Starting university is no easy task; it is even harder if you are an international student. Moving to a new country and realising how expensive life is – it is then when money matters really hit home. But even otherwise, it is a good idea to save money at university. The less you are in debt, the better – and you don’t need a rocket scientist to explain that to you.
This post is for university students who want to save some money at university whilst still being financially sensible.
1. Compare Prices
One of the easiest steps to follow, yet often overlooked. You walk into a store to buy something – new headphones, a laptop mouse, new hard-disk, or anything else. Compare price online. Amazon, Ebay and other online stores are much cheaper than buying it from a store.
When it comes to food, always look for an economical option. You don’t have to be cheap, that’s not what I’m suggesting. But always following a ‘brand’ may not make financial sense at uni. Also, try online cashback sites – they might just give you a good deal.
2. Save Money on International Calls
Universities are hot-spots for international culture. A lot of international students have to make calls home. One of my personal favourites for that is Localphone.com. They offer ridiculously cheap rates on international calls. Alternatively, you could look into buying Skype credit for your international calls. You can call a phone/mobile from Skype; yes, technology has advanced.
Being able to make affordable international calls becomes really valuable when you’ve got a contract phone and international calls are not included within your allowance. Most big mobile carriers charge very high amounts, so Localphone or Skype could be your saviour.
3. Slam your NUS/Student Card on the Table
A trick I learnt from a friend when I was at uni. She did not care what store she was in, she would always ask if the store accepted student discount for the local university students before paying. Most of them would do discounts, just wouldn’t find the time to advertise them. Always ask if shops/restaurants do student discount.
If you are a student in the UK, search for the NUS card and have a look – it is worth its value.
4. Stop Eating Junk Food – Save Money and Your Health
This is almost ironic coming from me, but seriously, look at the amount of junk food you eat. I wouldn’t say stop eating out altogether. But look at how much you spend. £3.99- £5.00 for a burger or kebab with a drink? Urghhh – you are killing yourself.
I used to have junk food about 3-4 times a week, but by my final year I could see the better of it and stopped doing that. I realised I could save about £30-£40 a month, and believe me, £360-£500 a year is a lot of money saved.
5. Look for a Pound or Dollar Store Nearby
Sometimes, if all you want is some towels to wipe your plates with, or boxes to store food in, you don’t need to spend upwards of £5 on it, whilst at university. Walk into a Pound store and you will realise you can save money without having to pay big bucks to live an organised life.
It is true of anything – if it is a non-essential item, walk into a Pound store and see if there is an economical alternative.
BONUS TIP: Make your Own Lunch
WHAT! Yes Sir. Make your own lunch. Now, you might want to see that girl working in your library cafe or eat in that cool joint at uni. Fair enough, totally fine. But if you are not doing any of this and plan to have a good day at uni or use the library, especially at times of exams, why not make your own lunch?
You are going to have a sandwich at uni, right? So why not just make something at home and pack it for later? I do this for work, too, and believe me – instead of spending £2.50-£3.99 every day, I now spend about £0.90 – £1.00 on my lunch. Laugh now, but trust me, it works!
So, that’s all folks. Save money at university with these tips and you will become a self-disciplined financial guru. It’s a bonus that these tips will also help you lead a healthy life by not eating junk and making your own lunch.
For those of you who like lifehacking and dissecting everything, remember this – the price you pay is for the product itself + costs, such as wages, warehouse space, brand name, marketing, etc. The steps I have listed above remove these extra costs, so you will naturally save money. Just our simple way of helping you.