Spending money when you’re skint: the student edition (part one)

spending money when you're a student

There’s a lot of money saving advice for students out there and yet somehow it’s so easy to fall into the debt trap. There are student loans, rent, travel, text books and entertainment to buy and these expenses are often compounded by poor judgement and minimum wage jobs.

Don’t despair, though, there’s hope for hapless students if you do your due diligence before spending money. One of the best examples of this is finding accommodation: not by leaping at the first chance to room with a new friend you met in a bar during orientation but by carefully researching the marketplace first. Here are some more money management essentials for students:

Avoid shopping sprees when you’re “in the black”

At the beginning of term when your student loan lands in your account like freshly fallen snow, it’s tempting to put on your skis and go wild, but resist the temptation. It’s very easy to spend too much money on expensive drinks for friends or decorating your new digs but drawing up a budget and sticking to it on daily basis can help you keep control of your expenses. Check out this popular budget planner app if you’re someone who likes to manage your money from your phone!

Plan and save for your biggest expenses

It might sound like a no-brainer but have you ever heard of buyer’s regret? Consider carefully whether you need to buy the latest laptop when your university already has excellent computer labs. Many students arrive at university annually with impractical ideas of how to meet their needs. Instead of packing a guitar, bring your bike and save your travel money. Keep an eye out for student railcards, ride sharing services and any other travel freebies.

Be conservative when eating out

Notice you shouldn’t totally veto eating out, ordering a meal and generally enjoying yourself with your friends because this is one of the best things about being a student! Usually the number one advice for students looking to save money is “learn to cook”, but that overlooks the fact that you might want to spend time socialising with friends. To avoid spending all your cash on burgers and beer, however, consider:

  • Venues that offer student discounts such as free drinks or 10 per cent discounts off your bill (tip: remember to bring your student card!)
  • Avoid ordering alcohol because the mark-up in restaurants is generally steep.
  • Share a larger dish such as nachos, sushi or pizza and split the bill among your friends.
  • Perfect a few quick, easy recipes that you can cook using bulk ingredients and freeze for times in the month when your funds are running low.

Find out where the deals are

If you’re new to the city, it’ll take a bit of time to get your bearings and you might find yourself making a few mistakes and paying for them along the way. Budgeting carefully is a way to help you explore without worrying about accidentally wondering into the most expensive restaurant in town. When it comes to textbooks, make friends with past students, order copies online and scour second-hand bookshops to avoid paying premium prices.

Check out: Saving money when you’re skint: the student edition (part two)

image credits: icedsoul photography .:teymur madjderey

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The Skint Scot 2015