After coughing up for rent and a couple of text books, your cash flow may be on the skimpy side. Don’t panic, writes Save the Student, you’ve got options!
In an ideal world, the money you have coming in – whether from a job, your savings or from Student Finance – would be enough to cover your costs and leave a little extra to have fun with. But if you’re not quite there yet, these 10 tips can help you make the most of the money you’ve got, or even find ways to put more cash in your pockets!
1. Go freelance
You get to make your own wages AND get work experience, plus there are tons of businesses you can run right from your dorm room. For example, you could sell photos or art to stock libraries, teach a language via Skype, tutor in your subject, set up a marketing consultancy, or just run deliveries and pick up parcels for folk. Especially in London, there’s always some way to save money.
Prefer something seasonal? There’s always dog walking, pet sitting, festivals (selling, stewarding or cleaning) or being a film extra. If that’s got your business brain ticking, there are another 40 low-fuss gigs to get you going right here.
2. Be reimbursed
Sadly, there are few legit ways to get paid for sleeping in or stressing about seminars. Those aside, it is possible to be reimbursed for stuff you already have or do.
If you can get yourself around London, you can get others around the city as well and if you’ve got the right angle, you could charge for it! For example, scouting out the best parkour or urban fitness locations, starting your own walking tour or hiring yourself out as a city guide. Top tip: make downloadable audio or print guides and your earnings won’t be tied to your free time.
3. Do Surveys
Surveys are a student staple, but some suck more time than they pay out cash. Prolific claim to be a better deal as they only host studies paying the equivalent of at least a £5 an hour. Don’t forget local studies, especially for easy cash psychology experiments. So spend some time perusing notice boards (and not just in your own department or University, where possible).
4. Never pay more than you need to
It’s as simple as that. Whatever you’re busting your pennies on, see if you can get it for less. Use comparison or review sites for bills or bigger spends to check you’re not getting stung or, at the very least, see what the going rate is. For the little stuff, especially sandwiches and snacks, you could save heaps by making your own.
5. Try Cash back
This might take a bit of click work, but it’s another way to slash the price of things you’re buying anyway, from clothes and gadgets to insurance or bills. So, try TopCashback or Quidco. Collecting supermarket loyalty points religiously can also help claw back some of your outlay.
6. Be travel smart
If you’ve got the 18+ Student Oyster card, you’re already saving 30% on adult-rate Travelcards and some season tickets. You can bump that up to 34% on off-peak fares if you get a 16-25 railcard too. Some student bank accounts also dole out the 16-25 railcard as a freebie, so the extra discount doesn’t have to cost you a bean. Just make sure the account works for you aside from the freebie!
7. Put money aside
Don’t forget the old-fashioned way to save money. Slice a bit off the top every time you get paid or come into cash and stick it in a savings account. Interest rates aren’t that impressive right now, but getting the savings habit early on sets you up for a lifetime of better money management. If nothing else, it’s the easiest way to brew back-up funds for emergencies, holidays or treats.
Related: The Basic Cost of Living in London
Get stuff for free
8. Sign-up to things
Get yourself a second email address (spam management 101) and sign-up for freebies, competitions and trial offers. Facebook, Twitter or print magazines can help you sniff them out. Don’t just keep the goodies to yourself though, re-gift them to save forking out for presents. If you grab first editions or exclusives, you could always hock them and put the cash towards something you really want instead.
9. Try mystery shopping
This is rarely regular work, but getting yourself on a couple of agency lists can mean a few rewards along the way. Some pay a fee for your time and/or reimburse you for purchases (which you may get to keep, too). Try ABa and Roamler or just get Googling!
10. Snack for free
There are plenty of ways to get free food when you know where to look. Keep an eye out for restaurant or event launches, religious festivals in Trafalgar Square (several serve free food) or blag freebies with local cafés in exchange for spreading the love on social media. If you don’t ask, you don’t get!
How do you go about saving money? Let us know in the comments!