As students we’re always looking for ways to make our money stretch further, be that with freebies, buy one get one frees or cheap recipes to make food stretch further. So I’ve decided to share with you some ideas, thoughts, and excellent websites that I’ve come across in my bargain hunting in the hope that some of you will get use out of them.
As I’ve grown up I’ve watched my parents in their never ending quest for to save money, my dad likes to keep the heating off and to layer up the jumpers and my mum and dad like to go round the supermarket looking for the bargain items like 5p bread and £1 sausages that have been reduced to clear. Every week thereabouts they head to the supermarket on an evening and pick up some of these bargains and shove them in the freezer. I think there’s often a bit of stigma from buying reduced to clear items, or smart price/basics, but why? I think sometimes we can be too pretentious about the food we choose, and there genuinely is no difference. I was the winner of the National Student Money Week Shopping Challenge organised by the Student Advice Centre. Students were asked to estimate the prices of two baskets of shopping – one with branded goods and the other with Tesco value goods. I won the contents of both baskets. The value basket cost £14.81 and the branded one £40.28….
Another great way of finding out deals is on student websites/facebook pages. One of my favourites is a facebook page called 10 ways to have more money as a student without working who on a regular (almost daily) basis, post deals and bargains for the world to see. All they ask in return is that you spread the word and share the money saving joy! Although some of the items they share are pricey or perhaps completely irrelevant, I always check on their page – I gained a nice pair of Vans for £12 and a free book of recipes for peas… check them out and find yourself a little bargain.
Something else that I’ve used on the recommendation of my parents is a website called quidco, a super awesome website that gives you cashback for buying things through their website. Basically you go onto the website, type in the shop/product that you want to buy, for example an iPod, it will then link you to the apple store and tell you that you get perhaps 3% cashback on electrical items…although 3% seems like nothing, the money soon adds up and surely you’d rather have those extra 2 or 3 pounds in your pocket. Quidco is also amazing for insurance, you can get your travel or car insurance through their website and get a lot of money back, I got 30% on travel insurance this year and I thoroughly suggest that everyone signs up, its free to use and you
can choose how to get the money paid back to you. They also have an app for your phone which allows you to check into shops when you are out and about, and for each check in they pay you a few pence. It may not seem worth it, but if you’ve been dragged shopping by your better half, or you are just wondering round the shops, why not make a bit of money at it! Although the money can take
a few months to get back to you, its still worthwhile and like I said before, surely you would prefer to have the money!
Martin Lewis is a financial expert and general genius when it come to money…not heard of him? Well you should have. He could be a godsend. He regularly appears on TV with advice on everything from Tuition fees to getting cheap restaurant deals and his weekly emails “Martin’s Money Tips” are the gold dust of my inbox. His website “Money Saving Expert” is a must see, he offers advice on cheap days out, mortgages and the best student bank accounts. With free information like this to hand I would seriously suggest everyone takes a look, it could save you a fortune!
As I leave you to mull over these suggestions, don’t forget that pennies add up to pounds, and if you manage to spend less throughout the term it leaves you with more money leftover for the important things in life (I’m thinking holidays 😉 ). But as Anna mentioned in a previous post there are people out there using their difficult living conditions to create wonderful, helpful things, Jack Monroe’s blog A Girl Called Jack, is full of innovative, tasty, and very cheap recipes that are easily recreated on a student budget , and I would recommend her to everyone! SO be thrifty, save money, enjoy your food, and don’t forget its freshers week next week… I’m talking free dominos and enough pens to last you a lifetime…