Top tips on saving money!
Published Sunday, 12 October, 2014 by Claire Keen
It is already getting to that time of year when the realisation kicks in on just how far you have to stretch your student loan, if you are lucky enough to have any left after rising accommodation costs. It’s important to learn how to be frugal with your money and learn where the best deals are, here are my top tips on saving money...
Firstly following on from my last blog on the first uni food shop, it is vital to learn how to shop effectively. Remember being loyal does not help you, check websites such as mysupermarket and individual supermarket websites to get up to date knowledge of deals and sales happening that week. A particular favourite of mine is checking the Aldi website roughly every week. They have a brilliant super six section, where every few weeks they discount six fruit and vegetables usually to around 69p, this always influences my meal choices for the following week!
Another tip that is useful for shopping and not just food shopping is voucher or point hunting. Many different supermarkets and shops have different ways to gain points which can be to your advantage; however be wary, a lot of the time they are tricking you into spending more money in their shop. Tesco, for example, Club Card points are a very useful tool when shopping in Tesco as part of your ordinary shopping routine. With the Club Vard points you gain one point per £1 spent in store and when this has reached 150 points you start receiving coupons to use in store. So search around for the best way to gain extra vouchers, however make sure you aren’t spending more money in places like Tesco or Sainsbury’s just to get minimal points when you could spend half the money in Aldi or Lidl.
Although food costs do take up a large proportion of the student budget, it’s not the only cost, train journeys home can easily use up more money than all your food put together! If possible it’s always best to book train journeys six weeks in advance to get the best rate. A 16-25 railcard is also a very good investment if you take many train journeys in one year. The cost of this is 30 pounds, and it gives you a third off your train fare in off peak times - you could be saving £3 for every £10 spent!
However it’s also important to be wary of trains, they don’t always offer the best deal. Next time you fancy a trip home, hold back on spending £80 for a four hour train journey and check out coach journeys using companies such as National Express or Mega Bus. These companies sometimes have very good deals going in-between major cities and take just the same amount of time as a train would.
Another good investment for your university year is a NUS card. Although you know you don’t have enough money to spend on shoes or clothes, at least with this handy little card you will be saving 10-20% in most major shops. This card also gives discounts in many other ways for example on the Mega Bus or on AA driving lessons! It costs £11 for the whole year, and trust me, you will make the cost back in savings!
Finally, the rising accommodation and bills expense at university will eat away your student loan straight away; so it’s important to try to keep this as low as possible. One of the best broadband deals I have seen is the Virgin Student Broadband package. They offer a deal where you don’t have to pay for a phone line and also only have to pay for nine months, so you’re not wasting money when you’re not actually at university.
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