1 September 2023

13 Money Saving Hacks for Students

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Being short on cash is a standard part of student life, but it’s not much fun. So it’s always worth stretching that student loan as far as possible. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to do this, from discounts to budgeting.

Here are 13 money saving hacks to make those pennies go a little bit further…

1. Open a savings account

Put some money into a savings account each month. It doesn’t matter how much. The good thing about a savings account is that you’ll usually get a higher interest rate than a normal current account. So the more money you have in it, the more you’ll earn.

2. Create a monthly budget

Tracking your expenses is crucial if you want your money to last. Work out how much cash comes into and leaves your account. Next, subtract your income from your expenses and split the difference by the number of weeks in the term. This will help you stick to a weekly budget.

3. Use the 70/20/10 approach

One great way of saving is to use the 70/20/10 hack. This suggests that 70% of your income should go on living expenses, 20% on fun things you want to do and 10% on savings.

You could always switch these up depending on your situation.

4. Make a meal plan

Planning a meal isn’t easy. But it’s a great way to save money and reduce your food waste as you’re only buying ingredients you need. Introduce themed dinner nights for each day of the week and follow a routine for consistency. Here are some examples to get you started:

  • Meatless Monday
  • Taco Tuesday
  • Wild Salmon Wednesday
  • Tagliatelle Thursday
  • Falafel Friday
  • Scrambled egg Saturday
  • Soup Sunday

5. Look for yellow labels

Always look out for those yellow reduction labels when you’re food shopping. The best time is usually a couple of hours before close. However, it could be earlier.

Usually, you can bag yourself around 50% off, but sometimes the discount is more than 90%. Nothing improves a bad day like picking up a bunch of chocolate chip cookies for 78p.

Below are some supermarket reduction times. These may vary depending on store policy…

  • Tesco – 8:00pm
  • Sainsbury’s – 7:00pm
  • Asda – 7:00pm
  • Morrison’s – 5:00pm
  • Aldi –  8:00am
  • Lidl – 9:00am to 12:00pm
  • Co-op – All throughout the day

6. Bubble-wrap your windows

One for the winter months, but one way to keep the cold air out is to insulate your windows using bubble wrap. Not only will it keep you warm, it’ll save you heaps on energy bills too! 

  1. Get yourself a sheet of bubble wrap 
  2. Cut the bubble wrap to fit the size of your window glass
  3. Spray some water into the windowpane (using a spray bottle)
  4. Stick the bubble wrap on the windowpane (bubble side toward the glass) and press
  5. To remove the material, simply pull it off starting from one corner

7. Get a shower timer

Bills are a huge expense for any student house. And, unless you want a particularly cold winter, it’s difficult to save huge amounts of money on them.

However, one way you can cut down your water bill is by showering for less time. A four-minute shower timer can help you save up to £30 per person a year. Or £120 a year for an average four-person household. Awesome stuff.

8. Sharing is caring

While being the most generous person at the bar isn’t likely to save you much money, sharing can sometimes be a really cost-effective way of doing things. For instance, instead of buying new outfits, see if you can swap clothes with flatmates.

Also, try and buy things as a house, from condiments to washing powder, and split the cost. As long as it doesn’t descend into an argument about who finished the milk, this is a great way for the whole house to save some cash.

9. Double up your wardrobe space

Too many clothes and not enough space for them? Don’t worry. Next time you open a drink can, collect the ring pulls. Slide these onto your hangers and you can stack as many hangers as you want on them, provided they’re able to take the weight!

10. Swap items for cash

If you’re halfway through a spring clean, you’re in for some luck. Lots of companies provide cash in exchange for items, which increases depending on the weight. We Just Recycle is one. They pay up to 50p per kilo – that’s £5.00 per bag weighing ten kilos.

11. Wear an extra layer

Don’t rely on heating when the temperature drops. Put on some warm clothing instead. You’ll thank yourself later when the electricity bill comes through.

Layering up is important. But there’s a little science behind it too. Try to wear fabrics that absorb body heat like polypropylene thermals. Cotton is more breathable than synthetic fibers so would actually be best for summer when you need to cool down.

12. Get a 16-25 railcard

This might be the best student discount around. A 16-25 railcard gives you 1/3 off rail travel throughout the UK. This will save you a fortune if you catch the train back home or go to visit friends at other unis.

It does cost £30 a year, but is totally worth it given how expensive travel is these days. Save on trips into town, on weekend getaways and at music festivals.

13. Keep a loose change jar

Next time you’ve got some loose change lying around (pennies, 5ps, or a £1 coin if you’re feeling brave), throw it into a jar. Fill it up ‘til it’s reached the top before emptying. You’d be surprised at just how much that could all turn into. Great for those little pick-me-up moments.

We hope these 13 tips have helped. 

Got any other money-saving tips? If so, let us know.