Budgeting – what I wish I knew as a first year student

The independence of being a student living away from home can be quite a shock. There are lots of factors…

The independence of being a student living away from home can be quite a shock. There are lots of factors to be mindful of, especially the financial side. No matter how big the student loan, every student needs to budget, whether it’s for food, a night out or to save for the future. Here are my tips from first-hand experience.

Food shopping… where to begin

There are so many ways to save money when it comes to food shopping. A first tip would be to shop from Lidl or Aldi. Both are cheap as chips for students, and have a loyalty scheme that offer great discounts! Another would be to organise a flat/group shop online to be delivered. We did this numerous times whilst I lived at St Marks. Five or six of us would contribute to the shopping basket and then split the delivery fee. Then the delivery guy would bring the order on a trolley right into the building lobby and we’d go down to collect it. Similarly organise communal items and monthly payments. You probably don’t need 8-12 bottles of ketchup and mayonnaise, nor bottles of washing up liquid.

Too Good To Go will be your best friend

If you haven’t by now heard of the app ‘TooGoodToGo’, you’ve been living under a rock. It’s saved myself and friends so much money over the years. In short, it’s an app that allows companies to put food that would go to waste up for sale for an extremely little amount. We would often get the Morrisons one for just £3.09, which contained anything from fruit and vegetables, to bakery products, fresh cream cakes and sometimes even ready meals! They also have numerous cafes and restaurants local to Lincoln. My friends would frequently get the Starbucks one for left over cakes and paninis. I would countlessly get the Toby Carvery one for just £3.29 and receive a pile of different meat, vegetables, trimmings, yorkshire puddings and a pot of gravy. For £2.29, you can get the vegetarian carvery which provides the same but without the meat. It’s a life saver for food wastage!

Takeaways, the freedom of living away from home

There’s no doubt that living away from home brings the excitement of being able to eat whatever you want. Takeaways galore is what came to mind when I moved to Lincoln! No one is saying not to order them, by all means have as many takeaways as you want – but consider the costs that come alongside. Delivery fee, service charge, bag charges, and not to mention sometimes companies will put the prices up a little for online orders. Check out for deals that may be on offer – JustEat do Cheeky Tuesdays where some restaurants will offer 20% off, UberEats often send out codes for £5 off, or 20% off if you spend over £15. If you can collect food as well, that will also save a hell of a fortune (sometimes upwards of £5).

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