As you all know, it can be really hard sometimes to make sure our finances are handled well. But when that maintenance loan comes through, it’s the greatest feeling ever. Nothing beats those three days in the academic year. However, there is often the risk of spending the loan too quickly on trivial things that all add up in the end. Below are some tips I have picked up on to get the most out of it during our semesters. Whilst I’m sure many of them are ones already familiar, I hope there are some new and helpful tips as well.
- Do your food shopping in the evening or morning. Big supermarkets tend to reduce their foods around specific times however it can vary from store to store. Having said that, Asda usually starts theirs around 7pm whilst Tesco, Aldi and Lidl do it around 8am. Your best bet is to go when the stores open or a few hours before closing. Along with this tip, is the suggestion of buying in bulk. If you can buy a large quantity of reduced food and then freeze it for later use, you’re saving yourself a ton of money!
- VALUE! There is no need to always buy branded products that can cost twice as much as the non-brand. Why not try the value items? They taste just as good, if not better sometimes.
- Cook in bulk. This is one of the easiest ways to save money. When you’ve done your big shop, why not make some meals to get you through the week? Meals that can be easily frozen and defrosted like pasta, noodles, chicken or rice. This way, when you’re at uni, before buying that expensive snack or meal from the refectory, you might just pause. Take that second to think about the variety of meals ready for you in the freezer.
- Use cash over card. I’m not sure about you, but I always find myself spending way more money on my debit card than I would if it was all in cold, hard cash. Having the physical money in your hand may make you feel the loss of your money a lot more than if it’s just a senseless transaction over card. You may even doubt the need for whatever it is you’re purchasing.
- Leave money at home. If you’re going to uni for just one lecture or a short study session, then leave your money at home. This way, you can’t fall into the trap of buying too many snacks from the vending machine that charges you at a criminal price. Instead, you can go home to where there is food that your hard-earned maintenance loan got you.
- Can I get it free? When you need a book for lectures, sometimes you don’t want to spend money on a text that you won’t be using for your assignments. In this case, I recommend trying to get that book for free. Speak to any students you may know from the year above who may still have the text. They just might be willing to lend it to you. Check out the library and not just the university library. It’s always worth going to the town public library to see if they have a copy. This is especially true for English students who may need fiction texts.
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