Posted November 18, 2014 by

Keeping Debt Down: Money Saving Tips for Students

Closeup portrait of young woman holding her piggy bank friend in hand, isolate on white background. Positive emotion facial expression feelings. Smart wise saving paid financial decisions.

Closeup portrait of young woman holding her piggy bank friend in hand, isolate on white background. Positive emotion facial expression feelings. Smart wise saving paid financial decisions. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Last week a report in the Express and Star indicated that more students than ever before are relying on Payday loans to supplement their finances. A spokeswoman said that payday lending is becoming ‘increasingly prevalent within the student community’ and this controversial method of borrowing money can see students racking up even more debt by the time they finish their studies. Managing your budget as a student can be difficult. For many it is the first time they will have experienced living independently and budgeting accordingly. This along with the social temptations that are often associated with a student lifestyle and expensive costs of course materials can see them frittering away their money before they realize how and where it has gone. Being a student often means accruing at least some debt, but keeping this to a minimum is seriously beneficial so here are some ways that you can save money while studying and still have a good time.

Budget

Be your own accountant. Make a comprehensive list of your in-comings from your student loan, grant, work and other income then compare it against your essential outgoings – rent, bills, insurance, travel costs, food, course materials and so on. Whatever is left over you can spend on what you like or put it into savings. Keeping track of your money in this way means that you aren’t going to end up with any nasty surprises when you check your balance and will reduce the likelihood of you ever needing to rely on emergency measures like payday loans.

Share costs

When you are living in a house or halls with other students, sharing is caring. Cooking together, sharing transport costs (such as fuel and maintenance of a car) and even borrowing clothes are a great way to save money and form good friendships in the process.

Student discounts

Being a student automatically entitles you to several discounts. With money off rail travel, eating out and discounts in numerous chain stores you can make some real savings and enjoy little luxuries at a cheaper price. There are also a lot of discount websites aimed specifically at students where you can print off vouchers for deals and money off coupons. You probably won’t get savings like this again until you are retired so make the most of every freebie and discount you can get!

Get a job

When you are studying it can be difficult to find the time between lectures to hold down a job. But even if you can only manage a few hours a week, a little extra money can add up and go a long way when you are a student. There may also be opportunities to pick up extra hours outside of term time. With most university campuses being located in bustling cities you are almost certain to find some job vacancies in shops, bars or offices. You can also look at ways that you can earn a little extra money from home while getting experience in your field. For example an English student could look into taking on some freelance content writing whilst a fashion student could make money from selling handmade jewelry online. Things like this won’t only benefit you financially but will look good on your resume for the future.

Learn to say no

A major part of the student lifestyle is socializing with nights out, eating out and going out in general being a big temptation especially when there is so much on offer for students to do in their leisure time. Unfortunately despite cheap drink deals and discounts, the cost of socializing can be one of the biggest ways that students lose money and the only real way to curb it is to learn to say no. Resist the pressure from your housemates when it comes to yet another night in the club and remind yourself the following day (when they are all hungover) just how much money you saved. Getting into habits such as Friday nights at a specific club or stopping off for a burger after a certain weekly lecture can soon become expensive so avoid this and don’t feel bad about passing up social engagements that you know deep down you can’t afford. Use your time to study instead – it might sound boring but in the end it will be much more worthwhile.

Cheaper alternatives

Being frugal is a gift that can benefit you for life and practicing saving money during your student years is a great way to live the same lifestyle, only cheaper. This may include opting for store own brand products rather than more expensive ‘named’ goods and walking to lectures instead of paying for the bus. Ultimately the outcome is the same only you have achieved it for less money.

Article is a freelance contribution by Gemma Pearl

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