Moving away from home and having to pay for everything all of a sudden can be a bit of a shock to the system. Even if you get student funding or a scholarship, sometimes it can be difficult to budget so that you’re actually able to save up for the future. However, after two years at uni, I’ve discovered a couple of tips and tricks that help you save some cash for when you want to treat yourself or for big future plans. I hope these help you!
Budget for a particular amount of money to spend on your weekly shop, take that cash out with you, and put any change you get into a jar. E.g. I budget £15 for my weekly shop so I literally only take a £10 note and a £5 note with me to go shopping (and my card just in case I go over), I use that cash to pay for my shopping and any change I receive goes straight into a jar when I go home. Some weeks, you’ll only have maybe 10p to put into the jar, others maybe £5. But it all adds up, and when it comes to Christmas or your birthday for example, you have some money there to splash out a bit more on your weekly shop, to make a Christmas dinner for you and your flatmates or treat yourself to your favourite meal on your birthday.
Get Depop or eBay! I am a huge Depop fan. I mean huge. If you, like me, have things sitting around in your room that you know you’ll never wear or use again, selling it is such an easy way to make a little bit of money. I only started using Depop in June and I’ve already made about £40 from it, which I know doesn’t sound like much but it was all stuff that otherwise would have just sat in my room for months to come! Making a little bit of cash like this is so rewarding and you can choose whether to treat yourself with the money you make, or save it for a rainy day.
Get a part time job – if you have the time. This is something I still haven’t managed to do but I am constantly on the lookout for jobs! There are loads out there, just make sure you aren’t signing your life away with 20+ hours a week – you just won’t have time to study with that many hours of work! Try to limit it to around 10 hours. This way, you’ll make a decent amount of money, and not fall behind on uni work. You can always get more hours during less busy periods at uni!
Alternatively, work on university open days or other similar paid events! I love working on the open days as I get to geek out about my course and the uni, all while getting paid, and getting free food! I really do recommend getting involved in the open days as they’re such a rewarding experience to add to your CV, all while giving you a little extra cash in your pocket.
Shop wisely. If it’s not too far to walk, do your weekly food shop in Lidl rather than Tesco, for example. In first semester of first year I basically always shopped in Tesco, and not only Tesco but Tesco Express which usually has slightly higher prices. When I switched to Lidl in second semester, the amount I spent on my weekly shop dramatically dropped. I still grab the odd item in Tesco because of course they sell specific brands that Lidl don’t, but the essentials like bread, milk, cheese, butter, cooked meats etc. are so much cheaper in Lidl!
Walk that little bit further to the Wellgate for your toiletries. The Overgate is great, don’t get me wrong, but if you live in the city centre, adding an extra 5 minutes to your walk and visiting the Wellgate instead might save you a little bit of money! For example, I often find that my toiletries are a lot cheaper in Savers or B&M than at Bodycare, despite Bodycare also being considerably cheaper than places such as Boots or Superdrug. Linked to this, don’t buy your toiletries at Tesco Extra or somewhere similar as they are so much cheaper elsewhere!
When you do need to splash the cash and treat yourself, use student discounts. Because Dundee is such a student-orientated city, most of the shops have student discounts all year round. I recommend downloading UNiDAYS and StudentBeans. These two apps get you various discounts in an innumerable amount of shops, restaurants, gyms, etc. and all you need to do to sign up is give them your university email address and show the app to the cashier every time you want to get a discount. You can also get discount codes to use online if you’re a frequent online shopper! Other than these two apps, sometimes you just have to show your student card to a cashier and they can apply a student discount to your items. Nice and easy!
I hope these tips help you make or save a little bit of money at uni and take some of the financial pressure off your shoulders so you can focus on your studies!