Looking back to when I was at uni, I realise that there was so much I could have done that would have made my money go further
Smart-Pig.com has put together 20 simple ways that’ll make your money turn into rubber, and stretch that little bit further this term.
Doing your supermarket shopping online is often a better way to buy, and some supermarkets offer free delivery. You’ll be less tempted to buy more than you need so you can stick to your shopping list.
There’s a neat company called Quidco.co.uk which has an app that lets you download vouchers and money-off deals for shops and restaurants that are near to you (it uses your phone’s GPS).
Don’t buy ANY of your fruit and veg from the supermarket – if you’ve got a market stall near you, visit them. They’re much cheaper and should have a wonderful selection of the exotic.
If your wardrobe is bursting full of stuff that you haven’t worn for ages, you should probably join a “swap shop” website like BigWardrobe or FashionSpace. You can sell your clothes, or even swap your items for things you like the look of (at least that way your shelves in your wardrobe can stay up).
Go to the free stuff section of Gumtree.com or Freecycle.org, where you can pick up household items like TVs and fridges. You’ll have to be quick though, as the good stuff vanishes quicker than stains on a Vanish TV ad
0845 and 0870 numbers (in fact any 08 number these days) usually aren’t part of you mobile phone minutes and can cost a lot of money. Use Saynoto0870.com to find the landline number, or download Weq4u.co.uk onto your phone and get them to ring the number at the cheapest rate.
Get free entertainment by going to recordings of TV and radio shows. Apply on the BBC website for free tickets to tour and live events, new music with promotional events, or to be in the audience of your favourite TV show. Another great site is Lost In TV, where you can apply for tickets to other TV network shows.
Passed your exams and flying into the new academic year? Well, if you have books you want to sell try Greenbooks.co.uk which guarantees £3 per book!
If you’re at the bar, always be the third person to buy a round. It’s often the cheapest round, so you look generous for less!
Forget paying for a car. Just rent one when you need it for shopping trips or visits. Zipcar.com will let you hire a car from £5 an hour, and this includes comprehensive insurance and 40 free miles a day (just watch the trolleys in the car parks).
Vouchers and Money-Makers
Eating out with mates needn’t be expensive as long as you’re savvy. Toptable.com regularly offers 50%-off deals if you book a table online with them. For diners in Scotland and other parts of the UK, 5pm.co.uk always has special offers.
Sign up to online newsletters for exclusive offers and bargains such as Studentbeans.com and Moneymagpie.com.
If your bill for your mobile is very high each month, it might be better to go SIM-only or pay as you go. There’s a bewildering array of options out there now, and if you take the time to look around you can often find a cheaper tariff. Try a PAYG phone, or a SIM-only contract which gives you a set monthly deal but allows you to cancel with 30 days’ notice.
If you want a new hairstyle, go to the free consultations that many expensive salons offer. Once you’ve worked out with them what you want, go to a cheaper place and describe it to them instead.
Look out for any money-earning opportunities at college. If there’s a psychology department, offer your services for memory tests and the like – they often pay £10-20 per session. If you bake, make cupcakes and sell them in the student union bar. If you can sew, offer a mending service or make ball gowns for graduation parties.
Eating and Drinking
Replace one of your staple meals with a vegetable-based alternative once or twice a week. For example, try a vegetable lasagne instead of a beef-based one, and for a pasta dish make lentil and red pepper sauce instead of mince. Remember the average adult only needs between 45 and 55.5 grams of protein per day. A 50g beef burger contains 10.2g of protein, whereas an average serving of kidney beans (160g cooked) contains 12.4g!
Make use of leftovers in soups, casseroles and stews. Vegetable leftovers can be thrown in a wok with some soy sauce and chilli sauce for a very easy stir-fry.
Always cook in bulk (it’s cheaper) and freeze what’s left over in individual portions. These can be taken to uni for a tasty lunchtime alternative to expensive sandwiches or used as ‘fast food’ when you come home in the evening.
Eat out for free by being a mystery shopper. All you have to do is have a meal at one of the chosen restaurants then write a little something about your experience online. Be careful which agency you join though, as there are lots of scammers out there.
If you do decide to hit the town, try alternating alcoholic and soft drinks to cut down on your expenses, or better still stay off the booze altogether and go to a cheap ‘fringe’ comedy night.