University is expensive, and as an international student even more so. Combine that with not being able to earn much money as a student, money is often very tight. If you are struggling with how to save money in university there are a few things you can do. These are my tips on how to save money in uni.
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1. Learn to Say No
My biggest thing for saving money in university is learn to say no. Friends often have different budgets and want to go out and do things that cost money. But going out for dinner or drinks every week can quickly add up. So being able to say no and not always going to do stuff will help you save money.
That doesn’t mean never hang out with your friends but maybe suggest low cost options or if you are going for food have something before hand then just have an appetizer while you are out.
2. Make a Budget
It is so easy to lose track of how much you are spending, especially now that you can just tap your card or phone to pay. Having a budget means that you know how much money you have to spend and just keeps you aware of how much things are costing.
I set aside some money in my budget for fun stuff, so I know that I have money to go towards it and I’m not constantly saying no.
3. Meal Plan
If you are cooking for yourself and needing to budget in groceries then meal planning will help you save so much money. Meal planning doesn’t mean you have to prep you meals each week, just that you have a plan for what you are going to make. This way you’ll have a better idea of what you need to get for groceries so that you don’t over buy. It also helps if you have a plan of what you are going to make so that you don’t have stuff going bad while you decide what to do with it.
I usually plan a week or two worth of meals out before I go shopping. that way I know what to get. I also try to plan my meals so that I can use stuff for multiple meals. That way if I only need a little bit of something for one recipe I can use the rest of it in another.
4. Make the most of student discounts
There are actually so many student discounts out there! I feel that a lot of students don’t make use of them because some of them aren’t for a lot. But a little bit saved here and there adds up. If you are in Canada you should get the SPC card which gets you discounts in lots of different stores. Its usually about 10-15%.
In the UK Unidays gives you various discounts for retails that change but usually range from 10-20% off.
Some other common ones you can get are amazon prime student, and Spotify student (gotta have music for studying). You can also get a student discount on Microsoft office suite but most universities will provide it to you for FREE.
Also don’t be afraid to ask at stores if they have a student discount. And if you are travelling bring your student ID with you because lots of places will have discounts.
5. Do activities that are little or no cost
You don’t wan to miss out on hanging with your friends or having fun just because you are trying to save money. Instead look for low cost things you can do.
Look up free activities in your city, museums and art galleries are often free. My friends and I enjoy going for walks around our city and just exploring. You can also pack some food and find somewhere to have a picnic.
I also suggest just googling free activities in you city. Who know you might actually find something really cool!
6. Make do with what you have and find new uses
I know it’s super tempting to buy new everything and buy every new gadget you see but you can save money by using what you have and finding new uses. Last year I really wanted a step for my laptop but the ones that I liked I just couldn’t afford to spend the money on. Instead I ended up stacking some textbooks to get my screen lifted and it worked just fine. I still haven’t bought a laptop stand.
7. Don’t buy the newest electronics.
Tech companies are really good at making you want the shinny new version of everything but you don’t always need it. You don’t need to upgrade your phone with every new model. I just got a new phone this past Christmas because mine was literally on its last legs with a terrible battery life and starting to be incompatible with my apps.
If you are buying new electronics I suggest buying at the end of summer/beginning of fall when all the back to school sales are on.
8. Make use of buy and sell sites
Sites like eBay, kijiji, Facebook marketplace and gumtree are the first place I check when I need to buy something. You can find all sorts of things on buy and sell sites and for way better prices than buying new. I got both my backpack and my bike off of marketplace. Some friends of mine got an extra fridge for their place on a buy and sell.
I hope you find these tips useful! I know trying to save money during university can be difficult and stressful so I hope this makes it a little bit easier.
If you have any of your own tips let me know down in the comments!!