A jar with pennies knocked over

Ways to save money if you’ve already spent too much

It can be really easy to spend too much money as a student, especially with Christmas fast approaching. However, there are some simple things you can do to save money if you’ve already spent more than you should have. Here are my top 6 ways!

1. Be ‘smart’ in the supermarket

Being smart in the supermarket can actually be quite fun. Generally, if you go to shops near to closing time, there will be lots of fresh items reduced. Things like fruit and veg, bread and dairy are always good to look out for. Even some types of meat can sometimes be found in the reduced section of shops, however, bear in mind that this should always be used by the date shown on the packet, or frozen (check the label first) and used as advised on the label. So, get searching for some bargains!

Another thing about shopping smart is knowing what you’re going to buy before you get to the shop. This is all about meal planning and making sure your kitchen space is organised so you can see what you already have. Once you have a plan and an idea of what you already have at home, you can make a list to take to the shop with you. Also, don’t forget that own-brand food and products from the supermarket are just as good in the majority of cases, so there’s no need to splash out on the big brands.

2. Use your student discount privileges

As students, we are extremely lucky to have loads of offers available to us both online and in-store. If you haven’t got them already, download Student Beans and UniDAYS, and have a look through the endless student offers and discounts available. These apps will come in handy when buying Christmas gifts too!

Additionally, when you’re heading to the checkout in a shop in town or at a cafe/restaurant, don’t feel awkward about asking if they offer a student discount. It won’t hurt to ask, and the worst that can happen is they say that they don’t offer one. If they do offer a discount, have your UniDAYS ID available in the app, or have your Student ID card available to show.

3. Don’t be afraid to turn down an offer to go out

Of course, going out with mates can be the highlight of a lot of people’s week, whether it be in the daytime for a coffee or out at night to a club or bar. However, these trips out are costly and you shouldn’t be afraid or feel bad for turning down an offer to go out. Instead, you could invite friends over for a movie night or something similar. Although it won’t be the same vibe as going out, it still gives you the opportunity to socialise and get to know your friends more – just without the cost of going out.

4. Buy uni supplies second-hand

Things like textbooks can be very expensive to buy brand-new. Head over to Facebook marketplace or community pages in your area and have a look round for second-hand textbooks. It’s an easy way to grab yourself a bargain and still get the textbook you want/need. Just consider the fact that these may not be the most up-to-date versions of the textbooks so you should think about that and do your research before buying.

Similarly don’t hesitate to try selling your old textbooks online!

5. Think about how you travel

Lincoln is an excellent city to save money on travel. For the majority of places, there is no need to feel the need to get a taxi or use public transport. 99% of things are within walking distance of campus etc. so get walking! Not only will this save you money, but it will also help save the environment!

If you regularly need to get the train when you’re heading out of Lincoln, don’t forget to buy yourself a railcard – the best one for most students is the 16-25 railcard. Although it will initially cost you £30, the railcard will last you for a whole 12 months, and save you 1/3 off train tickets!

6. Learn to cook at home

A cost that can be easily avoided (as sad as it may be!), is takeaways. Even if you do find a place that seems to be relatively cheap, it does all add up in the end if you order food regularly.

I love to cook and experiment with different flavours, and it does end up being exciting when you can create something really tasty at home. So, get online and start searching for your favourite recipes or genres of food and have a go at cooking them. Although buying the initial ingredients like herbs and spices might seem somewhat expensive at first, in the long run, it will work out much much cheaper than takeaways.

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