10 budgeting tips for all students

How many times have you been told to get an NUS card?

If you’re frequently lurking around the supermarket aisles at closing time – spying on Barbara as she slaps penny barcodes on Yum Yums – you’re committed to the money saving cause.

You already know that personal expenditure was up 3.9% last June, and that food costs have risen by 13%, and electricity by 28%, since 2010. Outrageous, and you’re feeling the pinch.

Here’s the low-down on student cost cutting trends to experiment with, if you’re bored of eating pasta and scoldings from tutors over your wonderfully cheap, but woefully out of date, second-hand textbooks.


Use your business acumen

Businesses and supermarkets are reducing their waste, but Skipchen — a Bristol-based cafe project — saw the food waste endemic and decided to collect stock surplus from local businesses. There’s nothing to stop you trying to set up a similar cafe for your student community. Call up businesses, see what’s being wasted and if you could take the surplus off their hands.

Take the bus!

A £1.50 single for the standard Megabus, is no brainer really. But if you fancy splashing out, the Megabus Gold Service offers miles of comfort. There are bunks, free water and wifi, and cakes, plus if you’re travelling from London to Edinburgh overnight, it’ll cost about £66.

Share meals!

What Do Sausages, Grapes, Bread Rolls, Bacon And Tomatoes All Have In Common? They’re in the bin. According to the IFR, UK homes waste ⅓ of their food but before you go peering at your mate’s leftovers, talk to them about what they’re throwing away, or what’s about to go off, and make some meals together.

Know your community

If the thought of negotiating with local businesses sounds like too much hard work, check out your nearest Real Junk Food Project — a ‘pay as you feel’ chain of cafes — that feeds everyone.

Look good for less

The average haircut in london is £33 (for men it’s half that at £22) and 49% of women say they’ll pay between £25-£50 for a haircut, according to a Guardian poll. That’s more than half of your weekly budget! Salon training days are usually low-or-no cost. Trainees linger longer over your locks to refine their technique, and they’re mentored by stylists who charge £50 and upwards on a normal day.

Be more food savvy

Stay inventive in the kitchen with Jack Monroe’s affordable and inventive recipes and if you’re dining out, research if cashback and voucher codes are available at your local chains. Or invest in a Gourmet Society membership, also available with cashback.

Say no to internet envy

Step 1: Avoid Pinterest like the plague. Step 2: Subscribe to more achievable DIY lifestyle sites. Step 3: Feel okay about not spending all your cash on highly trendy (but entirely purposeless) golden pineapples. Step 4: Be brave, and make your own.

Don’t give up on skin care!

Subscription boxes keep you chic on the cheap. Our faves are shave clubs — you could spend near £100 a year on razors if bought ad hoc — and beauty boxes, that cost just a snip at between £10 to £20 a month each.

The discount village people

Scope out the discount shopping villages near your uni. For example, McArthurGlen (a short bus ride from Cardiff University) has a discount Vans outlet.

Get an NUS Extra card

No really, just do it. It includes offers such as 10% off Co-op groceries at over 3,200 participating stores and offers across ASOS, McDonalds, Odeon, Amazon, 16-25 Railcard and Superdrug.

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