Let’s face it: 2020 has been a difficult year. The coronavirus pandemic has changed virtually all of our lives, and whether you’re studying at university, decided to take a gap year or you are climbing the career ladder, you’ll know that every penny counts - now more than ever! Below, we’ve rounded up some money-saving New Year's Resolution ideas to help you out.
The average Brit spends more than £450 per year on takeaways, though data suggests that millennials and students spend more on takeaways than anyone else. Rather than heading to the Uber Eats app when you’re feeling peckish, search for a recipe for your favourite dish online and challenge yourself to cook more. Not only is it much healthier, but it’s cheaper, and you will reduce your environmental impact in the process. And if you simply must have a treat, support local restaurants and pizza shops rather than multinational fast-food chains.
2020 has made us value our time outdoors more than ever before, but as businesses and leisure facilities begin to reopen, make a conscious effort to go for walks, runs, cycles, and picnics. You’ll have just as much fun with your pals in the park than you would in a coffee shop or at a theme park, and it’ll cost much less. Take it in turns to bring lunch and you can arrange a weekly get-together with your besties and only pay for ingredients once a month!
We all love to head to the local shopping mall with our friends, but ask yourself whether it’s a good idea. It’s so easy to visit your favourite clothing and cosmetics shops, spending money without even realising it. If you do need to go shopping, take a list with you and consider the old cash trick. Rather than using Apple Pay or your contactless card, withdraw a “budget” as cash before you go shopping. That way, you’ll know exactly how much you’ve actually spent.
Whether you’re buying books to keep you entertained or you need them for your university course, shop buying them new and look for second-hand ones instead. Not only are they much cheaper (and in some cases, free), but it’s much better for the planet. You can search for pre-owned books on Amazon, eBay, and dedicated websites like Music Magpie and Just Books. You can also ask on your university’s library pages and on Facebook Marketplace.
According to one report, Britons waste an eye-watering £4 billion per year in unused gym memberships. If you’re serious about saving money in 2021, cancel your membership and opt for free or cheaper ways to work out, instead. It doesn’t cost a penny to go for a jog around your neighbourhood, and it’s good fun when you buddy up with someone from your course. You can also check out your local authority’s gyms and swimming pools, which are much cheaper than commercial gyms and sometimes free. Your university may also offer free or subsidised gym membership or one-off sessions if you crave professional equipment.
Make more of an effort to use your student discount card in 2021. We’ve rounded up five of the best student discount websites, each offering exclusive deals and discounts. Be sure to shop around and look for voucher codes that stack on top of existing discounts. Oh, and think about ways you can save more by switching from one brand to another. For example, some mobile networks offer student-only offers, and you can carry your number from one SIM to another. These little savings can quickly add up to hundreds or thousands of pounds.
Whether it’s ASOS, Deliveroo, or HotUKDeals, take a look through your phone and delete apps that cause too many temptations for you to spend money. It’s so easy to receive a notification about a special offer and treat yourself to some new clothes or dinner, but that’s exactly what those companies want you to do! Removing apps will make it harder for you to waste money unnecessarily. Instead, download then uninstall after you’ve bought something.
Shockingly, the UK wastes £9.7 billion of food each year, with 65% of us admitting that we buy too much and end up throwing some away. Challenge yourself to become zero-waste in 2021, carefully planning your meals before you go shopping and only buying what you need. If you live in a shared house, decide how many meals you’re going to make together, and use recipes to work out the ingredients you need. With some fore-planning and willpower, you will soon manage to eat everything you buy, with no unnecessary waste at the end of the week. And if you do have any leftovers, consider freezing them to use in another meal.
Do you have any of your own money-saving resolutions for 2021? Let us know and check back soon for more tips and tricks on living frugally as a student, whatever your budget.