8 ways to save money as a student

October 8, 2019

Let’s face it: being a student is expensive.

As well as paying an obscene amount in tuition fees, you’ve got to budget for your food, accommodation, transport, books, phone bill, and, ahem, booze.

And whilst we can’t wave a magic wand and stick a million quid in your bank account, the team here at Billing Better thought it would be nice to round up some ways you can save money as a student. 

Read on and let us know if you have any of your own ideas… 


Utilise your student discount card

Brands want loyal customers - and what better way to inspire loyalty than to offer students money off their food, fashion, and technology? 

If you’ve yet to do so, head to your university library to pick up your student card and make sure you have access to ac.uk email address so you can register for services like UNiDAYS, where you’ll find a boatload of discounts.

We don’t have time to run through every discount out there but note that Amazon offers six months’ free Prime and Spotify offers three months’ free and a 50% discount. 

Apple will give you up to 10% off their latest MacBooks, iPads, and Apple Watches via Apple for Education, as well as free Beats headphones, whilst IKEA offers £10 coupons, Microsoft offers cut-price Office software, and McDonald's offers a free Cheeseburger, Mayo Chicken or McFlurry when you buy a meal. 

If you’re not already taking advantage, what are you waiting for!?


Head to the supermarket after dark

The chances are that you’ve heard this one before, but we’ll remind you anyway. 

From 6 pm, supermarkets start cutting prices on items they need to get rid of, like bread, meat, ready meals, sandwiches, and cakes.

Whilst a lot of it’s not necessarily healthy, it’s a great way to stock up on everyday essentials for pennies. 

Jam doughnuts are often reduced to just 10p in the “big four” supermarket chains - great for treating your pals during a study group - whilst loaves of bread are also reduced to less than 20p - and bread can be frozen and defrosted in the toaster, saving you a fortune.


Have a spend-free day once per week

This one’s pretty tough, but it’s worth trying. 

Challenge yourself to have a no-spend day once a week - you can’t buy a meal deal, a bottle of water or go on a night out. 

It might sound impossible, and you may well struggle if you’re always splashing the cash, but you’ll soon build self-restraint and learn to cut back on your spending.

Rather than heading to the student union for lunch every day, for example, you can stock up on bread and ham and make sandwiches at home.


Ask for a discount on your rent

If you’ve been living in the same student accommodation for a long time and you’re a model tenant, speak to your landlord about the possibility of a rent reduction.

Lay it on thick - let them know you’re a hard-working student and you’re tight on money, and promise them that you’re going to be sticking around for the whole three years.

If that doesn’t budge them, offer to pay your rent in advance (twelve months upfront for the price of ten). It sometimes works!


Try the 1p savings challenge

Fancy another challenge?

Try the 1p savings challenge. 

On day one, you’ll stick a penny into a savings account, and on day two, two pennies.

If you keep this up over the year, you’ll be able to pocket a whopping £650 - more than enough to pay for your Christmas presents and a good night out or two. 

Banks like Monzo offer this savings scheme built-in as standard.


Get two for one food and cinema tickets

Orange Wednesdays may be a thing of the past, but Meerkat Movies was quick to replace it.

But did you know that Aleksandr Orlov and pals offer two for one on starters, mains and desserts at restaurants like Frankie & Benny’s and Pizza Hut?

All you need to do is make an eligible purchase with Compare the Market - travel insurance can be picked up from just £2, scoring you a year of two for ones. 

It’s a must-do if you’re a movie buff; you’ll save hundreds!


Scrap the TV license

If you’ve got broadband and spend all of your time on YouTube, Amazon Prime, Netflix and Apple TV+, then you could save money by getting rid of your TV licence.

TV licences cost £154.50 over the year, and although you’ll probably share that with your friends, it’s a nice saving if you don’t need it.

Just remember that you won’t be able to watch iPlayer, access BBC News, listen to BBC content on the radio or watch any live TV - even if it’s not the BBC.


Take advantage of your uni

Finally, be sure to take advantage of your university’s facilities.

If you’re paying more than £9,000 per year for a few hours of lectures a week, then fill your boots to make up for it. 

Your student library, for example, gives you access to all of the books you’d need on your course (though you’ll need to reserve them), and you’ll be able to rent free software through your university’s online library site.

What’s more, you’ll probably be able to bag some food and drink by attending workshops, open days, and societies, and you may as well bring in your phone, power bank, laptop and iPad to charge on campus to save on your energy bills.

If you really want to make the most of your facilities, refill water bottles on campus and use the toilet between lessons. Not only will save on cleaning, but you’ll probably save a small fortune on toilet roll - chances are you didn’t realise how expensive it was until you left home!



Have money-saving tips to add to our list? Tweet @Billing_Better and we’ll feature them!


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