Everyone knows that saving money is an art form for a student, but when you have to learn, and at the beginning of your degree you won’t have a clue what your spending your money on.  When looking back at my 3 years at uni I squandered a lot of money in the first term, just because I didn’t know.  Here’s some essential tips on saving that cash for some more exciting things.

1.    Don’t Buy Brand New Books

Sounds pretty crazy as that’s the first thing you need to grab when freshers is over and you have to actually go to lectures.  Some books are ridiculously expensive, some can cost £100’s!  Take a look on Amazon, eBay and course notice boards to see if ex-students are selling their old ones at a discounted price.  Make sure you check you get the right issue though!

2.    Be Quids in with Quidco

What is Quidco I hear you ask yourself?  Well, it’s a cashback website that’s absolutely fabulous, and gives you cashback on a whole host of different products, from student insurance, to phones, to online food shopping! Get money back for doing what you were going to do buy anyway!

3.    No Take Out but Bring In

Take out coffee is probably one of the biggest waste of money I can think of.  Instead of running past the coffee shop and grabbing one, spending around a £1 or 2 when you head to your lecture, get up 5 minutes earlier and buy a funky flask and a jar of coffee and make it yourself before you leave.  £1 x 3days x 30 weeks at uni = £90 just on coffee! A funky flask, some milk and a jar of good coffee would come to around £15 and last for weeks (make sure you buy fresh milk though, obviously).

4.    Ready Meals are a No No!

Ready meals might seem like a cheaper and easier option when you’ve come in from a hard days learning, but buying 1 meal for £3 isn’t great value for money.  Head on over to some cooking blogs to find simple and easy recipes you can make from scratch.  Cooking is a lot easier than you think.  Put on some music and dance whilst your food is sizzling away!

5.    Get Creative with Fancy Dress

Fancy dress shops can cost an absolute fortune, trust me, I’ve dressed up in pretty much everything you can imagine.  Try and find a fabric shop in town as they offer a huge amount of awesome colours and textures that you can turn yourself into pretty much anything.  I went out as the Lion from Wizard of Oz, and with an old hair band, a bit of cardboard, 1.5 meters of fluffy fabric, some hairspray and some of a friend’s old brown face paint and the outfit was done for less than £6!

6.    Come Dine with Me

At the beginning of uni making friends and getting to know the people you’re going to live with for the next year, at least, is rather important.  Instead of going out for dinner together, why not suggest you all take turns in making dinner for that week.  If there’s 5 of you, you only have to cook once and you get 4 dinners in return, Win!

7.    Vouchers and Deals Galore

Before you get that takeaway on a Friday night or you go into town shopping, always make sure you surf the net first and see what deals are around.  Businesses are giving away a huge amount of stuff at a discounted price or free for students, so take advantage of it!

8.    Freshers Fair

This is the ultimate freebie place, where you come across local businesses that offer great products and services and you leave with a massive swag bag full of goodies.  Take your time and see what excellent offers that are available to you, and make sure you sign up for a student card too, as this will give you discounts the whole year round until you graduate!

9.    Shop Around!

When you go food shopping, make sure you take a look at what supermarkets have on offer.  They’re all competing for your money, so if Morrison’s has the best fruit, and Tesco has the best drinks, buy bits from your shopping list from different shops! If they’re far apart then this might seem rather difficult if you don’t have a car, but if someone in your flat does, go shopping together!

10.    Scholarships, Grants and Bursaries!

You might not know this, but if you fall in the right bracket, you might be eligible for a bursary or grant, dependent on the level of household income at home and other specific requirements!.  Take a look at what financial services that may be available to you at your chosen University and you might be very surprised!

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