Budgeting as a student is rarely easy. For students who have little source of income outside of loans and part-time work, it can be a real struggle to make your money stretch over the course of the semester. If you want to be able to enjoy yourself (and survive) you might need a little help with your financial planning, so I’ve compiled a few tips to help you save some cash without sacrificing too much.
- Plan out meals.
A massive mistake made by students is failing to do their food shop in advance. Purchasing individual meals daily often results in much pricier produce, probably of a lower quality too. If you make a commitment to select recipes at the beginning of the week and compile a shopping list, you’ll slash your monthly food bill. Try to stick to your shopping list, special offers may be tempting as they appear to save you extra cash – but try not to let them lead your shopping habits astray. Remember, they’re designed to make you spend more, not less. Also, try to avoid buying more fresh produce than you’re capable of eating unless it’s safe to freeze until you’re ready. Utilise your freezer as much as possible, try batch cooking. Purchasing ingredients in bulk will save you cash and having a few portions of your favourite recipes ready in the freezer will save you study time.
- Sell your unwanted belongings.
Most students have limited space and even more limited cash, to counteract this you can commit to selling any clothes you haven’t worn in a long time or even any electrics you barely use. Vintage shops and online outlets give you the opportunity to make cash while you clear out the clutter. Equally, if you’re in need of something you can probably get hold of it second-hand online for a fraction of the price, so take a look before you hit the high street.
- Haggle, haggle, haggle.
While it might not be the best idea to try to have the price of your food shop slashed when you get to the checkout, there are certain places that are flexible on what they charge. For example, if you give your phone, broadband and TV subscription providers a call and tell them you’d like to transfer over to a competitor you’ll be transferred over to a loyalty team who are trained to convince you into staying with significant discounts and offers. Why wouldn’t you?
- Try one day of not spending per week.
If you choose a day when you restrict yourself from spending a single penny, it’ll at least help you commit to my first tip about food shopping ahead of schedule. As well as this, it’ll encourage you to think about your spending habits and decide how much of your spending is actually necessary.
Most importantly, just try to be conscious of what you’re spending day-to-day. Your cappuccino on the way to class might not seem like a lot, but each cup will add up and make it harder for you to afford the things that really matter – like parties.