At university, money seems to just vanish. Here are a few simple ways to preserve your pennies without sacrificing your creature comforts.
(1) Buy a Student Railcard: If you’re often on the train, you should consider buying a 16-25 Railcard. A 1-year railcard costs £30 and will knock 30% off the price of your train tickets, meaning you’ll have made your money back in no time. Alternatively, you can buy a 3-year card for £70. Be warned, however. Discovering on the train that your railcard isn’t in your wallet is only fractionally less alarming than suddenly realising you’re missing a foot. Railway staff always ask to see your card, and will make you pay for a full price ticket (and sometimes pay a fine) if you can’t find it. Trust me, the journey from London to Edinburgh can feel very long indeed when you have to camp in the train toilet to avoid the ticket inspector.
(2) Invest in Tupperware: Although weirdly expensive in its own right— £20 for a Space Saver Salad Bowl?! — Tupperware is worth investing in. Cooking for one person is always expensive, so it’s sensible to make big batches of food and save some for later. Whether you want to store a meal, freeze it or reheat it, you’re sure to need a colourful plastic tub specially designed for the job. Nothing can make you feel more gloriously on top of life than whipping out a dish you prepared earlier. It’s like being on Blue Peter but better.
(3) Hunt down the local charity shops: Whether you need furniture, books or clothes, charity shops often have what you’re looking for. You may have to rummage through some strange smelling cardigans and a lot of Jilly Cooper novels, but might just strike gold.
(4) Know your discounts: There are student discounts everywhere if you know where to look. The website UNiDAYS offers discounts on pretty much everything from Urban Outfitters to Apple, and is a good place to commence your bargain hunt. On the website, one student claims that “UNiDAYs is honestly the biggest blessing to my life”, so if you’re looking for spiritual fulfilment this could also be the site for you. NUS cards — recently renamed as TOTUM cards — also unlock some handy discounts, including 10% off at the Co-op. Rein in your excitement.
(5) Don’t live in London: If you’re at a London uni and have read this far, I can only apologise. Regardless of how many Tupperware freezer boxes you own, you’re going to be broke for most of your student life. No amount of vouchers can counterbalance the obscene cost of travelling, living and eating in London. As you slowly sip your £8 glass of wine, and mourn your latest rent payment, try not to think of your northern friends swigging their £3 cocktails — it will only upset you