Posts Tagged ‘money saving tips’
It’s National Student Money Week this week so we thought we’d compile some handy tips for students to follow in order to save them some money. Student loans often don’t stretch very far and working anywhere near full time is often impossible. That said; there are plenty of things students can do to make sure what money they do have coming in goes the distance.
1. Be smart when buying textbooks
Academic texts are very rarely cheap and depending on what course you are doing you could be facing a bill of hundreds of pounds (engineering based textbooks tend to be excruciatingly expensive for instance). You may also be required to get them all at once. Have a good look around for anyone selling books second hand, students who have recently completed the course you are studying may wish to get rid of the books you now need for instance.
Make sure you check the relevant noticeboards/online resources and see if you can pick up a bargain. Of course, it’s also worth looking at online book-sellers, as they will invariably be cheaper than the high street.
2. Get yourself a travel card
Should you wish to succeed at university you’re probably going to have to attend at least some lectures or tutorials. If you’re lucky enough to live across the road from the lecture theatre then of course you’ll be walking. But if not, it may be time to get a travel card. Whether it’s a bus pass, oyster card or whatever else, it’s more than likely that investing in a travel card could save yourself a substantial amount of money – do your sums and you’ll find that this may very well be the case. You could even use the money you save to make sure you have the shiniest most up to date edition of the aforementioned textbooks.
3. Be smart with your meals
This one applies to life in general but especially so when cash is tight. If you plan your meals effectively and buy a weekly shop, you can, generally speaking, save money. You could also speak to your flat-mates and see when they’ll be around so you can arrange to eat together and split the cost. You’ll find it’s much less expensive than forking out on a daily basis. You can also divide up cooking and cleaning duties. All very democratic.
4. Make use of your student card
Student cards are a fantastic resource and you will be able to get some great discounts on a wide variety of stuff. Whether it’s free entry to the club on a Friday night or 40% off a pair of jeans, it’s still money off. So you’d be daft not to use it. Just think of the books. Always make sure you ask for a discount even if it isn’t advertised. Many shops do offer a student discount and just don’t tell anybody about it. Also, sign up to any student money saving websites you can. Every little helps.
5. Get a part time job
Depending on the intensity of your course this one might not always be possible but any extra money coming in will be a help. Try and strike a balance between work and study (including some time off both of course, for your sanity) and you might even find you can save some money. If you do find yourself with any extra cash, sticking it away somewhere that you don’t have easy access to it is not a bad idea. It’s important to get into the habit of saving money and the earlier you can start, the better.
If you have any tips of your own we’d love to hear them. Tweet to @scotfriendly and let us know.
No advice has been provided by Scottish Friendly. If you are in any doubt as to whether a savings or investment plan is suitable for you, you should contact a financial adviser for advice. If you do not have a financial adviser, you can get details of local financial advisers by visiting www.unbiased.co.uk. Advisers may charge for providing such advice and should confirm any cost beforehand.
I’ve had a few hare-brained money saving schemes in my time and here’s the latest.
‘What is it?’, I hear you ask. Please bear with me and I’ll explain.
For me, New Year’s resolutions have always been troublesome. In fact so troublesome that I don’t even bother to attempt them. It probably has something to do with the fact that the very stroke of midnight on New Year’s Day is invariably spent swigging an alcoholic beverage while simultaneously attempting to scoff what’s left of the Pringles.
So for me, February is the new January. You heard it here first. With the excesses of the festive season now a fast-fading memory, it makes it that bit easier to make a fresh start. February is also the shortest month of the year which should make enduring any not-so-new-year resolutions less taxing (can I say tax-free?) – and I’m all for that. And when you take into account that most people are still on full holiday mode at least until the 2nd or 3rd of January – February seems like a safer bet.
Now to the crux of the matter.
The master-plan is: Get through February spending as little actual cash as possible.
I will attempt to restrict myself solely to debit card purchases.
The benefits of this, hopefully, would be as follows:
- Won’t be able to buy any snacks on the way into work in the morning.
- Less likely to make other unnecessary purchases of under £5 (due to many retailers not accepting debit cards for smaller transactions).
- I won’t have any loose change rattling around in my pocket just waiting to be squandered.
- Just generally not having cash in my wallet means I may be less likely to impulse buy.
