Worrying about money and how to save money as a student is perfectly normal. You will not be the only one and there will be more students after you to fear it. None of this is helped by constant changes to the student loans and tuition fees.
There are just so many things you need to do to take advantage of the student life. Not only do you have your regular bills, but there are textbooks to buy, socialising to do, and fun days out you want to afford.
Well, it’s time to save money on everything you do as a student. I’m not just going to tell you to cut back on your spending. These five tips are practical and easy to follow.
Use Voucher Codes
There are plenty of voucher code websites available that will help you save money on next to everything. This includes stationary, eating out and clothing. Many voucher code websites now offer apps for smartphones so you can access your vouchers while you are out. We use them on a regular basis to save money for our favourites.
Always do some research to find out if there’s a voucher code before you go to the checkout (both online and in store). It’s much easier with WiFi and mobile data available everywhere now. I wish I had this option when a student more than a decade ago.
One thing that I will suggest is that you’re careful with the requirements to use the voucher codes. Many will have the need to spend a certain amount of money. If you wouldn’t usually spend that money, then you’re not actually going to save anything! It seems like common sense but the vouchers and promise of savings can be alluring.
Use Your Student Discount
You’ll be surprised at the number of stores offering student discount. If there isn’t a sign, simply ask whether they offer a discount for students. 10% is the most common but you can gain up to 25%. Some companies will offer something free when you buy something if you have student cards instead of a discount. My favourites as a student include Rymans stationary, New Look and Frankie and Benny’s.
I recommend buying the three-year NUS card. You save money by getting three years in one and it’s just a lot easier than having to apply every single year.
Like with the voucher codes, you’ll need to make sure there are no minimum spend requirements to get your student discount. The majority of stores don’t set this, but it’s just best to check.
Get a Railcard
There are no student railcards but there is a Young Person’s card and this is well worth investing in, especially if you travel daily to get into university. The Young Person’s card is for 16-25 year olds and lasts for one year. The price has changed over the years, but you will make that money back for the card through your travel savings.
If you are too old for a Young Person’s card, buy your travel in bulk where possible. The majority of rail companies offer weekly or monthly passes so you save money on your travel if you need to use the trains on a daily basis. I saved by buying a monthly pass when I was in Birmingham, which was for use on buses and trains. It was about £41 per month, but I could use the trains and buses whenever I wanted, as many times in a day that I wanted and I really saved money.
There are other types of rail cards available, including a family one. This could be something worth considering if you’re studying part-time or through distance learning or you have a young family while studying full-time.
Invest in Amazon Prime
I originally had something here about claiming your TV license back, but I’m not even sure just how many students bother with the TV license now. So, how about something else that will help you save money?
Amazon Prime costs around £79 per year and is one of the best outgoings you will ever have. It gives you free delivery on anything that you buy online, which is great for those buying textbooks and gifts online. But that’s not the only great thing. There is a student discount available for Amazon Prime to help you save even more money!
When you get an Amazon Prime account, you get access to Amazon Video and Amazon Music for free. You can also get access to the Kindle Library. This means you get to save money on movies, TV shows, music, books, and much more. You don’t need to buy them from the local store and get to watch them all off your laptop or hook your laptop to your TV so everyone can watch clearly.
To make it even better, you can try the Amazon Prime 30-day free trial. Make sure you enjoy it before you pay the yearly fee for it.
Buy Through Cashback Websites
When I first wrote this, buying a printer was on my list of tips to save money. Most of you will now have a printer, as they are so affordable. So, I wanted to change my top tip to save money as a student. It’s all about cashback sites.
Cashback websites allow you to buy your regular products but then gain money back. You end up making a saving through the money that you get back. In some cases you can get the items for free, which is a great way of testing something to see if you like it without risk of losing money.
I’ve used cashback sites regularly on my normal food shopping. Ebates is my favourite, but there are many other options out there.
You can save money as a student without changing too many of your spending habits. It’s all about doing a little research first. Sure it will take a little extra time but that’s worth it when you have a fatter bank account, right?
Oh and don’t forget about the round-up methodround-up method to further save money as a student while still spending it.
As you may tell from the content, this has been updated. It was originally posted on November 25, 2012 and has been updated on April 27, 2017.