If you’re a student or student-to-be then you’ll be sick of hearing the same boring financial advice again and again. Well here’s a list of 10 creative ways to save money that probably haven’t crossed your mind. Consider this advice before you move in to your Luton student accommodation.
Collect your cards!
Whatever shops you go to, always get a loyalty card or discount card whenever there is one available. You’ll be surprised how much you can save and how many freebies you can accumulate by doing this. Get your Opto Club Card for free to grab some great local deals in and around Luton from pizzas to taxi rides! Discount cards such as NUS also give you great savings on a load of different purchases including shopping and meals! Keep all these cards together in a safe place so you can collect your points and discounts when you shop.
Disable your card from ALL your devices
You’ve probably heard people tell you not to bring your debit card on a night out and only take the cash you need, right? Well it’s the 21st century and that’s not good enough anymore for the tech-savvy student. Contactless is a thing and if you’re like me, you don’t want to be the genius who spent £50 on Jägerbombs using their smartwatch. Take my advice. Don’t take your card on a night out AND remove it from your smart devices. Just take cash.
Don’t buy in date food
Don’t buy fresh food, you’re a student now and according to Hubbub, best before dates aren’t set in stone, in fact food past this date is usually fine to eat. Shops however still heavily discounts food close to this date, so find out what time your local shop starts putting these products in the reduced section. This is the best time to go and get some great deals. If you have a local bakery, they often throw out their day-old stock in the evenings. If this is the case, don’t let it go to waste! Ask if you can have it for free or extra cheap! There’s now even an app called Karma which allows you to see which cafés and restaurants have leftovers at the end of the day and you can go and collect it for a huge discount! Food you’ve saved money on tastes better anyway.
Dilute milk with water
Remember, water is free and sometimes you run out of things. It happens, and you need to “borrow” from your student house mate. But maybe your flatmate doesn’t particularly like you “borrowing” their supplies, so they monitor the levels of their stock and know if it’s been touched. But that’s okay because they will never know. Let’s say you need some milk for your tea. You’ve run out, but your flatmate has nearly a full bottle. Well, all you need to do is take what you need and replace it with water. They won’t notice a difference in taste OR that the level has changed! If you’re feeling particularly generous, top it up with more than you used so they can come back to MORE milk than they thought they had!
This hack also works with Vodka.
More essentials are free than you realise
Need to get some new cutlery? Maybe pick up some sugar? Well, I’m going to stop you right there because you don’t need to part with your precious money to get these things. Next time you go to a fast-food restaurant, see if they have any plastic cutlery. If they do, then grab as many as you think you’ll need! Plastic lasts a very long time making it bad for the environment, so you can do your bit by re-using your new cutlery as much as you want, and it’s free!
Similarly, restaurants often have fabric napkins on the tables and these make great tea-towels! Next time you’re being treated to a meal (because, let’s face it, you can’t afford it) see how many napkins tea-towels you can fit in your bag.
Other free things you can find in coffee shops, fast-food chains, and receptions to fancy buildings include but are not limited to: Salt, Pepper, Sugar, Sweetener, Tea, Coffee, Sauces, UHT Milk, Paper cups, paper plates, Biscuits, Mints and Dirty looks from staff.
Quit the bad habits
Yeah, you’ve probably heard this one before… Don’t drink, don’t smoke, don’t gamble. These certainly will help you save money while you’re in student accommodation however, these aren’t the only bad habits you might have. Other pricey habits include buying coffee, getting takeaways and buying snacks and even bottled water can all add up.
It’s always best to be prepared and make all these things at home. Invest in a thermal cup for your coffee that you can take with you when you’re out and about or practice your cooking skills to create dishes that rival anything available on JustEat! As painful as it may be, look at your bank statement to see where your money is going so you can make the necessary adjustments accordingly. There are plenty of budgeting and personal finance apps out there such as Loot to help you manage your money.
Luxury charity shopping
Everyone loves a charity shop however the clothes you find in some aren’t exactly “on-trend” and quality can vary drastically. If you want to find some real gems, then the trick is to go to charity shops in the affluent areas. Find out the most expensive area near your student accommodation and head that way to get all the rich people’s second-hand luxury clothes on the cheap. This way you can look better than all your friends despite spending a fraction of the price. Barnardos is the new black.
Discounts are EVERYWHERE
Never ever forget that you are a student and your sense of entitlement is entirely justified when it comes to discounts. Make sure you always ask if there are any student discounts available when you are buying anything because it’s not always clear. Download apps such as UniDays to check what stores have student discounts both in-store and online. There’s also a great browser extension called Honey which scans the web for any available discount codes and automatically applies them at checkout when you’re shopping online.
Yes, back to getting things for free. This time we’re hitting the high street. The trick here is to pretend you’re going to spend a lot of money when in fact you’re spending none. Head over to a department store and browse the expensive perfumes and creams that they have to offer, ask some questions about the products. Then just before you walk away to “think about” if you’re going to buy or not, ask if they have any free samples. And there you go another unnecessary purchase avoided. The best part is the more expensive the product the more willing they are to give you the samples because they want you to buy the whole thing!
Bills included accommodation
When searching for student accommodation, take into consideration that the average student pays £125 per week on rent, £50 per month on utility bills and £20 per month on Wi-fi according to The World University Rankings. On top of that, many students pay for a gym membership which on average costs £50 in the UK, as well as the essential trips to the cinema and nights out!
With prices from as little as £130 a week, Opto Living not only includes all bills but also a FREE gym and cinema! So, you can live without having to worry about all the added costs that come with living independently. Certainly the best option for money-savvy students looking to rent accommodation in Luton.
Luton student accommodation
Opto Living has a range of student accommodation and a selection of rooms to rent. From summer lets to year-long contracts, we will have a room to suit your budget and requirements, click here for more information.
Written by Jayke Izli.