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Top 10 tips to save money at university

23rd September 2014

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Starting university can be an expensive investment for most, and we all know that that precious student loan isn’t going to last forever. So, in a bid to help all cash strapped students keep their finances in check,we’ve teamed up with Ricoh to bring you some top money saving tips for uni living.

Take full advantage of student discounts

Congratulations! Now that you’re a student, you are eligible for a ridiculous number of discounts. Shops are clamouring for your attention to offer you the best rates and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t take full advantage of these. An NUS Extra cards cost £12 for the year and open doors to over 150 offers and discounts.

Bag free software

If you’ve already splashed your cash on a laptop, PC or Mac for uni, you can save money on the software by downloading legit free equivalents such as LibreOffice for PC, Mac and Linux for word processing, and The Gimp for image editing and VLC Player and Audacity for music and videos.

Spend less on textbooks

Visit second hand bookshops and even eBay to save on hefty book costs. Check your lecture outlines and see which books you actually need to own and which ones you can get away with borrowing from the library. Look after the books you do buy as you’ll be able to sell them onto other students when they’re no longer needed.

Buy a printer…

…and you’ll be glad you did when your fellow students are panicking about getting into uni on time to print their assignments at the last last minute! Printing on campus is usually very expensive, not to mention the time it takes having to walk or bus it in then jumping in the queue. Thankfully, a decent quality printer needn’t break the bank and is an investment that will pay off in the long term.

The Ricoh GELJET SG2100n is just £60 and still delivers a speedy 29 pages per minute, making it ideal to meet deadlines! Printing at just 7.5 pence per page on ECO mode, you needn’t worry about emptying your wallet using expensive printers in the library. Also, the free Ricoh Smart Device Print&Scan app enables you to quickly and easily print emails from a lecturer or the notes taken on a tablet.

Watch TV for free (legally)

TV licence laws state that you must pay the TV licence fee if you watch or record television as it is broadcast. So if you’re watching on-demand, you don’t need a TV licence. Hook up your laptop to your TV and enjoy free, good quality viewing at no extra charge. If you must get a TV licence, you can get a refund for the summer holidays when you won’t be using it.

Pool resources and cook at home

Cooking from scratch is far cheaper (and healthier) than buying ready meals or endless takeaways. It can also be more fun, especially if you pool your resources and share the cooking with your housemates. You can download free recipes from a number of websites, saving you money on a cookbook, and make a list before you go shopping to avoid mindless wandering up and down the aisles and overbuying.

Budget nights out

Have a few drinks before you leave and try to avoid using your debit/credit card so you can’t overspend on overpriced drinks.

Get a part time job

While studying is the priority, a part time job will help bring in some extra cash and go some way to helping with things like food, bills, books, transport and nights out. Your Student Union will usually help you find a job – if not, babysitting, supermarkets and the university library are usually good places to start.

Use less energy

Turn off the lights when leaving a room, turn down the thermostat when not at home, use energy saving light bulbs, defrost the fridge and don’t leave electrical items on standby.

And finally…make a budget – and stick to it!

It might sound completely obvious but careful budgeting will help you make sure your finances don’t get into a mess. Make a spreadsheet of your income and outgoings and set yourself a spending limit – this will ensure you only spend on what you really need. Take out only what you need from the cash machine and check your statements regularly so you can track your spending.

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