I've been actively trying to save money this academic year. I got a bit loan/grant happy in first year and flitted way too much money on pretty dresses and pints. My time at university is ticking away... I cannot believe that I'm over half way through my entire degree. I really don't want to be absolutely skint when I graduate next year, so I'm doing a few little things to keep my bank balance happy, and I've written five tips that will hopefully help you be a bit more thrifty too!
Resist those meal deals
I know what it's like... you've rushed like crazy to make it to your morning lecture and didn't even have time to grab a cereal bar, let alone make an Instagram-able rocket, avocado and halloumi salad for your packed lunch. You stumble out of your lecture... bloody ravenous... and head straight for Union, itching to get your hands on a £3 meal deal... But stop right there! The thought of how much money I must have spent on meal deals over the past few years make me feel slightly nauseous. I used to justify it to myself as it wasn't money I was spending on clothes or makeup, but it's still an unnecessary expense. Get your hands on some cheap Tupperware boxes, and take five minutes in the evening to whip up a packed lunch. My fave thing to make is a quick salad of leaves, avocado, cucumber, cherry tomatoes with a dollop of hummus on top... it takes no time and saves me lots of moneyzz. And it's a lot healthier too, because although I kid myself that a cheese ploughman's butty is healthy 'cuz it's got salad in it, anything shop-bought is always gonna be worse for you that homemade.
Buy a water bottle
Following on from the previous tip... I used buy bottles of water at uni a few times a week, flitting away pounds without even thinking. I popped into Home Sense the other week and found a really nice glass water bottle which I now use everyday. I'm not a big fan of drinking out of plastic reusable bottles, and I find that they get kind of smelly after a while. Although I have to be a bit more careful with my glass one and remember not to just dump my bag on the lecture hall floor, it's much nicer to drink out of :) Buying a proper bottle is better for the environment too!
Try out a weekly bus ticket
I'm lucky - my bus in Manchester is £1! One measly bloody quid! So cheap compared to the £2.40 singles in Birmingham... that's just robbery. But I often hop on the bus up to four times a day... so I've been getting the weekly ticket which is fab value at £7.50. I don't get it every week, as some weeks I go home for a couple of days or I'm just not as busy, but when I am busy, £7.50 for unlimited (I think...) bus travel defo saves me some pounds! Have a look and see what the buses in your area offer... you could end up with lots more money in your pocket.
Avoid browsing online
I enjoy a good ol' Asos browsing session just like the next gal, but I find the more I browse, the more I buy. And to be honest, the constant scrolling through thousands of clothes, shoes and bags, didn't particularly make me happy, it just made me long for more stuff (that I defo don't need), and end up spending money that I should be saving. These days, I try and cut down my browsing to times when I know I actually can treat myself to something without feeling guilty - so when I've done an extra shift, or now for example - 'cuz it's my birthday soon!
Take the Megabus
Although I do enjoy a good train journey, I hardly ever take long ones nowadays because the Megabus is just so cheap in comparison! It may not have the best reputation, but it's honestly not that bad... I've never found the coaches to be dirty or uncomfortable. I went home a lot during the beginning of the academic year, and would have been so skint if I'd got the train each time. A mid-week Megabus ticket from Manchester from Birmingham is often only £4! Four pounds! I mean, how do they even make a profit?! It's fab to know I can afford to get myself home whenever I'm pining for my kitty cats (... and mommy).
I hope you find these pointers helpful, and I'd love to hear your own tips!