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15 fool-proof ways to save cash as a fresher

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You’re going to need to watch your pennies now freshers’ week is approaching – if only because there’s an entire term after it (yes, really) that you’re going to have to get through before he second instalment of your loan makes its joyful appearance.

Here we give you some tips on how to do just that. This advice goes for second and third years too. Because honestly, we bet you’re still skint and haven’t fully mastered the art of budgeting, even if you’ve been at university for years.

1. Supermarket lurking. Supermarkets chuck out a whole load of old stock at the end of the day, even though 90% of the time it’s perfectly edible. Those are just the rules, and if you want to save money (and get Karma points for also reducing food waste) you should use them to your advantage. A very good way to do this is to buy all the discounted bread five minutes before the supermarket closes and then freeze it. Truth.

2. Don’t go clothes shopping unless you start to feel like you’re wearing rags. Honestly, you don’t need to acquire half of Topshop this Wednesday lunchtime. You really don’t. You’ve got to eat, pay rent and make it to your lectures without scrabbling for loose pennies in the bottom of your bag on Monday morning. Priorities are a pain, but they’re real.

3. Use price comparison websites to save on your utilities. If you’re in halls your bills are probably included, but if you’re renting a house or flat it’s likely that you don’t need to be spending as much as you are. Taking an hour to compare your utilities on a price comparison website could end up saving you a whole wad of cash every month. You can check bills including gas, electricity, water and internet.

4. 9 month broadband contracts. Speaking of internet, if you’re not going to be in your halls/house over summer look for a broadband contract that only lasts nine months – that way, you won’t be paying for three months of broadband that no one’s using. Virgin Media have a pretty sweet deal on this, and they’ll even reward you with three months of takeaway vouchers when you sign up. Internet + food delivered. Autumn weekends sorted. 

5. Buy a 16-25 railcard. And don’t lose it. It’ll be like gold dust whenever you want to escape your uni city and head for the hills/home for a meal that doesn’t consist of burnt chips and tinned beans. Check out this article so you don’t get caught out when using it, though.

6. Get a job. This is basically a no-brainer. You’re a first year, damn it! However busy you think you are, it’s very unlikely that you actually are. Aside from the obvious financial incentive, being in paid employment will also prove that you’re a multi-tasker and that you’re not relying on the bank of ma and pa for all your living needs. Check out your student union for opportunities if the pickings in your uni town are looking sparse.

7. Take advantage of all the free deals/money-saving offers that you can. There are multiple voucher codes/student deal websites that you can use to make your money stretch further as a fresher. We’d give you some examples, but we’re probably going to wait until next week and write about them separately...

8. Don’t forget to use your student discount whenever you shop. Because to not get 10% off when you stock up on new term wardrobe essentials would just be ridiculous, wouldn’t it?

9. Embrace second hand books. Whilst we don’t advocate relying on library books for three years (we’re scribblers and we don’t like to wait a week for our requested text to reappear on the shelf), we’d recommend you look out for second or third years who are selling their course books from previous terms. They’re lining their own pockets, sure – but so are you. And once you’ve successfully passed first year you can pass on the books yourself. It’s basically a chain of pre-used book love, and you’re part of it.

10. Recoup your TV license money. It’s not very well known, but once you move out of your accommodation in the summer you can claim back part of what you paid for your TV license. More details on that here

11. Investigate bank accounts. See what you can get for free with your student bank account – some offer cash incentives to get students on board, others offer free railcards, some will gift you with an interest-free overdraft. You’re young and they want you. You’re the future. Be aware of it.

12. Get insurance. It’s not a great bit of PR for student life, but with multiple smartphones and laptops likely to be stored in university house-shares, students are easy pickings for burglars. Obviously avoid this by making sure your house/flat is secure every time you leave it, but make sure you have insurance to cover you just in case. Check out various different companies for quotes, as some as tailored towards students and it’s these companies that are likely to offer you the best deals.

13. Eat cheaply. Even if you fancy yourself the next Heston, it’s probably not wise to attempt to cook up many gourmet food creations whilst you’re sharing a single hob with 12 strangers, all of whom have questionable dietary habits. Buy cheap but quality products, follow basic recipes, and wait until you’re home for the holidays before cooking up a storm in the kitchen.

14. Maximise your relationship, not your phone bill. If you’re in a long distance relationship, for the love of God – utilise the internet to catch up with your other half. Especially if they’re in France. It’s a sad day when Vodaphone unexpectedly cuts off your trans-Channel call because your bill has reached the upper limits of what it’s allowed to be. It’s a very sad day. Very sad. Believe us.

15. Be a Cheapo Santa. Christmas is coming this term, whether your bank account likes it or not, and there’s no denying that it’s a wildly expensive time. It’s going to be ok, though – if you’ve got a lot of friends who you’re required to buy presents for, consider a Secret Santa instead. You’ll save an absolute ton of money – probably something that they’re up for too, especially if they’re also students. Also works (hopefully) for siblings.


Virgin Media's Student 9 Month Broadband offer (which also includes three month's worth of Hungry House vouchers) consists of:

- 9 month contracts so you don't get tied down over summer 

- No phone line needed 

- Superfast fibre optic broadband 

- FREE servicing and repairs

+ the options to add on other great services, including the latest TV

Either call  0800 042 0277 or buy online here get this unbeatable deal.

See Ts & Cs here.

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