1st year speech & language student Cara Hawkins gives you some great tips on how you can save some extra cash for the semester ahead!
1. Buy own brand food: swapping to supermarket own brand food can save a lot of money, and often the same product just repackaged (so there’s no compromise on quality!) Shopping at Aldi or Lidl vs. a mainstream supermarket can also save a lot of money.
2. Change the time of your shopping: shopping in the evening just before closing time means a lot of unsold items will be marked down at very cheap prices.
3. Fruit and vegetable markets: here you can get a large quantity of food for a very cheap price (as well as reducing plastic packaging waste which is often used in supermarkets!) For example, try Bull Ring Open Market! (https://www.birmingham.gov.uk/info/20150/markets_and_street_trading/270/bull_ring_open_market)
4. Freezing food: making a large meal then freezing it in individual portions not only saves money, but also time, and is often healthier too.
5. Eating out in week/takeaways: going out for food in the week instead of weekends means there are often more deals on, or you can use your student discount.
6. Buying tickets in advance: this includes transport (such as the train or coach), or entertainment (club tickets on Fatsoma, etc.)
7. Refund unused train tickets: buying e-tickets on the Trainline app means they can be refunded (in part or full) provided the ticket is unused.
8. Resale unused tickets: for example Fatsoma tickets if you’ve changed you mind about going out, train tickets, etc. (if the terms and conditions permit.) A great way to do this is on a group chat (e.g. your course, BCU, or student accommodation) or asking your friends (however, always sell them for a fair price and NEVER for a higher price than you bought them for.)
9. Pre-drinking at home: an easy way to save money on nights out is pre-drinking at home, instead of buying drinks when you’re out (which are often very expensive.)
10. Save loose change: save any coins you have in a piggy bank, set a date (e.g. the end of the year), and don’t take any money out until then. Then, see how much money you’ve saved up without even trying!
11. Check used by dates: noting when food/drink is opened (in a planner or writing the date on the product) means you can keep track of how long things have been open for, and when they need to be used or frozen by. This produced less food waste, and also saves you money!
12. Use student discounts: a lot of shops provide a discount for students, and apps like Unidays means you don’t even have to remember to bring your student ID!
13. Borrow books from the library instead of buying them new: this could be a local public library or one on campus.
14. Taking food and drinks out: instead of buying it (e.g. snacks, a flask), or eating before you go out.
15. Return products that don’t work: or you don’t want anymore (if unused/unopened and with a receipt.)
16. Walk instead of using Uber, etc.
17. Get a student bank with good perks: some possible perks are: a rail card, £100, a Taste Card, an NUS card, etc. Picking the one that’s best for you means you could save some money.
18. Make a note of your spending: a good way to save money is getting an idea of where the majority of your money is going. This means it’s easier to know what to cut back on when creating a budgeting plan.
19. Refund travel expenses for placement: for example, the NHS refund most placement travel expenses, which can be easily done through the uni.
20. Save half of your pay check: in a savings account, and keep the other half to spend.