It’s probably not likely to be a time in your life when you’ve got a disposable income. In fact, studying at a university is a time when there’s so much you want to do but so little money to do it with! Managing your money isn’t easy when you’re at university, but there are some things you can do to keep your costs down.
Before you can make any kind of savings, you first need to know how your money is being spent. To do this, you need a list of all your expenses, including rent, food, transport, medical costs, insurance, interest on any debts you might have, entertainment costs and clothing. For a couple of months, list every single penny you spend and then add it all up at the end of it. Once you’ve got a clear idea of where your money is going, you’ll be able to consider ways to cut your spending. Here are some ways you can do it.
- Food Shopping: This could well be one of your biggest expenses so it makes sense to look at ways you can reduce it. Try buying supermarket own brand products, rather than well-known brands. Look for items that are discounted and buy in bulk when possible. Sit down with your housemates and plan your meals for the week and just make one trip to the supermarket as this is more cost-effective.
- Student Discounts: Get yourself a student discount card and use it in many shops and food outlets. There are some great discounts you can take advantage of in many different areas.
- Take Your Own Lunch: This is a great way to save every day of the week. How long is it going to take to put together a sandwich or salad in the morning? As well as saving money, you’ll know exactly what you’ve put in it, meaning you can include nutritious foods, rather than eating processed junk food.
- Get Yourself a Piggy Bank: How often do you find yourself with a pocket or purse full of change? All those coins will soon add up if you collect them in a separate container!
- Free Software: Did you realise you might be eligible for free software, such as Microsoft’s entire Office suite of programs? As well as this freebie from Microsoft, there are lots of other useful software you can download for free. Paint.net, for cropping and editing images; VLC Player is free to use if you want a media player.
- Online Reviews: If you want to know whether there are things worth buying, spend time checking out online reviews. There are several different review sites which provide information, prices and purchasing details for many of the items you’ll want for your studies. Read an expert review of the Deskjet 3630, for example, and you’ll be able to find the best place to buy it.
- Don’t Buy a Car: Of course, it’s going to be tempting, but a car will be a significant drain on your resources. When you’re studying at university, it makes financial sense to take advantage of public transport. You can apply for student cards for travelling on buses and coaches, trains and other transport services.