10 ways to save (and make) money as a student
1. Shop yellow stickers
Anyone food shopping on a budget knows yellow sticker items are your friend! Timing your supermarket trips can make a massive difference to how much you spend on food.
Visit supermarkets in the evening to get the most reduced items and you could find yourself dining for pennies. Follow Instagram bargain hunters like Yellow Sticker Gal to get all the best tips on bargain supermarket finds.
2. Use cashback websites
You may be trying not to spend too much, but for necessary purchases make sure you visit a cashback website first. These sites track your visit to a retailer website and reward you in cash for shopping - and there are some huge sums to be had if you shop around, especially on larger purchases like holidays, utilities or broadband switches.
3. Download food waste apps
Apps like Olio and Too Good To Go are great ways to bag yourself some grub for less (or even free). Olio connects people with surplus food with those who are looking for freebies, so you can browse what’s going spare in your area and collect anything you fancy.
Too Good To Go is similar, except the food is given away by restaurants, supermarkets, pubs, hotels and cafés for at least half of the usual price. This way, you can grab some delicious meals or even “magic bags” full of all kinds of tasty treats that would otherwise go to waste.
You get your hands on free or cheap food and reduce food waste at the same time - win win!
4. Quit the gym
Save money by quitting the gym and you’ll avoid that hefty direct debit eating into your budget every month.
Keep fit on a budget by investing in cheap exercise equipment from Aldi, do YouTube HIIT or yoga videos at home or get your fitness fix by running outside.
If you really can’t live without that gym buzz, check out where you could work out for free, like at uni, work or your apartment complex. It may not be as plush, but the savings will make up for it. Most gyms offer free passes and some offer free classes like outdoor boot camps, so work your way around them all. You could even get a part-time job at your local gym and enjoy perks like free membership.
Or, use a site like Hussle to find cheap day or week passes to gyms near you so you’re not locked into an expensive contract.
5. Get free money
Making money as a student is easier than you might think. In fact, free money is up for grabs in a number of places, if you know where to look.
Switch your bank account or broadband provider to earn free spending money, or choose a bank account that rewards you to stay in credit or pay in a certain sum every month.
Online surveys and market research groups are great ways to earn money for giving up some of your time. You could also test products or try out new websites through sites like User Testing to clock up extra cash.
Mystery shopping is another easy way to make money fast - websites like Serve Legal will even pay you to drink!
6. Ditch the meal deals
Spending as little as £3.50 a day on a meal deal for lunch could cost in excess of £875 a year. It may not seem like a big deal on a daily basis, but it really does add up.
Make your own packed lunch with a sandwich, crisps and fruit for less than £1 a day and you could save yourself more than £600 a year. Invest in a reusable water bottle and fill up at uni or in cafés offering free refills when you’re out and about.
If you have somewhere to heat up food during the day, you could save even more money on uni lunches by batch cooking. A batch of lentil dahl to last you a week can cost as little as 47p per portion (pick up pulses and spices on the world foods aisles for less) saving a massive £750 a year.
Ditching the meal deals never looked so appetising!
7. Make your own cleaning products
Cleaning products are full of harmful chemicals and usually come in single-use plastic, so save money by keeping hold of your current bottle and using it to mix up your own products. It’s cheaper and much better for the environment.
Check out our blog on eco-cleaning products for some inspiration on making your own.
If you throw yourself into your cleaning regime, you could really work up a sweat - so you won’t even need to hunt out that free gym pass after all! Plus, keeping your student flat clean and tidy is a sure-fire way to get your deposit back, which will come in handy for your budget.
8. Clear (and sell) clutter
Rummage through your cupboards or raid your parents’ attic for unwanted stuff you can sell for cash.
Whether it’s old games, gaming consoles, collectable toys, CDs, mobile phone or clothes, chances are you can shift it for a quick buck - not to mention clearing some space in your home.
There’s plenty of websites devoted to helping to sell your stuff online, so scour the web for the best site to make the most money, taking into account postage and seller fees.
And if you really can’t part with it but need the space, check out our student storage in your area - ours even offer added extras like free WiFi, gyms at selected centres and delivery acceptance.
9. Set up a side hustle
Today’s gig economy means many of us have a side hustle making us extra cash outside of our main income.
Think about what skills you could offer for sale, whether it’s design, music, photography, voiceovers, writing, translation, social media, sales or building websites. Set up your own website, create profiles on freelancer sites like Fiverr and People Per Hour and promote yourself via LinkedIn and local networking groups.
Who knows, if it goes well, your side hustle could become your main moneymaker and dream career if you put the work in.
10. Save money on tickets and entertainment
Sign up to Meerkat to get 2 for 1 cinema tickets - you can buy a day’s travel insurance for a few pounds to bag your membership.
When festival season comes around, nab yourself a free festival pass by getting a job working behind a bar, stewarding or running kids’ entertainment areas.
Scour the internet for cheap restaurant vouchers and codes to dine for less, use Tesco Clubcard vouchers for days out and meals or keep an eye out for 2 for 1 theme park ticket offers on packets.
Saving money as a student doesn’t mean sitting at home (with the lights and heating off) feeling glum - you can still have an amazing time on a budget if you’re savvy about it.
Share your other tips on making and saving money as a student on our social media pages!