Generation Z – The Skint Student’s Guide To Living On A Budget
Don’t believe you can live on £50 a week? Go down to one of the many student halls around Exeter and prepare to be amazed! As 2.3 million students across the UK prepare to go back to University this month, I’ll share with you some of our top tips and secrets to successful frugal living.
OWN BRAND FOOD. I cannot stress this enough. In days of yore, I was a supermarket snob, shunning supermarket’s own-brand food and drink for the colourful packaging of tried and tested brands. However, all that changed when I noticed the immense price difference between supermarket M’s baked beans (a student staple) and my beloved brand H’s baked beans. Surely this Atlantic-esque gap in price was not justifiable? Well, it was not, and an own-brand champion I have been ever since.
If, like me, you do like the occasional meal out, look no further than a Tastecard. For just a fiver a month, Tastecard will give you 2 for 1 meals or 50% off your bill at most chain restaurants. After eating a few meals throughout the year, you’ll probably find that the card pays for itself.
Yes, we students have to deal with expensive rent too. Unfortunately, we can’t do much about that. What we CAN control, however, is how much we pay for our gas and electricity. How do we do this? By simply using less! Agree with whoever you are living with, a sensible temperature for the thermostat or boiler to be on. By then end of the year, ours was only on when someone needed a shower!
Another simple thing to do is only have radiators on when necessary. A few of my housemates were leaving them on at a high level, on a sunny day, when they were out! Since we made these and other small but significant changes, our bills have gone down by a massive 40%.
Here’s a tip that students do without even thinking about it, and one that could dramatically improve the finances of other adults – pay yourself first. Most students that I know of have 2 accounts: one for their maintenance loan (opened due to the allure of the free railcard) and one for everyday spending (the “I can’t remember how old I was when I opened it” account). When the maintenance loan comes in, a little (okay, a lot) of this then gets transferred to the everyday account, leaving some(?) in the maintenance loan account.
To switch it up for working adults, all that is needed is the account your wages go in, your everyday account, AND a savings account. When you get paid, simply set up a standing order to be sent to your savings account the same day or the next day if you get paid late. With just a few clicks you’re now paying yourself first. Sit back and watch the money grow, Grow readers!
Written by Ashely Carr
Photo sourced via Unsplash