University is an expensive enough experience through the tuition fees alone. When we begin to add on the costs of living alone for what is likely to be the first time in our lives, it is possible to accrue some serious debt before even finishing studying. Managing your money through university is essential to avoiding the pitfalls of debt, and with sensible management it can be easy enough to still live comfortably without massively overspending. Here are some top tips for saving your money through those tough years away from the family nest:
Ask for Discount
Many stores, entertainment venues and restaurants offer significant discounts to those in possession of student cards. Don’t be afraid to ask if a store does indeed provide student discount – the worst they can say is no and it is quite likely that you will indeed receive some kind of discount, often 10 percent or over! Many sports teams – football clubs in particular – offer vastly reduced ticket prices for students in an attempt to attract new fans that have moved into the local area. Not only could this provide a cost-friendly new hobby for you to spend your weekends, it can also help you settle into your new surroundings and meet new people!
Look for Free Software
An inescapable element to student life is the need for software. Sure you could work in the library, but nothing really beats working from the comfort of your own home, does it? Software unfortunately, can be quite expensive. Luckily, there are free to download alternatives out there which can do the job to an extremely high standard. For your essay needs, you could turn to OpenOffice, which also provides a useful spreadsheet tool for those who would like to plan out their budgets in advance, while those who are on creative musical courses could opt for the audio recording and editing software Audacity.
It is these costs that can pile up and quickly whittle away your student loan. No-one wants to enter their overdraft during their first year and without attention it could lead to further debt once you have left higher education. By searching out alternatives to the pricey software packages, you can save money without forcing yourself to make the trip to the library or workstation every time you want to edit some work – which if you want to achieve a good grade should be many, many times!
Turn that Light Out!
It may seem an obvious thing to say, but you’d be amazed at how many people thoughtlessly leave lights turned on in unused rooms. This needless waste of electricity harms both the planet and your pocket; especially if you haven’t already made the switch to energy-saving light bulbs.
Book in Advance
If you are planning on heading home to visit friends and family quite often, then investing in a young person’s railcard would prove to be a shrewd long-term investment. Available for those between 16 and 25, the young person’s railcard can knock off one third of the ticket cost, meaning it will have effectively paid for itself after merely a few uses. Booking in advance can also severely cut the cost of the journey. As anyone who has purchased a train ticket on the day of travel will know, the prices can be absolutely extortionate. Booking in advance and with a railcard can help to keep these costs down and that excess money safe in your bank account.
While they can seem tiring when combined with studies (no matter what some people say, university is no time to sit around playing video games) working part-time will provide vital extra funds on top of your student loan. If you do the majority of your shopping in one specific store, why not consider applying for work there? Many stores offer significant staff discounts, which could vastly reduce your main expenditure, as well as providing you with useful income to spend or save. Depending on where you apply to work, there could be various perks that you had not considered, but which could be extremely useful when money is tight and you don’t want to dip into the overdraft. Unforeseen advantages – such as some cafes allowing workers to take home expiring sandwiches and baked good (not to mention the free caffeine!) can further save on shopping costs; as long as you don’t mind surviving on sandwiches for a while!