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How to Save Money as a Student

Tips and tricks to make saving money easier.

Money being put into a piggy bank to continue saving
Money Saving Piggy Bank

Saving money is hard for everyone, especially now that we are in a cost-of-living crisis. It is becoming more and more evident that money really doesn't grow on trees. For students especially the thought of saving money can be daunting; I certainly didn't know where to begin when I first moved out. Our parents have never been in our situation before, and their advice is often just as good of a guess as ours would be. Since moving out of home and living by myself I have picked up on some easy things anyone can do that will really help you save your money.

(Disclaimer: everyone has different situations and approaches when it comes to money. These are just some tips that have helped me manage my money and keep track of my budget).

Know your goals

My first piece of advice would be to understand your own money situation and begin to set out personal goals. Everyone has completely different financial situations so it is important to understand that this is a personal activity you can do. The first step is to figure out where your money is coming from, e.g., student loans, parents, bursaries etc. and know when it will arrive in your account. After obtaining that figure and knowing what sort of time frame you are looking at, (probably termly if you are a student), subtract any standing orders you have to pay such as rent, bills, and Wi-Fi. The amount you are left with is what you have available to spend within your time frame. Dividing it into weeks can help break it down even further into manageable chunks and allows you to visualise your money goals and limits. To stay on top of it, I would recommend keeping a record of what you spend weekly and whether this aligns with your budget. If it didn't, don't fret! Just try and get back on track next week.

Top Tip: Don't be checking your bank account every day to see if what you spent aligned to your goals. You will form an unhealthy obsession. As long as you have an idea in your head as to whether you are on track or not is all that matters. Check back at the end of the week.

Be smart

Being smart with money is definitely a tricky skill to learn. It's no secret that spending money is much easier than saving money. Part of being smart is knowing what is important to you and what your essentials are. It goes without saying that these are things like food, toiletries, cleaning products etc. As a student, they are your main priorities whether you shop on a daily or weekly basis. Due to inflation, we have seen an increase in price for almost everything, including our food shops. It is found that around 4 in 10 adults (42%) have spent more than usual food shopping in the past 2 weeks (from February 10th, 2023) when buying what they do normally. With this in mind, swapping to own brand items can reduce the overall cost of your shop and is a good route to take if you are starting to struggle. Rent is also increasing so don't be surprised if you are paying a lot more for the same / very similar flats or houses to previous years. Even if your budget isn't very flexible, unfortunately inflation will still occur. That is why it is important to plan. If you know you have payment or an event coming up where you will be spending more money like Christmas, a birthday, or a planned day out with friends, look at ways to save a bit of money elsewhere. Cutting back on non-essential items in the weeks leading up to the event can save you money. If you have a part time job as a student, these could be times where you request extra shifts or pull some of the money you have earned from your savings if possible. By keeping a weekly record of what you have spent and comparing it with your budget, you will get smarter as time goes on. You will learn what your spending habits are which will allow you to change your plans and budget differently to best suit you.

Top tip: Getting off track is inevitable and is not the end of the world, but how you bounce back is important. Just because you went over budget this week doesn't mean it's okay to next week. It is easy to fall into the habit of overspending but much harder to get out of it the longer you go on. Try to get back on track as soon as you can.

Have fun

The final tip is to not forget to have fun. Don't limit yourself with everything you do. There are plenty of fun things you can do that don't cost a fortune. It is important to remember that you are a student and part of being a student is gaining experiences and memories you can keep forever. If you are sensible and smart with your budgeting, the reward will be greater, and you can enjoy the more exciting things in your life guilt free.

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