When your student loan comes in, it’s a great day. You’ve got a big lump of cash in your account, and it’s so tempting to run to the nearest shop and blow a huge chunk of it. But I’m here to tell you to not do that. If you want to make it to Christmas this year without feeling stressed about money, then here are 10 ways to make your student budget go further.
1. Move All of Your Loan into A Savings Account
If the money isn’t in your current account, it’s almost as if you don’t have it. This is also a great way of not accidentally spending your rent or utilities money. If you’ve got it separate, it’s safer.
2. Set Yourself a Weekly Budget
Setting yourself a weekly budget allows you to keep in control of your spending. If you’re realistic about how much you spend a week, you can usually save a little bit each week and maybe put some aside for a rainy day.
3. Only Buy the Premium Or Branded Products If It Is Necessary
Sometimes, the shop’s own brand is just as good as the premium brand but will cost you half the price. It’s better to buy these so you can splash out on the more important premium products. Obviously it’s got to be Heinz though.
4. Work Out A Budget for Your Weekly Food Shop
If you eat roughly the same foods each week, then it’s quite easy to work out how much you spend a week on food. If you put this figure into your weekly budget, it will give you a better idea of how much money you can spend on fun things, like booze and the pub within a student budget.
5. Cook Meals with Your Housemates
Usually when you’re cooking a meal for yourself, it isn’t much more expensive to cook a little bit extra of the same meal for a friend. If they then do the same the next night, you’ve both saved a chunk of money on having to make separate dinners.
6. If You Have A Job Put Some Money Aside
If you work alongside going to university, try putting some money from your pay-check back into your savings for a student budget. It doesn’t have to be much, but £10 a week is £40 saved a month, and that is £120 in a term. That could possibly pay for Christmas presents for your family and more.
7. Buy Your Booze with The Weekly Shop
If you budget in booze, you won’t be caught out by extortionate off license prices. Similarly, supermarkets have a much wider range of alcohol, usually have drink offers on and if you’re drinking before a night out – it doesn’t really have to taste that nice.
8. Public Transport If Your Friend
Taxis and running your own car are money pits. It’s usually so much cheaper to get a bus pass, Oyster Card or Metro Pass. Public transport companies usually offer student deals and are quite good at getting you anywhere you want to be. In Manchester, if you don’t have a bus pass, are you even a Manchester student?
9. Shop in The Reduced Section and Discount Offers
The reduced section of Supermarkets at around 9pm is a gold mine. You can get nice cheese, bags of salad and sometimes prime cuts of meat and fish. You can easily freeze it at home or eat it that day. But it’s always worthwhile checking. Similarly, if a shop is offering a two for one offer on something you eat a lot of, it is often worth getting the deal and saving on the next time you’d buy it.
10. Shop in Second Hand Shops
Charity shops are a godsend in England. They are usually crammed with so many amazing products. You can buy clothes, shoes and homeware. There’s no point buying plates new from a department store if they’re just going to get smashed at a party. But when you can get four plates for £2.50 from British Heart Foundation, are you really going to say no?