Whether you're a fresher, leaving home for the first time, or a returning student hoping to spend less this year, the following 20 tips should help you out:
Groceries and Meals
1. It can be convenient to just buy ingredients for the days meals at a mini supermarket every day, but it's not the most thrifty. Learn some simple recipes for basic meals. Find recipes online, or from your parents. Plan meals in advance and make them yourself, don't buy readymade.
2. Share groceries as much as possible with your flatmates and split the cost of a big shop to take advantage of bulk buying discounts. Go to discount supermarkets like Lidl or Aldi, and keep track of which supermarkets are cheaper for the things you buy regularly.
3. Make big meals and store leftovers in the fridge or freezer to be eaten later, or used to make another meal.
4. Get student discounts on public transport, such as the Young Persons railcard, or a student multi-journey bus ticket.
5. Get a bike, it's faster than walking and cheaper than the gym
6. If you have a car at home, you may not even want to bring it to University. You'll save money taking public transport and there's no MOT, road tax or insurance to pay if you declare your car off the road. You'll also avoid having to be the designated driver all the time.
7. If you're travelling home for the holidays, see if you can travel with a friend who comes from the same city to split the cost of petrol for long journeys. You can also find travel companions on lift-share websites or put an ad on a University community notice board.
8. If you're planning a night out, invite people round for pre-drinks beforehand. That way you'll spend less money on drinks at the pub.
9. Find out which local pubs, and nightclubs offer deals for students and make those your location of choice on nights out.
10. Your student union is likely to have cheaper drinks prices than anywhere else, always keep price in mind when deciding where to go out.
11. Avoid cash machines that charge for withdrawals. The charge may seem like pocket change, but if you get into the habit it can add up fast. There's usually a free ATM a short walk away.
12. Look out for restaurants, cinemas, hairdressers and high street shops that offer discounts to students.
13. Students receive a large number of offers and discount cards or vouchers, especially during fresher's week. Hold onto these, and if you can make use of them try to do so before they expire.
14. Keep your student card on you at all times to make sure you can take advantage of student discounts whenever they are available.
15. Sign up for an NUS Extra card to receive student discounts on even more products and high street stores including restaurants, travel, motoring, leisure, hair & beauty, even theme parks for an annual fee of £12.
A few more tips...
16. Sell your old stuff. University is a chance for a fresh start, you can sell your old CDs, DVDs, clothes, toys, old phones or unwanted Christmas presents.
17. Check your lecture outlines to find out which textbooks you need to own, and which you can just borrow from the library. If you do need to buy, try to buy second hand or share with a course mate and split the cost (although make sure you get the right edition).
18. If you do buy new text books, keep them in good condition or make paper covers for them so that you can sell them when they're no longer needed.
19. You can avoid paying for a TV License by only watching streaming catch-up from your computer or tablet. If you do watch occasional live TV make sure you have a license or you could face a large fine.
20. Learn how to budget money by reviewing your spending habits regularly using Money Dashboard money management software and finding out exactly what you are spending too much money on.