There’s no escaping news headlines about the cost of living crisis at the moment. As prices rise, it has become increasingly difficult to save money and many people are worried about paying bills and getting into debt. Balancing the books as a student can be challenging at the best of times. With no sign of any sudden decreases in living costs anytime soon, we’ve put together some helpful hacks to help you make your money stretch further.
Shopping around should be a golden rule for every student. Today, it’s easier than ever to compare prices and deals to make sure you’re getting the best value possible. Whether you’re looking for car insurance, a new broadband deal or a phone contract, or you’re buying new clothes or electrical appliances, it’s beneficial to compare offers and prices. Use search engines and comparison sites to locate the best deals and discounts. You may be surprised at how much you could save by switching to a different insurance provider or buying a pair of trainers from one site rather than another, for example. It takes a few minutes to do a search online and if you get into the habit of comparing prices every time you buy products or services, you could save a fortune.
Go through your bank statements
We live in a world where we can make a payment or buy a product at the touch of a button. With contactless payments, direct debits and websites and apps that store payment details, it’s very easy to lose track of how much you’ve spent and where your money is going. If you’re trying to reduce spending or save more, go through your bank statements. Analyse your transactions and check direct debits.
Many of us take advantage of time-limited offers and trials for memberships and subscriptions and then forget about them. If you’re still paying for something you don’t want or need, cancel the subscription. From cases of wine and streaming services to premium app features and next-day delivery packages, there may be all sorts of non-essentials that you’ve forgotten about or you’d be happy to sacrifice. If you’re not sure how to unsubscribe, search online. You’ll find useful step-by-step guides like this article about unsubscribing from a premium news service https://setapp.com/how-to/unsubscribe-from-apple-news-plus. It’s also a good idea to consider expenses like gym memberships. If you don’t go to the gym frequently enough to justify the fee, cancel and explore other options. You could exercise at home, find a cheaper offer at another gym or pay as you go.
Take advantage of discounts
If you’re a student, there are lots of stores and websites that offer a discount on products, as well as offers at restaurants, bars and entertainment venues, such as bowling alleys and cinemas. Research online to find the best offers for students and remember to take your student card with you so that you can save.
It’s also beneficial to take advantage of other discounts and deals that are not restricted to students. Many businesses offer promotions to upsell specific products or boost sales. Clothing stores may offer a discount code for a day, for example, or restaurants may run a buy-one-get-one-free on main meals during the week. If you have items you want to buy and you’re not in a hurry, or you’re planning a meal out to celebrate a special occasion, it’s worth waiting for a voucher or code to arrive in your inbox. Follow your favourite brands on social media to access sales and deals.
Split costs where possible
Most students live with others. If you share a flat or a house with friends or fellow students from your course, try to split costs where possible. Divide bills, buy in bulk when you’re stocking up on staple food items, toiletries and cleaning products and share the cost of taxis if you’re going out. It’s a great idea to contribute to a central savings pot or a kitty to cover household costs. If you put a little bit into the fund each month, this will help you to spread the cost of bills and other expenses.
Embrace cheap, fun ways to socialise
Going out has become something of a luxury, with many people struggling to afford dining at fancy restaurants, going to clubs or even drinking at the pub from time to time. The cost of a night out can soon spiral, especially if you’ve got to travel, pay for tickets or cover an entrance fee. If you’re looking to save, you don’t have to sacrifice fun. There are lots of affordable ways to socialise, hang out with friends and go on dates that won’t break the bank. Simple swaps like having a movie night at home instead of going to the cinema or throwing a brunch or dinner party instead of going to a restaurant can save you a lot of money. It’s also a brilliant idea to make use of free attractions, events and exhibitions in your local area and to snap up offers on tickets if you’re desperate to go to a concert or festival. Many sites offer lower prices for early bird tickets, for example.
As the weather warms up, you could also explore ideas like picnics and games at the park, days at the beach, garden drinks parties, free outdoor films and festivals and barbeques. If you have a group of friends, you can share hosting duties or ask everyone to bring a bottle or a dish to lower the cost. For more ideas, check out this article https://www.lifehack.org/articles/money/fun-things-with-your-friends-without-spending-much.html.
It has always been difficult to balance the books as a student, but during the cost of living crisis, it’s become an ever tougher challenge. If you’re looking to save and make your money stretch further, take these tips on board. Shop around, compare prices and analyse your bank statements. Cancel subscriptions and memberships you don’t use or want anymore, take advantage of student discounts and promotions and split costs with friends and housemates. Embrace cheap, enjoyable ways to hang out with friends and family members. You don’t have to blow the budget to have fun.