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Student Blogs: My guide to student budgeting

It’s halfway through the semester and, if you’re like me, money may be starting to get a little bit tight. Between having to budget for food, textbooks, rent, bills and socialising… there’s a lot to try and squeeze out of that student loan. Handling your finances can be stressful, so trying to stay on top of them is really important. A little bit of organisation and some insider hints and tips will hopefully set you on the right track to becoming a pro at student budgeting.

Know what your money is being spent on

This may sound like an obvious one, but knowing where your money is going each week will make it a lot easier to budget effectively. I find that having a visual outline of how much I’m spending helps me understand what some of my major expenses are, and where I can be making cut-backs. Why not make a spreadsheet, or keep everything written down in a notebook? Not only can you keep your spending in line, but it may also help you create a more realistic weekly budget.

Keep an eye out for student deals

One major perk of student living is those all-important discounts. You would actually be surprised at how many shops and food chains offer special deals… it’s just a matter of looking for them. An NUS Card is a great way to access discounts online or in store. You can purchase a one year (£12), two year (£22) or three year card (£32) to get a whole range of deals that your student card alone often won't grant you. These include:

  • 25% off Odeon student tickets

  • Up to 40% off Pizza Express

  • 10% off Misguided

  • Discounted Megabus tickets

UniDays have similar discounts to NUS, but with the added bonus of being completely free to sign up to! All you have to do is register online, receive your discount codes, and start making those savings. If you don’t want to pay for an NUS card, UniDays is a fantastic alternative.

Whilst some stores won’t accept your university student I.D. card for discounts, it is always worth checking. Yes, this will require you to actually ask a member of staff whether you can receive a discount without another, more official card (like an NUS). But if you don’t ask, you don’t get! There is absolutely nothing wrong with querying this, so don’t be afraid to do it.

Other services such as Apple Music and Amazon Prime also offer student options. Streaming service Apple Music offer a three-month free trial for students, and a follow up price of £4.99 a month. That’s a 50% discount on the usual individual package! Amazon Prime have created a six-month free trial of their prime services for students, with 50% off membership after the trial ends. This membership grants you access to free one-day delivery, Prime Video, Prime Music, and other exclusive discounts on student essentials such as electronics, kitchenware and textbooks.

If you’re still finding textbooks to be a little pricey, why not look at second-hand options? Amazon sell used (but still decent) books at significantly reduced prices. Equally, you may find that other students are trying to sell on unwanted books via Facebook groups at a discounted price. If you only need a book for a short period of time, don’t splash out. Always visit the library, or seek out cheaper versions first.

Make savvy savings on your weekly shop