How to Save Money as a Student | Top Universities

How to Save Money as a Student

By Florence Lee

Updated September 21, 2022 Updated September 21, 2022

As The Beatles once said in one of their best songs Money (That’s What I Want): “The best things in life are free, but your lovin’ don’t pay my bills.”

As a student, one of the most important things to keep in mind is the amount of money you spend during your study years. Spend too much, and you risk accumulating too much debt after graduation; spend too little and you might be left wondering what the point of it all was, if you didn’t even get to have any fun or new experiences.

But fear not: here are some easy and smart tips to save money as a student – without compromising on your quality of life.

1. Buy second-hand goods!

Buying second-hand goods is a great way to save money as as student, because prices are usually much lower than for brand new items. Spend some time at your local Oxfam, Octavia Foundation or other charity shops around your university looking for second-hand goods, and you may be surprised at the treasures you find – high quality clothes, vintage accessories, interesting little ornaments or antique books – all for a bargain price.

Remember, don’t be afraid of walking in to browse the items on the shelves – the staff are usually friendly and the atmosphere’s great. And, since the money’s going to a good cause, you can spend to your heart’s content without that guilty feeling afterwards!

2. Leave food shopping to later in the day 

Many supermarkets have a clearance sale in the evenings, where any food due to go out of date is sold at a marked-down price. Bread, seafood and dairy products go on sale, and many vegetables, fruits and other fresh produce are labelled with a reduced price. These are great bargains for students, since the foods usually won’t actually expire for another few days. Next time you go grocery shopping, try popping into the store a few hours before it closes and check out the prices. There’s a massive difference! 

3. Cook for yourself

Cooking for yourself definitely helps you save money as a student. Eating out is one of the most expensive things you can do, especially if you study in a city where a lot of restaurants are pricy. So guys and girls, channel your inner Jamie Oliver and get cooking from scratch. Not only is cooking for yourself cheaper, but also healthier, better for your body (think of the amount of saturated fat in oily Chinese takeaways) and great fun too!

4. Hide the credit card

Let’s face it, you and I are all guilty at times of spending too much money on items that a) we already have; b) are completely unnecessary or c) are just too plain expensive. And usually, taking a credit or debit card out is the easy way to pay for the bill without facing the reality of the price. Many students are tempted by credit cards to buy now and pay at a later date, but this bad habit may lead to overspending or huge bank debts when the end of the month comes. Refrain from this method of paying – keeping count is much easier when it’s cash!

5. Search for free entertainment    

Many people think having fun means spending lots of money on movies, parties, clubs, theme parks or other local attractions. In fact, there are many types of free entertainment available in any city – it just requires a little extra effort and dedication to find! Consult the internet and maybe start from websites like, where you can search for all kinds of things to do free of charge. Remember many clubs, cinemas and theaters will offer discounts for students – if it’s not clearly advertised, just ask. The university itself will have plenty of cheap entertainments going on, and joining student clubs will often mean you get to benefit from even more discounts.

Final lesson: You can definitely save money as a student while still having a great time at university!

This article was originally published in April 2013 . It was last updated in September 2022

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