Had a tough time balancing the books this academic year? By making some simple lifestyle changes you can get the most out of your maintenance loan, and ensure you aren’t left counting the pennies as you near the end of term.
Cook from scratch and buy in bulk
After rent, food represents the biggest chunk of student spending. One way to make money last longer is to cook from scratch, and be more mindful when shopping.
When you’re next in the supermarket, look out for “own brand” products*. Don’t get suckered into false offers, just because something has a big reduced sign on it doesn’t mean it’s a great deal. Try to only buy what you know you will eat, planning your meals makes this easier to accomplish. Avoid the ready-meals, they are bad for your health and your pocket, try cooking for yourself instead – there are only 4 recipes you need at uni and if you can get those down pat you’ll be sorted.
*Hint: Look at the bottom row of the shelving, not the middle!
Get the things you want cheap or free!
Ethical consumerism is on the rise: that means more and more shoppers are making choices based on products’ sustainability and environmental impact.
Consider buying clothes from charity shops, they’re full of bargains and often you’ll find items that have barely been worn. Making savvy shopping choices is on-trend, you can thank Macklemore for the money you’ll save.
Our own survey found that 91% of students have regretted a purchase so beware midnight shopping splurges and that last minute train ticket.
Technology is awesome but tech-enabled convenience is costing us all a fortune. You used to walk (free) or catch a bus (£1.50): now you’ll uber (minimum £5). Even typing in a PIN number when you make a purchase gives you more time to think than contactless payments. Websites saving your card details is another convenience that can make spending money too easy. Technology might be a cool way to get stuff with little or no effort, but this convenience comes at a price.
Remember its a price you might want to pay now, but every spend in the moment is money you can’t use in the future!
Make your own coffee
The average Brit spends over £2,000 in coffee shops per year, that’s a lot of lattes… If you are just needing to survive until the next loan installment, now might be the time to make your own at home.
Don’t just do it for your pocket, do it for mother nature – those takeaway cups are terrible for the environment! Who knows, making your own might lead to a lifetime habit that’d result in a huge saving.
Plan Better Next Term
Avoid the stress next term and plan a little better. The easiest thing you can do is open a second bank account and pop your loan there. Then, pay yourself a monthly salary. If you do that, you’ll be more inclined to stop spending when you run out of money. By the end of the term you’ll have a clearer picture of how much you spend each month, and how to make sure you don’t get into financial difficulties.