Have you got over our Welcome Week antics yet? Perhaps you found Oxford Street shopping too much of a temptation or found house hunting in Hackney heartbreaking and you need to start thinking about ways to save money. We’ve put together a 10 step guide on ways to save money as a student and surviving as a fresher.
Get an NUS extra card
One of the easiest ways to save money as a student on tonnes of big brands and even supermarkets. The NUS extra card offers you discounts in over 200 stores and brands in the UK, plus 42,000 internationally. Some of the most used discounts are 10% off at ASOS, 10% off Co-op, up to 40% off at Pizza Express, 50% off Spotify, and dozens of your favourite brands and tech companies, including Apple which deduct VAT for students on new products. You can purchase cards that are valid from one to three years.
Make sure you get all the funding and grants available
UAL offers a wide range of scholarships, bursaries, and awards provided through generous donations from individuals, companies, and philanthropic charities, as well as from University funds (find out more). There plenty of private scholarships outside of UAL, including sponsorships, grants and emergency fund floating out there. Disabled Students Allowance is worth checking if you have a disability or learning disadvantage (eg. Dyslexia), with cash for computers and specialist kit. See if there’s anything you’re eligible for. GOV.UK is a great place to start your search and see what might be available to you.
Get a railcard for when London gets too much
Whether you want to explore the UK or just go home for the weekend, make the most out of age and buy or renew your 16-25 railcard for a third off rail fares. Your event able to purchase a 3-year card before your 24th birthday, so you’d be protected from higher train fares until you’re 27. Find out more on their site.
Furnish for free
Moving out is already expensive enough with rent and fees, but even more so when you ended up somewhere unfurnished. However, there are ways around this. You’ll find almost anything up for grabs on Gumtree, Freecycle.org, Freegle, and Preloved (best bet is to look first thing in the morning). There’s always eBay if everything else fails!
Know your discounts
An NUS extra card is great, but it doesn’t cover everything. Do you like eating out? Then get a tastecard for up to 50% at thousands of restaurants and download To Good to Know to eat restaurant food and stop food waste. Save postage with Amazon Prime, the trial gives you six months of free one-day delivery with no minimum spend, and therefore 50% off the usual yearly membership, this also includes Prime Instant Video and Amazon Music. UNiDAYS is also another great way to save money, discounters include Urban Outfitters and Office just to name a few.
Make sure you pick the right bank account
You might have already seen banks with flashy student offers but offer really bad rates or finance managing and alerts. Staying on top of your money is usually a deal breaker for most freshers, you can often get stung once (or if) you go overdrawn, that’s why you need to make sure you’ve picked the right bak. Read what NUS had to say on the matter. Cashback perks are also worth a read into as it can save you a lot of money throughout the year, The Telegraph has compiled a list of banks and notable discount.
Lose your TV license
This a controversial one to consider but might save you a bundle down the line. If you have high-speed unlimited broadband then consider streaming services like Netflix or Amazon Prime instead of coughing up for a TV license. The laws changed recently though, for iPlayer and 4OD, you now need a license or face a BIG FINE!
Shop around for your gas and electric
If you’ve opted against student accommodation this year, then shopping around for your house needs might save you £100s. You don’t have to be a homeowner to change your bills, that’s just an urban myth that has been circulating for years. You can make hefty savings by switching provider overnight and research different suppliers. Here’s a good guide to finding out more about switching and savings.
Get inspired for free
Museums are great but they sometimes can cost an arm and a leg. Luckily there are places in London to get inspired for free, including some of the biggest galleries like Saatchi, National Portrait Gallery and the Tate’s. Check out the full list here. But sometimes you have to pay for museums, that’s where the National Art Pass and concession entry comes into play. You can save even more on membership if you are aged 26 or under.
Actually manage your money
The most obvious way to save money is by being wise with what you have. This means budgeting, making pack lunches and occasionally saying no to nights out or new clothes. There are plenty of cards designed to help you budget if your bank doesn’t have the best management tools. Get an easy to use Monzo card that helps you budget each month over your phone, plus you can use it abroad free of charge for the best exchange rate.
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