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Nine Unexpected Ways to Save Money as a Student

Nine Unexpected Ways to Save Money as a Student main image

By Laura Kabelka

Let’s face it, if you’re at uni then you’re not the richest person in the world. Instead, many of us struggle to cook meals other than pizza or pasta, as our budgets simply won’t allow it. Of course, this is a cliché and does not apply to all students, but we could all always use some extra ways to save money. Whether you’re forever left counting the pennies at the end of the month, or you simply want to save up a bit: here are some unexpected ways to save money as a student!           

Old but gold: start shopping second-hand  


Yes, we all like the feeling of getting new things, whether it’s a new shirt, bag, bed sheets or books, but some items can be easily purchased for a lower price when buying them second-hand. For example, you can search for books for your university courses online (Facebook groups, Amazon) or even borrow them. Of course, new books smell and look better, but so does your additional money. You can also sell your course books again after your semester.

Same goes for clothes – why don’t you have a look at some trendy vintage shops, where you can acquire unique articles which aren’t already being worn by everyone around you. In addition, you could host an event among your friends where you exchange clothes that you aren’t wearing anymore. Everyone’s tastes are different, so you might make another person very happy with that old pair of jeans you’ve locked up in your closet for years.

Plan your social life in advance        


You may be trying to save money, but don’t let that deter you from attending fun events every now and then. Instead, try to get early bird tickets for concerts rather than waiting for the last possible day to buy them. Also, there are various apps and voucher pages, such as Vouchercloud, where you can get discounts and save some money.          

Save money by eating at home


Of course, it’s extremely tempting to go out for dinner after a long day at university and treat yourself, but it’s much cheaper if you try to cook at home and prepare food for the next few days. Cooking in bulk can be a fantastic time saver - you could even team up with your flatmates to have dinner once a week. This is not only a lot of fun, but saves you great amounts of money in the long-term.

Also, have you ever thought about how much money you are spending on your daily coffee or tea? Try to cut down on consuming outside your house as much as possible, or pack a travel thermos with a cup of tea or coffee made at home. It’s only a habit and it takes about one month to break an old one.           

Swap nightclubs for house parties   


We’re not saying you should stop going out altogether, but instead of going to costly bars all the time, you could invite some friends over to your place for drinks and take turns in being the host. It’s insane how much money you can save this way and going to bars or pubs will be more special if you don’t go there that often. Also, try not to pay for everything by card and take cash with you instead. This way, you won’t lose track of your expenses that easily and don’t have to fear your upcoming credit card statement.   

Your flatmates have to pay their share       


This might sound obvious to some people, but it cannot be taken for granted to have flatmates who actually contribute financially. Have you ever had a stingy flatmate who managed to avoid paying for communal food or toilet paper? If you never speak up for yourself, you end up being the only person responsible for buying these items for everyone. You might think we’re only talking peanuts, but in the long run every little counts. Plus, it’s extremely annoying and will save you a lot of stress if you nip it in the bud early on.

Give up the gym membership          


Have you ever wondered why your gym membership is so cheap? Probably because the system works thanks to people who never actually show up and just keep paying because they tell themselves that one day they might return. If you need to save money, cancel the membership (when’s the last time you went to the gym anyway?) and go for a run outside instead, or get a bike. This might be more fun and you won’t have to pay for it either.        

Don’t forget your parents love you


From time to time, you might be particularly desperate for some extra cash and this is where your charms come in. If you are fortunate to have a good relationship with your parents, chances are high your mom won’t let you down when you tell her you only have ripped jeans in your closet and urgently need a new pair. No need to tell her that you paid extra for the slits. It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.

Show your parents you improved your eloquence during your studies. Maybe invite them over to your place for a weekend and complain subtly but continuously. This year, wish for useful things for Christmas. Professional advice: tell your parents that you forgot a shirt at home when you last visited and they need to send it to you. How could they just send you the piece of clothes and no other symbols of affection, such as chocolate or money? 

Quit smoking


No explanation needed.        

Change your grocery shopping habits


The easiest way to do this is to not go shopping on an empty stomach. This always ends in a disaster and you simply buy everything you see and want. Instead, try to take your time and compare prices and quality. You do not have to buy the cheapest version of everything, but sometimes it really is only the packaging that differs. Also, buying seasonal food will help you save some money and is also better for the environment.            

As can be seen, there are numerous ways to save some money every day. Maybe it requires a little more creativity, time or effort, but it’s in your hands. Worst comes to worst, you could always get a part-time job, which might be a great way of getting to know new people, broaden your horizon and being able to afford tickets for a city trip.

Laura Kabelka works in Communication and Marketing at StudentJob AT.

Lead image: Johan Viirok (Flickr)

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glad I've found this post, Hopefully i can now start saving my cash!

Glad I've found this post. Hopefully, i can now start saving