I will surely have to visit the hole-in-the-wall at some point, for example occasional nights out, office whip-rounds, school breakfast club money etc, but I plan to piggy-bank the change from any cash machine visits at the end of the day and tally this on 28th February.
I’ve heard quite a bit about people trying to restrict themselves solely to cash such as in this article, but the thought of being stranded somewhere with only a few pounds in my pocket and zero access to money is not very appealing.
How to measure
The best way I can figure out of measuring this is to compare total cash machine expenditure and total debit card expenditure for January. Then do the same at the end of February. The idea is that the cash machine total should be way down. The debit card total will obviously be up, but hopefully not so much that it obliterates any savings made on the cash machine totals. I can also factor in any piggy bank savings from the previously said cash machine transactions.
So there you have it. That’s the idea. I will report back in one month’s time with my findings.
Scottish Friendly has provided no advice in relation to any investment plans. If you are in any doubt as to whether a plan is suitable for you, you should contact a financial advisor for advice.
If you do not have a financial adviser, you can get details of local financial advisers by visiting www.unbiased.co.uk. Advisers may charge for providing such advice and should confirm any cost beforehand. Scottish Friendly is not responsible for the accuracy of the information displayed on externally linked third party websites.
With the new year well and truly under way and the excesses of the festive season rapidly becoming a distant memory, now is the perfect time to think about getting your finances in order. In this article, we look at a few ideas to take control of your spending. Start now and by the time the new financial year comes around in April, hopefully you should be well on the way to fitter finances.
Budget, budget, budget
We can’t say it enough: a budget is the key to financial planning. A good one will answer important questions like: Do I spend more than I earn? Can I afford a holiday? Why am I in overdraft every month?
Budgeting doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be as simple as writing down your income then subtracting everything you spend in the month. However, this type of budget only looks at an average month, so you may miss big costs like Christmas, holidays or getting your car repaired, as well as little expenses like that coffee you buy on the way to work.
If you’d like a more accurate overview of your finances, online budget planners like Budget Brain from Money Saving Expert can help. These guide you through a series of categories, such as “groceries”, “clothing” and “going out”, and some capture your expenditure over a few months.
Before you start your budget, gather all your bank and credit card statements, and your receipts for things like food shopping. Then take a deep breath, make yourself a cuppa and get started.
Once you’ve entered the information, the budget planner will reveal the truth: either you spend more than you earn or you earn more than you spend. Either way, you’ll know the facts and be able to take action.
The all-important question: Can I afford it?
Now you know exactly what you’re spending, you can start to work out what you need to do to be able to live within your means.
If you’re earning more than you spend, you’re in a good place. But if you’re spending more than you earn, you need to get back on track to avoid getting deeper into debt.
It may be time to change the way you think about money. Let’s take your family holiday, for example. Rather than thinking, ‘Where would I like to go this year?’, the first question should be ‘What can I afford to spend on our holiday?’. Start your planning from there. This way, your lifestyle is being driven by your finances and not the other way around.
Shop around for the best deals
You can make big savings by shopping around for utilities such as electricity, gas, broadband and phone bills. Sites like MoneySupermarket.com, comparethemarket.com and uSwitch compare a wide range of products and services.
And don’t stop there: Look at your credit cards, mortgage deal and insurance. What about your mobile phone — are you paying over the odds? Does your bank account have a monthly fee and are the benefits worth it? Could you save by consolidating debt? Do you really need the full satellite TV package or would Freeview do?
If you have children up to the age of 15, Childcare Vouchers could make you substantial savings. Many employers take part in the scheme, so it’s worth asking if yours is one of them.
Easy savings, every day
You’ll be amazed at how the little expenses add up. That coffee you buy on the way to work costs you, say, £2.30 a day — that’s £11.50 a week, or a staggering £598 a year. Could that money go towards a holiday? Help with college fees? Pay off your credit card? If the answer is ‘Yes’, do yourself a favour and buy a flask! Repeat for expenses like sandwiches, parking and magazines and save a small fortune.
Set your goals
Now you’re on a roll, take things one step further and set some financial goals. Whether you want to pay off debt, upgrade the car or save for the future, work out how much you need to put aside each month to reach your target.
