Just because you’re a student doesn’t mean you have to be broke! When you start being smart with your spending and savings, you can save up a surprising sum of money and start living your best life in uni. If you’re wanting to break free from financial barriers and start managing your money properly, these are our 20 best money saving hacks for students. For the summertime and start of the semester.
1. Save as much as possible during summer
Because it can be difficult to get a part-time job during the semester while managing your studies as well, it’s important to spend your summers earning money and saving as much as possible.
There are much fewer expenses while you’re home for the summer if you’re living at your parents’ house, so avoid meaningless spending during the summer and save the money you’re making at your summer job for the school year.
2. Track your spending
One of the key money saving hacks for students is tracking your spending and writing down each transaction, whether it’s by card or with cash. When you track your spending religiously, you’ll notice where your money is going and where you can cut back to save.
Additionally, it’s easy to spend cash and not feel like you’re spending money because the transaction doesn’t appear on your card history, so writing these payments down as well will help you avoid this tendency.
3. Get a piggy bank for spare change
Piggy banks aren’t just for your childhood! Though it may not seem like one of the major money saving hacks, saving spare change in a piggy bank or something similar will slowly add up, and it’s an effortless way to save your extra money.
Keep a piggy bank going throughout the school year and deposit all your spare change or small bills, and at the end of the year you’ll have a ton of extra money saved up.
4. Install an app for automatic savings
If you’re looking for money saving hacks, chances are that saving money may be proving difficult, so getting an app for saving automatically will help you save without thinking about it.
These apps are linked to your credit card and will even categorise your spending so you can see what you spend the most on. Some popular apps for this include Acorns, EveryDollar, and Mint.
5. Make a budget
One of the most important money saving hacks is establishing a clear budget for yourself and sticking with it. By restricting yourself to spending a certain amount each month, you’re holding yourself to your word and keeping yourself accountable if you overspend.
Additionally, making a budget helps you see the areas of your life where you can save money and reduce mindless spending.
For large purchases…
6. Shop at re-use giveaways
Most universities have re-use giveaways throughout the year where you can take extra clothes hangers, school supplies, or household items for free, which not only helps you save money but is also a great practise for saving the environment.
Be sure to mark these in your calendar and make the most of them instead of spending money when you don’t have to!
7. Don’t pay full price for your books
One of the few money saving hacks that all students need to be aware of is not paying full price for your required reading at university. While many students go to one source for their books, it’s important to search a number of different sellers, including your university’s bookstore, Amazon, and other online sites.
Don’t forget students selling their books, too! Before you buy your books, check your uni’s Facebook groups and see if any older students are selling the books you need at discounted prices.
8. Avoid sales
For avid shoppers, one of the money saving hacks you need to be aware of is not spending all your money at a store just because there’s a sale. Sales are a technique to get consumers to spend more money, so do not fall for the trap!
There will always be sales at your favourite stores, so don’t jump at the opportunity to save money because you’ll still be spending your money regardless.
9. Limit yourself to eating out once a week
Cooking more meals is one of the most important money saving hacks that many people don’t practise. Eating out is one of the fastest ways to spend lots of money and ditch your good budgeting habits, so make sure you’re cautious with this and practise positive savings by simply cooking more.
10. Don’t buy hot drinks out
Along with eating out, grabbing a casual tea or coffee a few times a week adds up, especially going to places like Starbucks or getting a coffee socially with friends. By making teas and coffees at home and taking them with you in reusable cups, you’ll be saving far more money than you’d ever think possible.
11. Pack a lunch
Along the same lines, don’t even fall into the trap of needing to buy food while you’re out and just pack a lunch instead. This is one of the best money saving hacks you can do as a student because you’re preventing yourself from spending money mindlessly in the future. You can also meal prep to save time and pack your lunches on the weekend for the entire week ahead!
12. Buy food that’s easy to make
For procrastinators and lazy chefs, one of the most crucial money saving hacks when grocery shopping is to buy food that’s easy to make so that it requires less energy to cook what you have in the kitchen than order another takeaway and spend more money than you have to.
You don’t need to limit your food shop only to lazy food like oven pizzas and microwave meals, but ensuring you always have a few of these on hand will make you feel guilty for eating out when you don’t need to.
13. Use a reusable water bottle
Not only is using a reusable water bottle one of the easiest money saving hacks, but it’s also good for the environment! By carrying around a water bottle wherever you go, you’re prohibiting yourself from buying plastic water bottles or other drinks while you’re out, and you’re practising good habits for sustainable living.
14. Shop at large supermarkets
Though it may be easier to shop at local convenience stores, venturing to larger supermarkets will help you save money without realising it because products are always a bit cheaper at these types of stores. Avoid spending more money on your food shops, find a friend with a car, and drive to your nearest large supermarket for a weekly shop so you can save a bit of cash on the same items.
15. Uninstall Deliveroo
We’ve already mentioned a few money saving hacks to prevent you from getting takeaways so often, but quite frankly, uninstalling apps like Deliveroo and Uber Eats is the easiest ways to stop this habit. By seeing those apps every time you open your phone, you’re constantly reminded about the possibility of ordering food and eventually you just give into temptation.
However, without these apps readily at your fingertips, it’ll be easier for you to just cook a simple meal than to reinstall the app and spend money.
16. Carry snacks
For students who love to snack, one of the easiest money saving hacks to reduce this mindless spending is to buy some healthy snacks in your weekly shop and carry them in your backpack when you go to class or the library.
It may be easy and seem inexpensive to buy something at the library vending machine, but you’ll feel guilty spending money unnecessarily when you already have snacks with you.
For nights out…
17. Pre-drink instead of going straight to a bar
Pre-drinking is one of the most common money saving hacks for students, especially when local bars and pubs have outrageous prices for a pint. Buying your own alcohol at a supermarket is significantly cheaper than buying drinks while you’re out, so drink before you go out so you don’t even need to spend much more money on a night out.
18. Know the local student discounts
Student discounts are one of the ultimate money saving hacks for uni students, and if you’re not already taking advantage of this, you need to start now! Sites like Unidays will alert you to student discounts at places where you already spend money, but you can also ask before you spend at local stores whether they have a student discount and save some money in your everyday life.
For this tip, be sure you’re always carrying around your student ID so you’re able to verify you’re a student and get the discount.
19. Go to free events
While it may seem like you need to spend money to have fun at uni, there are always loads of free events being put on by the Students’ Union and societies that can help you cut back on spending. Check Facebook for some of these events and get in the habit of attending so you can have fun and spend less money.
20. Don’t take your bank card on nights out
On a night out, it can be easy to forget budgeting practises and money saving hacks, and it’s common for people to spend tons of money with their card while drunk and not even realise it. To avoid this, simply leave your bank card at home when you go on a night out and instead bring a limited amount of cash.
Therefore, you physically won’t be able to spend all your money on drinks and toasties even if you’re tempted, and you also won’t have to worry about having your card getting stolen or lost.