Saving money as a student

The information provided in this article was accurate at the time of publishing and should be read in the context of the date it was published. Views in this article are those of the author alone and do not necessarily represent the view of Scottish Friendly.

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 Advisers may charge for providing such advice and should confirm any cost beforehand.