use for other expenses while you’re at university.
6. Use less energy
With the cost of living crisis set to continue for the foreseeable future, now is the perfect time to institute some changes and use less energy in your student accommodation.
Be sure to switch off all lights when not in use, turn your devices off standby, and wash your clothes in cold water. You should also install a smart meter at your accommodation and regularly take readings to track how much energy you’re using and how you can save money.
7. Find a good bank for students
Student bank accounts have numerous benefits and help you manage your finances well at university. One of the most attractive things about student accounts is that they typically come with 0% overdrafts of up to £3,000, offering you an affordable form of credit.
Some accounts also come with freebies and perks like free student railcards and other helpful promotions.
Our pre-paid student card is a great option while you’re away at university, as it helps you to create and stick to your student budget. Joining HyperJar also offers you the chance to earn rewards and access savings with some of the biggest brands in the UK, another perk when you’re looking to save money as a student.
8. Do the 1p saving challenge
Although money is tight when you’re a student, you can use several strategies to put money aside without noticing. One such approach is the 1p saving challenge, which can help you save £667.95 by the end of the year.
The challenge is simple – start by saving 1p on day one and increase by 1p every day, so on day two, you save 2p, on day three, you save 3p, and so on. You can learn more about how to get started with the 1p challenge here.
9. Turn old things into cash
The chances are that when you left for university, you left quite a few things behind at your parent’s house. Rather than allowing them to gather dust in your wardrobe at home, why not sell some of these items online?
You can sell clothes, shoes, electronic devices, and practically anything else that you aren’t planning to use any time soon. Using a platform like eBay, you can easily turn old things into cash that you can then use to help with your student expenses.
10. Make use of free outings
The best things in life are free, right? Going out and enjoying yourself is really important when you’re a student, but you need to think outside the box when money is tight.
Fortunately, there are lots of free things for students to do, be it visiting art galleries and museums or attending university-organised events. Be sure to check with your student union for a list of free events coming up that you can take advantage of.
11. Limit your impulse buys
Impulse buying is a big problem for everyone, given how easy it is to complete transactions online. But as a student, you need to be extra careful with impulse buys as they can eat away at the budget for your essentials.
Instead of buying items on impulse, one of the best student money-saving tips is to list the things you think you want and wait for 30 days. Return to your list at the end of the month and if you still want or need the item and have the money available, feel free to buy it.
The act of waiting removes the impulse from your decision-making and helps you make wiser decisions with your money.
12. Use cashback
When shopping online, look for opportunities to earn cashback with selected retailers. Cashback is where you are given money in the form of store credit to use for future purchases, and it’s a great way of earning rewards while shopping online.
You can also use HyperJar Rewards when shopping online, as we’ve partnered with some of the UK’s leading brands to bring you great offers and discounts on selected purchases.
13. Make a budget and stick to it
Budgeting is undoubtedly one of the most important things for any university student, as it outlines your entire income and expenditure each month.
Without a budget, there’s no way of knowing how well you’re managing your money, and it’s difficult to look for ways to save. We recognise that putting together a budget can be daunting, but you can use our student budgeting guide to help you get started.
14. Find a part-time job
Although your studies should take priority at university, you can use some of your spare time to earn money by acquiring a part-time job. There are many jobs available to students, and you can easily find part-time jobs in your area via a quick online search.
Jobs in the retail and hospitality sectors are typically best suited to students, but you can also look at things like dog walking or babysitting if they suit your interests. We have written a helpful guide on 20 ways you can earn money as a student - check it out for part-time jobs and other money making ideas.
15. Be strategic when food shopping
Grocery shopping is difficult to get right; if you’re not careful, you can easily go over your food budget when performing your weekly shop. Therefore, it’s helpful to be strategic when with your food money by learning to create a food budget.
Also, consider buying some items in bulk and make a list of items that you can share with your housemates to save money. You can also check out the Approved Food website to find heavily discounted food for great prices.
16. Eat out less
As a student, eating as many meals at home as possible is a great way to save money. You can prepare meals together with your housemates, and you can even freeze leftovers for future meals throughout the week or month.
While eating out is a nice way to reward yourself, the cost of meals out quickly adds up, so you need to think carefully about how often you arrange a meal out with friends at restaurants while at university.
The above 16 money-saving hacks will help you save money while you’re at university and alleviate some of the financial burden associated with studying away from home.
You can implement all of these tips at once, or you can try several to see how you get on. Remember that with some willpower and commitment, you can easily save money as a student and improve your financial situation while at university.
Check out our pre-paid card to help you budget and manage your core expenses while at university.