1. BudgetOrganising your money is very important. As soon as I receive my student loan, the first thing I do is pay the rent. Then I’ll look at any other payments which need to go out, for example, gym membership. Afterwards, I’ll split the money into however many weeks I will need it for. For me personally I split this money termly (10 weeks usually). At this point I’ll have a clearer idea of how much money I can spend each week. I usually have a few sections depending on the time of year: food shopping, birthdays, supplies, spending money. These can obviously be changed depending on what you need personally. Budgeting makes life a whole lot easier because you can see clearly what you can spend where, meaning less stress.
2. Bulk BuyingAnother key tip is buying items such as pasta, rice, tea, coffee, items which can usually be kept for a long period of time. For example, when buying a small bag of pasta for say £2 for 500g, you may be able to buy a much larger bag for say £4 for 2kg. I try to bulk buy at the start of term so that I don’t have to keep purchasing it repeatedly. I also share with housemates, we all chip in to buy soaps, toilet paper and other items which we all use. This saves money and makes things easier, e.g. £4 pack of 12 toilet paper split between 4 people is £1 every month. In the long run, bulk buying is very useful and it also saves some time instead of going to the shops every 5 minutes.
3. Plan your mealsI will admit this is one of my favourite tips (yes, I realise this is quite sad). Plan your meals for the week. Making a list of what to make for breakfast, lunch and dinner, makes the shopping process much easier once you are in the shop or shopping online. Lists give you a clear idea about what you are buying, decreasing buying unwanted items. Also, don’t forget to take your own shopping bags so you don’t have to waste your 5p’s (and the guilt of wasting plastic)! Batch cooking also saves time and money. I find that food shopping online is also a good option to saving some money because, for one, you can see all the deals and offers the shop has to offer. It also reduces the number of impulse buys, as you are just typing in the items you want and clicking them, unlike being in a shop where your eyes can wander to other isles you don’t particularly need. My top tip here also is to never ever shop when you are hungry, you will want to buy everything!
4. Cheapest Options
There are a few ways in which you could do this next tip. The first way is to stay in one shop and see the cheapest options for say, pizza. If you are wanting pizza, you have the choice of shop’s own, or a branded one. Now obviously, again, personal preference has to be taken into account, but if you able to do so, choose the shop’s own brand which will most likely be cheaper. However, don’t forget to look at the shop’s deals for the day, e.g. 3 for 2 or buy 3 for £4, as there are usually options like this. Another option which I do often (which keeps you fit as well!) is going from one shop to another and comparing the prices. For example, if you want some deodorant, there are plenty of shops you can go to and see which is the cheapest and compare the prices. It’s doubtful that all your time will be taken up in courses/seminars so use your spare time wisely to shop around!