With a clear picture of your income and expenditure, it’s easy to see how best to use your money. Which means you’re well on your way to a brighter financial year.
Scottish Friendly has provided no advice in relation to any investment plans. If you are in any doubt as to whether a plan is suitable for you, you should contact a financial advisor for advice. If you do not have a financial adviser, you can get details of local financial advisers by visiting www.unbiased.co.uk. Advisers may charge for providing such advice and should confirm any cost beforehand. Scottish Friendly is not responsible for the accuracy of the information displayed on externally linked third party websites.
Discovering you’re expecting a baby and becoming a parent are epic events in your life. With it comes significant changes in the way you do things, your finances, and how much time you have to spend on your admin.
With good planning and clear understanding, looking after your financial health as a parent is something which doesn’t have to be taxing, and taking charge can bring benefits both immediately and in the future. Not just to keep your bankroll and clothes in good shape!
The financial aspect of starting a family can seem daunting for anyone, so last year Scottish Friendly teamed up the leading pregnancy website Emma’s diary to develop a clear blueprint to organising you finances ahead of your baby. You can read about the information provided by visiting: http://www.emmasdiary.co.uk/family-finance-scottish-friendly/index.aspx
Together we have worked hard to provide information on making the most of your money as a new parent, so you can focus on the most valuable thing of all. Your baby.
After a social media discussion, in which we asked real parents to submit their parental finance tips, we are happy to share the following practical advice from our colleagues, family and friends. There are some really straightforward ways you can start budgeting today. Some of these tips will become a habit and can save you money in the long run.
- Negotiate! – We all like a bargain. In light of the credit crunch, haggling is a skill that more and more people are becoming reacquainted with. Don’t be afraid of negotiating your way to a better deal.
- Make soup – Not only is this a good way to beat the winter chill, it’s also very economical. So get creative. Take a look at what’s left in your fridge and turn it into a hearty and healthy pot of soup.
- Pick up some baby items second hand – The cost of buying items like a baby swing, play mat, baby bath and building bricks can soon mount up. There are many items that your baby will have grown out in the blink of an eye! Many of these items purchased second hand look as good as new. Just ask friends and family and you’ll soon find there is baby kit in just about every loft and shed that you can borrow. You should also have a look at Gumtree (free), Amazon (small fees) & eBay (small fees), or head along to your local car boot sale for bargains. Savvy Mums up and down the country are doing exactly the same thing from the baby right throough to the toddler years!
- Think about saving and investing – It’s never too early to start shopping around for how to build savings and investments for your child’s future. Sites like moneysaving expert offer research on which products may suit your needs. By starting early, you have the option to put a little away over a longer period of time. Your regular savings could help towards the cost of a wedding, first car, home or even university fees.
- Card or cash? – When you use your card to spend, you can view your bank statement monthly and take a look at where your money is going. Do you really need that Café Latte? It can soon add up. Another idea is to set yourself a monthly budget and lift the money each week that’s at your disposal. It makes you think twice when handing over the cash in your wallet or purse for a random purchase. Especially if you want to save your cash to treat yourself to putting your feet up and enjoying a takeaway at the weekend!
- Stock up on great offers – Keep an eye out for fantastic price cuts on nappies and wipes and promotional offers on things like car seats that supermarkets regularly run. Stock pile when you can on two for one deals for example, as it can save you money if it’s something you regularly use.
- Dig out your membership or join the library – In the UK libraries are free and you can save spending money on new books. If you’re lucky enough to have a Kindle you can also find lots of free books to download on websites such as Amazon.
- Take a look at voucher, cash back, and offer sites - Here are some leading ones to get you started:
Greasy Palm - Get moneyback on your purchases
MoneySavingExpert - Site dedicated to finding the best deals
Quidco - Cashback deals and voucher offers
Groupon - Local vouchers and discounts for lifestyle services
Square Meal - Great discounts on a rare meal out
- Register for a loyalty card - for example Boots, Tesco Club Card, and Sainsbury’s Nectar schemes offer point’s every time you shop with them. Save your points for Christmas or redeem them at a future shopping trip.
- Make good use of affiliate programmes – Many companies offer their customers tickets and discounted leisure experiences. Make sure you find out which offers are available to you and take advantage of them. O2 and Orange are great examples of companies offering these things.