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How to save money as a student

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Read our practical tips on how to save money as a student. 

It’s important now more than ever to make your money go further. Living on a student loan is hard, especially during a cost of living crisis. 

Create a budget

Firstly, make a budget to eliminate areas that could be draining your finances. CAP’s practical guide to making a budget will help you work out your incomings and outgoings, and whether you’re able to balance your budget. Once you’ve created your budget, you should be able to see whether you’re short each month or term and if so how much you’re short by, and make adjustments as needed.

Use three bank accounts

One for bills, one for savings and one for your disposable income. As soon as your student loan comes in, split it into your three accounts depending on your budget. Even better, set up a standing order for when the loan comes in so you don’t have to manually distribute it.

Try and avoid your overdraft

If you choose to use an overdraft facility, bear in mind it can easily build up and will need paying off at some point.

Be smart when food shopping

Shop for food in budget supermarkets and do one big shop a week. Try not to go to the supermarket in between shops – we’ve all gone in for one thing and come out with a basket full at some point. Also, try doing your food shopping in the evening when you can pick up items at a reduced price. 

Plan your meals for the week to avoid buying more than you need. Try cooking a few meals with your housemates or batch cooking meals; your food will be cheaper and it will cost less to cook. 

Use student discounts – but sparingly

Certain websites online offer student discounts across fashion, tech, health and beauty retailers and restaurants, which can help you save money as a student. But don’t just buy something just because it’s discounted – ask yourself if you really need it and if you can afford it before you buy.

Buy second-hand

You can pick up clothes, furniture and even your course books for discounted prices if you use second hand websites or visit your local charity shops.

Travel wisely

Get a 16–25 railcard and buy split tickets when you travel on the train. The 16–25 railcard costs £30 and can save you an average of up to £159 a year. Use a split ticketing website to buy your tickets and you could save up to 90% on train fares.

Try a no spend day’ each week

A simple way to save a bit of money each week is to incorporate a no spend day’. Try not to spend any money for the whole day: take a packed lunch when you go out, walk or cycle to your destinations and do free activities for fun such as visiting a museum or going for a walk.

Earn extra income through a part-time job

If you’re still struggling to make ends meet, a part time job could help you supplement your income and balance your budget. Make sure any job you apply for works around your course. You will also need to check whether working part-time will affect your eligibility for student finance. 

If you’re already in debt, find CAP Debt Help local to you

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