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Making your money go further

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There are lots of ways that you can make your money go further. Here's our top tips, and some advice from fellow students.


Minimise your spending

Consider reducing the amount you spend on  clothes, eating out, streaming services and mobile phone bills.

Top tip: To see where you might be able to reduce your outgoings try the Money Saving Expert Demotivator.

Even if you have a sensible budget, it’s easy to spend more than you intend. A good tip is to keep a list of everything you spend for 2 weeks. Then compare this to your budget. Some students have two bank accounts and transfer money over each week, others just set a weekly limit and stick to it.

Travel smart

Make the most of student travel passes. As a student, you’re entitled to a 16–25 Railcard (even if you’re a mature student!) which reduces all rail fares nationwide by a third. You can buy a one- or three-year 16-25 railcard online, or at your nearest train station office.

Travelling by coach may work out cheeper than travelling by train and National Express serves all major cities and many towns. Full time students can apply for a Young Persons Coachcard which costs just £12.50 a year or £30 for 3 years and gives you a third of all tickets.  

Apply for a TOTUM Card

TOTUM is the UK’s biggest student discount card and gives you access to loads of top brand student discounts and deals on eating out and fashion, tech and travel and everything in between. There are 3 different options and the TOTUM lite is free!

Apply online to start saving.

Save money on your food shopping

If you can, save money by pooling resources with your flat/housemates and cooking together, it’s also more fun! If you’re really organised, plan your meals for the week ahead, make a shopping list and stick to it.

Top tip: Supermarket own brands are often much cheaper and just as tasty.

Make your own lunch and bring it with you every day. The cost of lunches, drinks and snacks really adds up

Sarah, BA (Hons) Photography

For recipe ideas and further tips on how to reduce your weekly food bill check out the websites below:

Student Cooking TV has loads of recipes with step-by-step visual guides. Recipes are also categorised to make finding tonight's perfect meal simple. 

Feel like a takeaway but can;t afford it. Making your own version can be healthier for both you and your wallet. For inspiration take a look at BBC Good Food's Takeaway Favourites.

Save money on textbooks

Save money on books by borrowing from the library where possible and make sure you make the most of their catalogue of e-journals and databases. You can also share books with friends on your course.

When it comes to buying books, there are plenty of alternatives to Amazon so shop around

Jasmyn English Literature & Creative Writing BA (Hons)

Save money on bills

Setting up, splitting and managing utility bills can be confusing, but doesn’t have to be. There are some great online resources to help save you plenty of time and money. A great place to start is the following guide put together by Save The Student.

Check if you’re exempt from paying Council Tax

If you’re living in a Hall of Residence, you don’t have to pay Council Tax and you don’t need to claim an exemption. If you’re living in private accommodation with other students you don’t need to pay council tax, but you do need to let the council know that you’re exempt.

The Student Connect Team has further information on their webpage on how to generate your council tax exemption letter.  For further advice or see the frequently asked questions on our staffsunion webpage for more information.

Claim back your income tax

If you have a part-time job and earn a total of less than £12,500 per annum, you shouldn’t pay any tax. If you have been charged tax then you can reclaim it, either at the end of the tax year if you have an ongoing job, or if you have a short-term job you can reclaim when you’ve finished working. More advice is available on the website.

Online resources

There are some great free resources available online to boost your knowledge about managing money. See our top picks below: