Guest Post from A Girl with a View.

It’s probably common knowledge to think of a student and to think of someone struggling financially. Students aren’t necessarily known for being the most money-savvy of people but your university years are some of the best times to start practising good money habits that will set you up for life. It’s always nice to have money left over at the end of the month to either pop in savings or to treat yourself, and by implementing these tips at university you’ll be well on your way to having a few extra pennies in your bank account!

Piggy Bank

Photo credit: Skitterphoto on Pexels.

Meal Plan

This is something I sometimes fail to do successfully and the appeal of a takeaway or meal out when you can’t be bothered to cook is always tempting. However, meal planning is one of the biggest ways I manage to keep track of my finances and not go overboard when food shopping. If I’ve made a conscious effort to look for recipes and things to cook for the following week and then made a shopping list with only the ingredients I need I am much less likely to overspend and buy excessive amounts of food that I won’t use. Some good meals to think about making are spag bol (a student classic), a curry, pasta bake, fajitas or chilli. Most of these meals can also be made in batches that you can freeze, making them, even more, cost-effective as you can return to them weeks later and thank your meal-prepped self when you don’t feel like cooking again!

Put aside a certain amount each week

This is something I started doing more regularly and it’s made a big difference to my savings. Last year, by doing this I was able to visit Berlin, Naples, Prague and Seville by travelling cheaply and using this method! I made a separate ‘pot’ on Monzo (more on that later) called Holiday so I could start saving for a trip later in the year. Monzo automatically adds £5 every week to this pot so at the end of the year me and my boyfriend could go away somewhere nice without having to take a chunk out of my other savings. Sadly, the holiday hasn’t happened this summer due to COVID but I’ve kept adding to the pot throughout lockdown so that we can, hopefully, have a few nice holidays next year. £5 is a manageable amount, for me, to save every week. However, you can add in as much or as little as you want or make your saving bi-weekly or monthly to make it work for you. Putting just small amounts away can add up to a big amount of money by the end of the year.

Get Monzo

Monzo has been a huge help in keeping track of my finances and helping me to save money. Each time you buy something Monzo will place your purchase into a specific category which is so useful for being aware of where your money is actually going and, at the end of the month, it shows you which categories are your biggest spends. It can be quite shocking at first to realise how much you’ve spent on eating out or shopping in a month initially but the app allows you to set budgets within each category to help you cut down. You can set up a loose change pot which will round up to the nearest pound your latest transaction and put it into a savings pot. I find this feature really helpful as you don’t even realise how much money you’re putting into savings and suddenly you have a few extra pounds that you didn’t know about! I think it’s such a good bank and app that really helps you keep control of your money and where it’s going.

Use student discount and cashback

Student discount is one of my favourite things about being a student and by quickly registering to discount sites like Unidays or StudentBeans you unlock so many savings. Most retailers will offer between 10-20% off for students which is not to be sniffed at, especially when it’s something you needed or were going to buy already. Sometimes it can be worth putting the extra 10 or 20% you saved into a separate savings pot so you can rack up how much discount you received over the year and put it towards something like a holiday or into your savings account. Cashback is another great way to save a few pennies and is something I started doing fairly recently. Topcashback and Quidco are my favourite sites to use and it’s very easy to register and get going. When going to make a purchase from somewhere online, check whether these sites offer you cash back for doing so. Even if it’s only 1% it’s still worth doing as it soon adds up, and if it’s something you need to buy then you may as well make some saving on your purchase.

Buy secondhand textbooks

As an English student, I need to buy a lot of books which, if I bought them all new, would cost me an absolute fortune so I’ve learnt to shop around. Places like World of Books or Abe Books offer very cheap books with big discounts and I often get the books I need from these places. It can also be worth looking at your University’s course Facebook page as often past students will be selling their old books at a discounted price so it can be a goldmine to get the exact editions you need at cheaper prices. Another tip I would say is that although courses often recommend you pick up the latest edition of a textbook, this isn’t necessary. More often than not, the book has exactly the same content (just different page numbers) and is half the cost - it’s not worth paying so much more for the same content just for page numbers! If you really don’t want to buy anything then your University library should have all the books you need for your course, you just need to make sure that someone doesn’t borrow them before you!

Those are my top tips for being a money-savvy student and to help you start saving whilst at university. I think the key thing from this list is that you don’t need to start saving extravagant or unrealistic amounts of money, little and often is the way to go and always make sure you’re aware of what you’re spending so you’re able to cut back on areas if you need to!

Related Read: Top Tips for Starting University

About the Author:

Tash is a UK based blogger and English student who blogs all about university life, travel, books and a whole host of other topics! You can find her over on her social media:





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  1. These are some great ideas here; and completely agree with all of them. Books are so expensive; so I'm glad Tash has managed to find other ways of sourcing them too - second hand books also have so much more character which I love! Utilising student discounts are also a fantastic way to save money; and so many people don't use it which is crazy to me. Thanks for sharing/featuring the guest post!

    Paige // Paige Eades

    1. Agreed. I live for student discounts and will always buy second hand books :)

  2. I'm not a student, but these are all really great ideas. Well done.

  3. Really liked this post especially as I graduated last year, second hand books are absolutely the one, don't go spending £300+ sometimes on books when you can get them cheaper second hand, if possible the library as well! Also I wish I'd known about monzo, that sounds really helpful

  4. Saving money is so important, at all ages, not just as a student. :)

    COT |

  5. These are such helpful tips! When I was at uni, I had a coin jar for any spare change, which I used for grocery top-ups and bus fares, and tried to use student discounts as much as possible!

    1. I am definitely going to get a coin jar now! That will be so helpful.

  6. Spme really helpful tips for students. Reminds me of my days at the campus.

  7. These are really great tips I was awful at saving when on my undergraduate and masters degree and it took me until my PhD to get any good at it x

    1. I think most people are bad at saving when they’re a student so it’s good to have tips like these. I always like to try and do fun things when I’m living at uni as well so good to have money for days out :) x

  8. Great tips! You'll be surprised at the places that actually give discounts for students. All you have to do is ask sometimes!

  9. As a student these tips are so helpful! I definitely need to check out Monzo and start meal prepping! I have a terrible tendency to just buy everything when I go shopping! Thank for sharing! Xx

  10. Thanks for sharing, when I was a student, I did meal planning and some sort of budgeting these proved to be useful, I still use meal planning know :)

    Nic | Nic's Adventures & Bakes

  11. Thank you for this post! Very informative and useful. Saving money is so important, you never know what will/could happen.

    Loren | Plaid + Sugar

  12. As somebody who is just about to start their first year of university, I'm sure these tips will come in handy - thank you! Second hand books have been my go-to for a while now; not only are they so much cheaper, but the odd annotations that you can find from previous students really come in handy!

    Gabija | EveryLittleThing Blog

  13. I could have used this post when i went to uni!

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