10 money-saving tips for students
Stationery? Check. Freshers' Week plans? Check. A grasp of sensible spending and how to cut costs? ... Ok, maybe not so much. Keep reading to find out 10 things you can do to stretch your student loan as soon as you move in to your new student home.
If you're about to start your second year at university and you're renting a student house or flat for the first time, you may understandably feel a little daunted by the prospect of handling bills.
As gas and electricity can take up a big chunk of your total spend on bills, we've pulled together our ten top tips to help you cut down on energy costs, stretch your budget, and free up some cash to spend on much more interesting things.
1. Stop leaving appliances on standby
You'll probably be bringing lots of tech to your new home, such as a laptop and TV. Any housemates will likely do the same - so that's a lot of tech under one roof! While these devices need power, they don't need to be permanently switched on at the plug when you're not using them or if they're already fully charged.
According to The Energy Saving Trust, you could save up to £30 a year just by turning appliances off at the plug. And savings could be even bigger in large student households with more gadgets.
2. Get a smart meter to encourage better energy habits
Smart meters come with an in-home display which shows how much energy is being used in near real time. You can see what you're spending in pounds and pence, which may encourage everyone you live with to make small, sensible changes to how they use energy.
These small steps could save customers over £50, or £100+ in households with medium to high energy consumption, according to Delta Energy Environment Trust.
For those wondering whether you can get a smart meter if you're renting: you can. Take a look at our full article on mythbusting smart meter problems for more info.
3. Wash clothes at a lower temperature
If you wash your clothes at high temperatures, you risk shrinking them as well as facing more expensive bills.
A 20°C wash will often be good enough for your clothes, and will reduce running costs by up to 66% compared with a 40°C wash, according to consumer group Which?. If 20°C doesn't work for you, try a 30°C cycle before going back to 40°C - Which? says this could still cut running costs by about 46%.
4. Dry clothes naturally
If there's a tumble dryer in your new student home, try to resist the urge to chuck your laundry in there straight from the washing machine.
If you want to reduce costs and your carbon output from your laundry routine, hang it dry wherever there's space.
5. Don't have the heating on all the time
You won't want to shiver your way through the winter months, but neither will you want to pay to keep the house warm when everyone's in the library or student bar.
Our quick and simple advice? Set a timer on your boiler to only heat the home when people are in.
6. Do a weekly shop
Where possible, try to get in the habit of planning meals for the next week and doing one big shop.
By doing this, you'll probably waste less food — which is good news for both your bank balance and the environment. It should also take away the temptation of a takeaway...
7. Use your student discount
Why pay full price when you can get a discount?
Many shops — on the high street and online — offer student discounts. Your university card will give you lots of local deals, but lots of other cards and memberships, such as TOTUM and UNiDAYS, give you other exclusive discounts. You're not limited to one card or membership either, so take a look around and get all the ones that suit you.
8. Use loyalty schemes
From Boots and Tesco, to the little coffee shop on the walk to uni, many businesses offer loyalty schemes that give you rewards for shopping there.
9. Spend less on course materials
Reading lists can be long and textbooks can be pricey. And while we understand the allure of a brand new book, many of the texts you'll need will be in the library or available online. Failing that, second-hand books will probably be cheaper.
10. Avoid expensive gyms
Many universities have on-site gyms that offer a discounted rate for students, so use this to its advantage.
If you prefer exercising outdoors, this could cut your monthly outgoings even more - and will give you an opportunity to explore more of your local surroundings too.
We've got more tips...
- Impress your housemates with one of our low energy recipes (including Ainsley Harriott's spicy jerk chicken).
- Struggle to get things done on time? Check out these 5 tips to manage your time better.
- Look the part while staying mindful of the environment with these eco-friendly hair styling tips to beat a bad hair day.
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