Having money worries when trying to study can cause stress which could affect you personally and academically. Making sure you feel in charge of your financial situation has been shown to contribute positively to your general wellbeing. We have put together some tips for you on how to make your money go further while at university:
Create a budget
If you create a budget and stick to it, your finances will be much more manageable. You can use tools such as a student budget calculator to help plan your budget for the term. There are also many free apps you can download to help you.
Often buying fresh fruits and vegetables at the market is cheaper than buying them in supermarkets or small local shops. Cambridge Market Square, located in the city centre, hosts traders daily from 10am to 4pm. Big supermarkets are usually cheaper than smaller shops. Some supermarkets offer loyalty cards which may give you access to special discounts or vouchers.
Cambridge is bike-friendly. To save money, you can consider buying a second-hand bike online or at a local shop. You can also rent electric bikes or scooters using the Voi app. Some colleges offer or loan students bikes for free or for a small fee. Ask your College if this is something they offer and how to access it.
It’s usually cheaper to travel by bus than the train, although this could take longer. Booking tickets in advance could save you money. If you are aged 16-25, you could save 30% on train journeys by using a railcard. Check www.railcard.co.uk for available options.
Prices vary from shop to shop. Some students shop in charities or take advantage of clothes swapping schemes. Some shops offer student discounts, and this is usually advertised. If it isn’t, it is worth asking the shop assistant as some may offer discounts.
Going out for food or drinks during the week can be cheaper than at the weekend. Many bars and restaurants have deals on meals and drinks during the week. Check available deals in advance to make sure you know what to expect.
You could consider getting a TOTUM card which delivers student discounts across many national and online brands to help you keep costs down on all of your student essentials. There are also lots of great student deals available on the SU Student Discounts page.
Some other resources for students who need advice on how to manage their finances are:
Money Advice Service
National Debt Line
Step Change Debt Charity
Work Out Your Budget - this is a budgeting tool that could help you understand your income and your spending, and where you could cut costs.