So now you’ve got your budget sorted out, it’s time to talk about another way you can save money: good old student discount. A flash of your student card gets you 10% off a lot of things, from pizza to clothes to cinema tickets and days out. It also gets you money off your travel (student railcards, bus tickets) so if you’re commuting, it becomes invaluable. NUS Extra cards cost £12 a year (or £32 for three years), and they might get you discounts where your UCAS or regular student card don’t. Using your student discount isn’t the only way to get bargains, though . . .
Figure out when your local supermarket reduces everything:
Decent produce at half the price? Sounds good to me. I’d lived near Asda for a week or two before I figured out where the reduced aisles were and what time stuff went into them — completely by accident. In my experience, there’s final reductions about 2pm, but I know the big Tesco in Hanley does it sort of around about 5pm or 7pm. Morrisons has big reductions on a Sunday, and Lidl has . . . well, I’m not sure about them. They usually have a couple of sections with last-chance things in them scattered about. If you’ve got a decent freezer, you can stock up on a lot of things cheap that’ll keep you fed at a discount.
Check out ‘Sale’ sections online:
I am pretty notorious for getting birthday and Christmas presents really early, but that’s because I’m always checking out sale sections. Argos have clearances a couple of times a year before new catalogues come out, and even places like Thorntons and Amazon have a warehouse/clearance sale — and we’re all pretty aware of Amazon’s Black Friday sales by now, right? Right. Also? Cut out impulse purchases. I really like DC shoes and I need new ones. I could pop into Hanley and look for some, or I could check on the website/Amazon/Ebay and see how much some reduced shoes are going for. Which was like, £25 for a £50 pair. Hurray!
Don’t buy your textbooks brand new:
You know how much one of my books went for in my first year? £40. Forty freakin’ quid. Textbooks aren’t cheap when they’re new, and I guarantee you can get them for much less if you get them off Ebay or Amazon or similar. Alternatively, you can rent books from the library (campus or local) and then you can read them for free! I know it’s really tempting to want all new books with undamaged sleeves, but in my experience ‘used-good’ or ‘used-like new’ books are exactly that, with only one or two exceptions (which I got refunded, because that’s not what I paid for).
Buy generic brands:
So here’s a thing: oftentimes, you can get stuff that’s as good as named brands for much less money. There’s soup, beans, and sauce out there that’s as nice as Heinz, there’s cleaning stuff that’s as good as Cillit Bang, there’s milk alternatives that are as tasty as Alpro, etc etc. As good as it is getting those named brands reduced, it’s also good getting cheaper alternatives that are the same quality. Sometimes, of course, they might not be for you (Tresemme is the only thing my hair likes, much to my wallet’s dismay), but in my experience there’s plenty of flavorful or reliable generic brands that’ll save you money in the long run.
I’m sure there’s more adept bargain hunters out there who can point you towards even more saving tips, but here’s a few from me. As always, be mindful where you buy things online and be responsible with your wallet/purse when you’re out. Good luck, and happy saving!