Students have always had to be pretty money savvy to make their way through university, and with the recent increase in tuition fees, money is a factoring decision in many young people’s decision to go into further education. Penny pinching is becoming essential, especially on a student budget, and below are just a few tips to help you make the most of your budget and help that maintenance loan go a little further.
While cooking may not be very high on every student’s agenda, it’s definitely a cheaper alternative to take-away and meals out. Setting aside a few hours a week to get a saucepan full of pasta sauce or soup made could be the difference between eating after an evening lecture and going hungry. The crucial thing here is to utilise your freezer. When you do get a take-away, it’s a great way to gather an abundance of plastic storage containers. Wash them out and use them to portion up your own cooking and stick them in the freezer. Then you can rest safe in the knowledge that there’s always food in your freezer, even if the next loan payment seems desperately far away.
No matter if you’re living in halls or renting with a few mates, this an easy way to get the goods you all need whilst keeping spending down. It works out cheaper buying in bulk, the bigger the packet, the cheaper it works out per item (usually). If you all pitch in for a combined weekly/monthly shop, you’ll be much better off than if you’d gone at it alone. Even if it’s just for tea, sugar and toilet rolls, it’s worth pestering your housemates.
Part of a student’s life is all about time management, and giving up a portion of that time to volunteer may not be something you’re willing to do. It’s definitely worth putting aside a few hours here and there, if you can spare them. If you’re dealing with donations, you usually get first pick and if something catches your eyes, there’s usually no problem with you setting it aside and paying for it later. Charity shops may be getting wiser with their prices, but they’re still essential for picking up a bargain. You’ll also get invaluable work experience for that all important CV.
Make the Most of Markets
Supermarkets are all well and good but don’t forget about the traditional market. If you want the best quality and volume for your money, you’re much better off finding your local market to stock up on fruit and veg. You’ll be impressed with your savings and, unlike supermarkets, you’ll soon build up a rapport with the sellers. The same is true of the butcher’s. Finding a quality butcher can make sure you save money and eat well. Any butcher worth his salt will help you with the cheaper cuts and how to cook them.
A Few Simple Things
Make sure you turn off dripping taps and switch lights off when no one’s in the room. Don’t be afraid to use own brands, especially when used with quality ingredients outlined in the Make the Most of Markets section above. Last but not least, use the library.