How to Save Money as a Student

Illustration by the talented Inslee Haynes 
When I first moved to London for University, I was introduced to the magic of student discount. I will admit, as a spoiled child I never really hunted discounts and bargains when I was young. However, moving to a new (much more expensive) city and having to live on a budget brought me back to reality and showed me just how important saving 10% here and there can be. For anyone who isn’t familiar with London student perks, these are cheaper transport rates and UNiDAYSUNiDAYS is a student haven - clothing, electronics, stationery, you name it, UNiDAYS will probably offer student discount on it. 

Having entered the ‘working professional’ world just over a year ago, today marks a very sad day for me. As per my latest UNiDAYS email, today, four years later, I unfortunately have to say goodbye to my student discount.

However, because my student discount and I have shared some great moments, I thought there would no better way to pay homage to it than share my top tips on saving money as a student for anyone out there still hustling to get through their degree.

1. Make the most of your student discounts 
You might only be a student for three years, but this doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from discounts beyond that. Student emails are usually valid for a few months post-graduation and are the only thing you need to confirm your student status, so make sure you register for any discounts when the new University year starts even after you’ve graduated. Even if your email might deactivate during the year, you will still be registered as a student for discounts. This is how I benefited from student discounts for another year after graduation. 

2. Buy vintage 
I didn’t frequent charity shops in Uni so this is more of a retrospective piece of advice but probably the best one I have to offer. London in particular is great for buying pre-worn clothing that is affordably priced and of good quality. Since I moved to a more residential area that also houses some pretty rich folk, I discovered that my local charity shops are full of fantastic pieces of clothing at really cheap prices. In the last year I have bought an Alexander McQueen scarf, a Chloe and a Givenchy coat at a combined price of 48. However, to find these gems you will have to move outside of Zone 1 and Shoreditch ‘vintage’ shops and reorient yourself towards charity shops. It’s amazing what some people will just give away. Another thing to look out for are 1 charity sales. Shoreditch do loads of them but you have to be prepared to queue for at least 1 hour and, once you’re in, deal with crowds of people looking for a bargain.
3. Sell stuff 
If like me, you have a lot of things (clothes, electronics, books, anything) try selling some of them. I’m a notorious hoarder, especially when it comes to clothing, so I used to give away a bin bag of clothing every year. If you’re on a budget though, tryand sell some of that instead. Universities usually have online groups where you can swap or sell items. Equally, you can always try online platforms like eBay or Amazon to reach a wider pool of people. I only started doing this in the last year and it has paid off. By selling some of my clothes and accessories, I have now bought a new camera lens that has been fantastic on my current trip to California. Finally, if you don’t want to go through the hassle of listing items online, try making some money off your University books. I always tried my best to buy pre-owned books from previous generations low and sell them high to the next generation. This might be a longer-terminvestment but it’s a great way to spend less on Uni books (and exercise your negotiating skills).

4. Work, work, work 
It seems obvious but try and work when you’re in University or during the summers. Whilst some courses might not advise or allow you to do this, if yours isn’t one of those, it’s always great to get a couple of hours of work every week. I used to do sampling for a green tea company, which involved serving green tea to people and get paid 11/hour to do that. It might not seem like much, but it adds up. For me, sampling helped pay for my travels after graduation. You can also choose to do more glamorous jobs, there are loads of options for students, from waitressing to being an extra in shows like Made in Chelsea (I know, who would have thought?). The benefits of working as a student are that you can be flexible with your hours and more frivolous with your earned money. I always felt guilty spending my parents’ money, but didn’t get the same feeling spending my own. 

These might seem like basic tips but they have really helped me save money during Uni and beyond that. Most students will be trying to budget and save money, whether it is for travelling, shopping or just paying student loans after graduation, so whatever your reason for that might be, I hope these tips will help you. If you feel like you need an additional hand too, my UK readers can look up more information HERE and for US readers there's a great resource HERE

        I’m still on my journey for saving money though so I’m curious to hear from you too! What are your tips for saving? Let me know.


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