Money management skills are something that you may have never had to worry about prior to embarking on your student journey and it is not exactly a skill that you’re born with. However, given the current living crisis that has swept through the nation, there has never been a more important time to make every penny count, especially for students!
Understanding your Finances
The first and most crucial step to maintaining control over your finances – is to keep track of your cash flow! This means being aware of all the money coming in and going out of your account. To implement this, create a record of your expenditure, including rent, utility bills, subscriptions, food, and transportation. This will provide you with a clear picture of how much money you’re spending on necessities and how much is left over for other expenses.
I’m sure most individuals wince at the thought of having to check their bank account however, it’s important to regularly check your bank statements and budget to ensure that you are staying on track. You may also consider setting up a budgeting app such as Plum or Monese or creating a spreadsheet to help you monitor your spending. Additionally, it’s wise to prioritize your spending by paying for essentials first (or putting it away in a separate account/pot) and allocating a specific amount for discretionary spending. By staying on top of your expenditure and sticking to a budget, you can avoid overspending and ensure that you have enough money for the things you need (and want!).
Compare Utility Providers
With a clear understanding of your expenses, it’s time to identify areas where you can reduce spending. One great place to start is by comparing utility providers. Do your research on each provider for utilities such as your phone bill, internet, and electricity as they all have different benefits, bonuses, and prices which are worth exploring. Although, it is important to note that in recent times, UK energy bills have reached record levels and many suppliers do not allow you to switch providers. However, it’s still worth checking to see if there are any other options for reducing your energy costs. The majority of households are eligible for the Energy Bills Support Scheme from the UK government. This is a non-repayable discount that is automatically applied to your energy bills – so be sure to check if this has already been applied for extra savings! Find more information about energy bills discount to support households.
Contrary to popular belief, not all supermarkets have similar pricing points. In fact, shopping at the right stores can help you save a significant amount of money. Currently, discount supermarkets like Aldi and Lidl offer some of the lowest prices while still maintaining a high level of quality. These grocery shops often offer their own brand products at a lower cost than name-brand options, which can add up to substantial savings over time.
It’s important to research and compare prices across different stores and consider which ones offer the best value for your money. Bulk buying at wholesalers and buying in-season produce can also help cut down on grocery costs. Don’t be afraid to switch up your shopping habits and try new stores to find the best deals for your budget. Making the switch will allow you to spend this money on things that matter most to you!
The Art of Budgeting
Learning the art of budgeting is a crucial step in managing your finances and maximizing your savings. By setting aside a specific amount of money for different expenses, such as your weekly grocery shop, you become more mindful of your spending and are less likely to overspend. This not only helps you stay within your budget, but it also helps you identify areas, where you can cut back on expenses and save money that you didn’t think, was possible. Effective budgeting requires a lot of willpower and self-discipline, but with practice, it will start to become a natural part of your financial routine. By following a budget, you can also further reduce stress for yourself further down the line and build a brighter financial future.
Avoid Unnecessary Expenditure
Avoiding unnecessary expenses is a crucial aspect of effective budgeting and saving money. One common example of this is opting to cook meals at home rather than relying on takeaways for survival. While takeaways may seem like a convenient option, they can quickly add up and consume a significant portion of your budget. Cooking your meals at home is a life skill that not only saves money but can also be a healthier and more satisfying option. Besides, mastering the art of cooking can be fun and will most definitely impress your friends and family! By being mindful of your spending habits and avoiding unnecessary expenses, you can stretch your budget further and reach your financial goals more quickly. It’s important to remember that small changes in spending habits can add up to big savings in the long run.
Shopping second-hand can not only save you a ton of money, but you can also create a unique and individualised wardrobe for a fraction of the price. There are plenty of options to choose from such as thrift stores where you can bag yourself a vintage bargain to second-hand charity shops found on most high streets which are filled to the brim with quirky discounted garments! It can also be an incredibly fun experience to search for unique pieces. Not only can shopping second-hand save you a lot of money but it is also a great way to contribute towards a more conscious way of living as it is a more planet-friendly option!
Avoid High Street Brands Where Possible
High-Street brands tend to keep up with trends, producing new items on a seasonal basis. In fact, fast fashion has amplified this turnover period, with new items available from online retailers appearing every week. It is hard to keep a hold of your money when you are constantly trying to keep up with the latest trends and trying to replace the clothes that you already have with the next best thing. To avoid excessive expenditure, opt for buying classic/timeless pieces that never go out of style. Additionally, in the long run, it may be better to invest in quality pieces that have a longer lifespan, than their cheaper alternatives to keep your wardrobe fresher for longer!
Undoubtedly, one of the greatest perks of being a student is being entitled to a student discount! Do your research on the student discount cards available and sign up for as many as you like to give you access to hundreds of stores/services with friendlier price points. Here are a few to consider:
– TOTUM (Previously known as NUS).
– 16-25 Railcard
– Student Oyster Card
What’s more, here at The Stay Club, all our guests have access to exclusive discounts with our partners all over London both in-store and online! We believe that all our residents deserve only the best of the best and that is why we have you covered from the best food spots in town to tattoo parlours, beauty, and haircare! Interested in how much you can save with our generous partners? Check out our partnerships page at The Stay Club Partners
In conclusion, being a student does not mean you have to suffer in order to make ends meet. There are plenty of ways to protect your pennies, from adjusting to your shopping habits to creating spreadsheets, you are only a few simple steps away from becoming that money-savvy student!