Anyone considering higher education now will have to be very careful about their spending patterns to make sure they avoid falling into unnecessary debt. Now that Fresher’s Week is out of the way, you might be looking at your bank balance and wondering how you’ll make it through to January, and you’re not alone!
But don’t worry too much; Ashley Park Financial Solutions have put together some money saving tips that should keep your bills in check.
Sample sales events
Most students are keen to keep their wardrobes well-stocked with so many different occasions to consider. With various clubs and societies, sports teams, nights out and end of term balls, some people may find themselves struggling to pay for it all. But! If you can bring yourself to get out of bed early and join the queue, a sample sale could be perfect for you. You can find some amazing bargains, often with up to 70% off.
Designer brands like Reiss and Paul Smith often run events from their warehouses to sell off-season clothing. Though most events happen in London, it’s a good idea to check out what’s going on in your local area.
Keep up with your favourite brands online
Following your favourite retailers online can prove to be very fruitful. With everyone vying for your attention, lots of companies are offering incentives to gain custom. Sign up to newsletters and follow companies on Facebook or Twitter to stay abreast of any on-the-day offers.
Shop in the sales
You’re a student, which means you can get away with being off-season when it comes to your wardrobe, and it’s okay to set up camp in the “whoopsie” aisle of the supermarket. You’ll certainly appreciate a 10p bread roll if it means you can buy an extra pint at the weekend. And remember where possible, buy unbranded foods! For the most part they taste the same but come with a much lower price tag.
Avoid big cash blowouts
Though it might be tempting to splurge when your loan comes in, don’t do it! Save towards the end of term and celebrate then instead.
Get the best deal on your overdraft
If you’re going to allow yourself an overdraft, make sure it’s at 0% interest. Try not to go anywhere near the overdraft limit because if you do go over it the charges are huge and you’ll end up in a vicious cycle as you try to pay them back. Also, don’t choose your bank based on who offers the best free gift at sign up! These are just gimmicks. Look into who has the best banking deals for you.
Invest in a Student Discount Card
These days you need an NUS Extra card to indulge in money-off at certain stores. It costs £12 per year, but over 160 retailers offer discount with it, and these savings can really add up. It also includes 10% off groceries at the Co-Op, so if for example you spend at least £120 there in a year, you’ll more than make your money back (and trust us, you’ll certainly spend on groceries!).
Look at free computer software
Instead of MS Office you can download LibreOffice, which you can use for documents, presentations, spreadsheets and databases. And anyone in need of image editing software that can’t afford Photoshop might like to try Gimp, another free-to-download program that offers fairly advanced tools and great add-ons.
Get a 16-25 railcard
You’ll get a third off rail travel, which can make going home for the weekend that bit less painful. If you’re a mature student never fear! You can still get a student railcard if you take along proof of your course. Railcards currently cost £30 and can be purchased online or at your local train station.
Not that we’re going to encourage binge drinking in any way, but if you’re planning a night out, enjoy a few drinks before you leave the house to save paying for booze in the pub.
Check out our previous blog for more general budgeting tips, or visit our website for details of our services. Feel free to follow us on Twitter for regular updates!