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Being a student is never easy, particularly when it comes to managing money. While every penny counts and has to last as long as possible there are plenty of ways in which money can be stretched, both around the home and elsewhere.
Savings in the home
Sharing a house with fellow students is a good way to save money, because it means bills can be split. One broadband connection is often sufficient and with a wireless router everyone in the house can connect to it. A landline telephone is not often required, as most people have mobile telephones with contracts that offer free minutes and texts. If a landline is required there are plenty of phone packages featuring free calls in the evening and at weekends, so there is little danger of running up a large bill.
Clubbing together to purchase daily essentials can also help save a little money. Large packs of items, such as pasta and rice can be much more cost effective. If the house has a freezer make the most of special offers on items like bread, as they will keep for a considerable length of time when frozen.
Students sharing a house must be jointly responsible for maintaining the cleanliness of the building and furnishings; otherwise there could be a large cleaning bill at the end of the year when moving out. Furniture, such as leather corner sofas, is easy to clean and will not take much looking after. Establish a rota for carrying out household chores; for example cleaning the common areas, such as kitchens and bathrooms. This will help avoid the possibility of being charged for professional cleaning at the end of the tenancy agreement.
Students like to travel home regularly and those who do not have a car, which can be a huge expense for a student, can make the most of the railway network. Student rail cards often pay for themselves after just one or two journeys, as the discounts are usually quite high. Planning journeys weeks in advance will also save a great deal of money, particularly booking tickets online.
Books for university can often be purchased online and second-hand at much lower prices than new. Charity shops, located near universities, are often a good place to start, as some students donate old books at the end of the year; it is also a good idea to ask within the academic department. Lecturers and fellow students may know of someone who is keen to offload last year’s books for a few pounds.
Use student status to save
The NUS card is a must; it offers a whole range of savings in a variety of high street and online stores. Not using the card makes no sense, as even small discounts here and there add up to large savings over the course of the academic year.
Careful planning will help to prevent precious pounds from slipping away and will help students get to the end of the year without putting too much of a strain on their limited funds.