Tips on saving money whilst at uni
For some reason I love saving money and whatever I buy will generally be on sale. I don’t know whether it’s a trait which automatically comes with studying Economics, or that my parents have always been content with buying very little. Below are some tips I’ve gained since becoming a student and having to fully fend for myself:
Give yourself a budget for the week/ have a day spending nothing
I completely agree with the saying: “the best things in life are free”. When I want to do something, I generally do something that’s free. I love the outdoors so will go on a walk around Leamington, on a bike ride, or go to a friend’s house, so I normally don’t spend much money on a weekend. Sticking to a budget is also a great way to save as if I didn’t have one, I wouldn’t realise how quickly money gets spent and how it really adds up spending just a quid here and there.
Get 2 for 1 cinema tickets from £1.17 a year
Meerkat Movies gives you 2 for 1 films every Tuesday and Wednesday if you purchase insurance through comparethemarket. This saves about £4-£10 a film (depending on whether the cinema is in Preston or London)! I love going to VUE in Leamington; admittedly I’ve only ever been on a Tuesday or Wednesday but without the 2 for 1 I probably wouldn’t be able to afford it. If you don’t have Meerkat Movies, there’s a slight loophole meaning you can get it for taking out an insurance plan for just £1.17 a year. The terms and conditions states that: “Meerkat Movies is available to those who: purchased car insurance, motorcycle insurance…or travel insurance”. I’ve had a nosey and as shown on the screenshot below, you can get UK cover for one person for a single-trip travel insurance policy for £1.17. The price may vary a little bit but it’s definitely worth getting; even if you visit the cinema once a year:
When you receive money in your account (student loan/ birthday money/ wages etc.), it’s so easy to think that you can spend it all. To avoid this feeling, whenever I get money I will automatically transfer at least 10% into a savings account. I honestly don’t really notice that I have 10% less and the savings really have added up. I feel proud of myself knowing that if I ever need a bit extra in the future, I will have it. Even just automatically saving £10 a month (the price of 2 takeaways) would add up to £120 in a year.
Second hand books
I bought all of my textbooks on eBay (one for micro, macro and metrics). The only compulsory textbook for me is the Carlin and Sosckie Macroeconomics one but I think they’re all useful and I enjoy reading them. You can borrow books from the library but it can be quite difficult around exam time when there are limited copies and so many Economics students. The micro and metrics textbook I have are all older editions but they don’t really seem to change much across the editions. I paid £2.80 and £3.30 respectively for them both and these are books which brand new are worth about £50! I bought them in August 2017 (between my first and second year) which is a great time to look at buying textbooks as no-one else is looking then.In addition, the Economics Society also have a book sale/ swap at the start of the year and a lot of student mentors are happy to sell their books to their mentees.
Once you’re done with books, the Warwick University bookshop in the Arts Centre will buy them back from you (they generally pay about 1/3 of the original value of the book). Last year I sold a textbook on eBay for £35 which I bought for £15 so I actually ended up making money!
Submit meter readings
As we live off-campus in accommodation which doesn’t include utility bills, we organise our own. We use Iresa and we’ve noticed that if we don’t submit our own electric and gas meter readings, they overestimate our usage so we make sure we remember to once a month. This is especially important as we don’t live in Leamington outside of term-time and if we don’t submit our own meter readings, Iresa estimate our bill to be the same every month. Electric and gas rates vary greatly across providers so make sure to shop around and don’t assume that the previous tenants went with the cheapest option.
I find it easier to keep track of expenses when I use cash. If I have a £10 note, it feels like it goes really quickly compared to using a debit card. It’s made me more cautious of what I’m buying and this is especially true on a night out.
Happy saving everyone!
See you all soon 🙂 x