Grantham College's Top Tips for living on a student budget
Whether you’re in Further Education or thinking about Higher Education, budgeting is essential when it comes to student living.
Here at Grantham College we are on hand to help you create, live and stick to your own student budget with these top 8 tips:
1. Save on shopping
The NUS card you can sign up for whilst you’re a student is going to be key to keeping on track with your budget. With over 200 discounts off your favourite clothing brands, stores and food and drink, the NUS card is definitely worth purchasing. At £12 for a one year card and a handy little app to keep track of how much you can save – this card is essential for living on a student budget.
2. Get creative with food
We’re all guilty of it, packed lunch can be boring and the shops lunch only costs around £3 a day. But those £s can add up so why not get a little more creative with your food. Weekly food prep will give you the opportunity to have a tasty lunch each day, without breaking the budget. Check out these great food prep recipes here: http://theeverygirl.com/20-lunches-you-can-meal-prep-on-sunday/.
3. Take on the £1 saving challenge
Saving money is difficult, especially a big chunk at a time. But if there is something you really want and can’t afford it straight away, or are thinking ahead to Christmas when you’ll be in the shops constantly then this savings idea is perfect. Day one: save £1, Day 2: Save £2 and so on. By the end of the month you’ll have saved close to £500.
4. Take the trains
Want to explore, then take the trains as this is the best mode of transport (except car rides with your parents) that will help you to save that little bit of money. The 16-25 railcard is likely to save you 1/3 of your rail travels – so if you’re planning a trip to London or going to a concert in Nottingham – be sure to get your railcard and start saving straightaway.
5. Join a sports club
Whether it be a community sports club or a club within college; this will provide both a chance to get fit and to save money. Don’t pay those hefty gym fees, instead join a local club that you’re interested in, where you’ll get exercise and even make some friends. See some of the clubs we offer here at Grantham College that run throughout the year: https://www.grantham.ac.uk/student-life/sport-enrichment/sport-enrichment/.
6. Create your own entertainment
We all love going out to the cinema, grabbing some popcorn and some Pick ‘n’ Mix but this isn’t the most budget friendly activity. So instead create your own, gather at a family members or friends house, grab some DVDs or pop on Netflix and pick up some sweet treats from the local supermarket to create a student budget friendly ‘cinema’ trip.
7. Keep a budget diary
Yes, this seems super boring however it will be extremely helpful. Sticking to a budget when it’s in your head is especially hard so writing it down, alongside how much you’ve purchased throughout the month is going to make it just a little bit easier to stick to it. Or if you’re not a fan of pen and paper, there’s some handy little budgeting apps out there such as Money Dashboard that will help to keep you on track.
8. Take the ‘Come Dine with Me’ approach
We all love eating out, especially when it means we get to spend time with our friends. However eating out can be extremely expensive if you do it several times a month. So if you enjoy eating out and your friends do as well; set up a group of you to participate in your own personal ‘Come Dine with me’ – you’ll get a new setting everyday/week (depending on how often you do it), a three course dinner cooked by your friends and you can even score everyone’s meal to add a little bit of competition in.
Living with a student budget is not easy, but it’s definitely do-able and you don’t have to give up everything either. Following even a few of these little tips is guaranteed to save you a few pennies and make it easier to stick to your budget!