Student life can be a bit of a nightmare — mainly because your social obligations don’t leave any financial room for basic necessities like food and shelter. So what do you do when your requirements and your resources just aren’t lining up? Easy — save, skimp and slash your way to financial stability. Cue the only student budgeting guide you’ll ever need.
Budgeting is boring — we know this. But in the name of student life, it’s a necessary evil that, once dealt with, will facilitate fun times. The great thing is that it’s also an entirely quick and easy process, too — just make a list of all of your essential ongoing expenses (like food, travel, rent and whatever else), then total up how much that sets you back so you can put aside a sum using the remaining cash for treats and enjoyment.
This otherwise arduous task can be made massively easier with the help of some cheeky online tools. The student calculator in particular can end your budgeting headache and spell it out for you so you don’t even have to do the mental heavy lifting. By getting this part out of the way, you can move on to the more fun things your disposable income allows.
Effective budgeting is all about streamlining costs, and there’s no better way to do this than by eliminating a few pennies here and there wherever you can.
There are hundreds of brilliant money-saving apps out there to make your life easier and you’ll be surprised how big a dent trimming expenses can make in your total spend. Exploiting sites like Wowcher and Groupon for all they’re worth can save you a ton of money on anything from basic essentials to shameless indulgences — definitely a couple to bookmark.
Buy in Bulk
Your ethos here should be along the lines of ‘why get 1 when I can get 1000?’ Multi-buy deals can be an absolute life-saver, meaning you’re stocked up on whatever it is pretty much until graduation and have saved yourself a ton if you can be bothered to work out the precise figures.
There are certain expenses you should absolutely buy in bulk, for convenience as well as savings. Things you’re better off buying on mass include dried beans and pasta, non-perishable foods, alcohol, toilet paper and stationery — you know, the essentials. Costco should be your first port of call when buying in bulk, with all nutritious components of the student diet available at the click of a button. Fill up that online basket and find yourself fully stocked up for lifetimes to come.
Use and Abuse Your Discount
The essence of the student experience is knowing your rights and asserting them as needed. In this case, it (literally) pays to stay on top of the student discount situation, knowing exactly where and when you’re entitled to pay less for stuff. There are some sweet discounts to be had on just about everything.
Most high street clothing stores will offer a cheeky 10% as a reward for your higher education – and subsequent poverty — and you’ll be amazed and relieved to hear you can even find lovely student reductions on books, phones, computers and eating out among other things. You’ll even be able to buy services like Spotify Premium for half the price on the basis of being a student — pretty amazing stuff. Check out UNiDAYS for red hot offers.
If seeing the outside world isn’t an essential part of your existence, you’ll be pleased to hear you can save a ton of money by living in isolation.
Looking for something to do that doesn’t put you in £1000s of debt? No worries — switch out your bar crawl for a dorm party and save school nights for filmathons and indoor activities.
Eating out is a lovely extravagance if you can afford it, but living on a student loan it’s unlikely that ‘extravagance’ is in your vocabulary. Don’t stress, though — that doesn’t mean you have to live on military rations of tinned beans and dry toast. Here are just a few of the seriously tasty recipes you might want to try if you fancy taking culinary matters into your own hands:
- Chorizo and fried egg wraps
- Ching’s Yangzhou fried rice
- Meatball pasta bake
- Piri-piri chicken with spicy rice
- Weeknight two-bean chilli
- All-American pancakes
Consider yourself armed and dangerous.