Top Tips for Living on a Budget

Top Tips for Living on a Budget

July 19, 2016

Top Tips for Living on a Budget

Managing a budget is one of the toughest challenges students face; rather than earning a monthly wage, you’re provided with a lump-sum loan which has to last several months – all well and good if your willpower is strong, but for many the temptation to spend just a little extra this month leads to a financial crunch further down the line. To help you stretch your loan as far as possible without resorting to living off of baked beans and noodles, we’ve put together this guide with our top tips for

Cheap Nights Out: Knowing where to find good student deals is crucial to making the most of a night out. Many nightclubs run student nights during the week, but there are also various other promotions by companies that can help you stretch your budget; taxi firms sometimes offer discount rates to and from popular nightclubs and there are often cheap places to get a late-night meal, too!

Cheap Nights In: The best way to save money on a night out is to not go out – arranging a night in with your housemates is a great way to provide entertainment, and even the best drinks offers can’t beat a run to the supermarket for value! Inviting friends round to watch a film or play board games is a great way to stay social without dipping in to your student loan.

Save on Transport: Depending on what your commute to campus is like, you may need to use public transport to attend lectures. If so, find out whether you could save money with a week or month-long pass, and whether there are any discounts available for students. It’s also a no-brainer to buy a Young Person’s Railcard; these knock a third off the cost of rail travel for an entire year, so the initial outlay for the card is more than made up for when you go home for Christmas!

Shop Online: Unless you have a car (or a friend with one), the amount of shopping you can bring home with you is limited to what you can carry – you won’t be able to take advantage of bulk-buy discounts, so you’ll have to keep paying out for smaller amounts more often. Most supermarkets now offer home delivery, though, and usually at a very low price. For an extra couple of pounds, you can order as many tins of beans and rolls of toilet paper as you like, and if you combine your order with your housemates you’ll all be able to stock up on essentials in one go!

Learn to Cook: Even if you’re a nightmare in the kitchen, knowing how to cook a few basic recipes allows you to discard expensive ready meals and make your own food from scratch. A good, basic cookbook lets you follow simple instructions to make classic meals, and if you and your housemates take turns cooking you’ll be able to provide home-made meals most nights!

Buy Used Course Books: Whatever you’re studying, you’ll almost certainly need a set of reference books to get you through your degree course, but brand-new copies can cost a fortune! See if your university allows you to buy copies from graduating students, as these are a much cheaper option, and the books are only sold if they’re in good condition.

Pick up a Part-time job: It’s not exactly saving, but if you want to stretch your student loan a little farther a part time job is a great way to make ends meet. From retail assistant to delivery driver, private tutor to events organiser, there are plenty of jobs available that can fit with your timetable, so sparing a few hours a week will take the strain off your bank account. For some ideas of jobs you could apply for, read our article on the “Top Student Jobs in Leeds”.

Keep Bills Under Control: Running a household for the first time is a difficult task, and one of the trickiest parts is budgeting for utilities bills. Try cutting back on your services by minimising heating, and instead layering up when it gets cold. You can also share cooking to reduce the amount of time your over is on for, and share washing machine loads to save on water charges.