It's no secret that university is expensive and a lot of us have to live on very tight budgets. With so many costs associated with being at uni like books, food and other living expenses it can be somewhat of a struggle. For first years it can be particularly hard because it's your first time away from home and you most likely have no idea where to start.
Fear not! As a self-confessed cheapskate I’m constantly looking for ways to pinch a penny and I’m going to share them with you.
1) Vintage/charity shops - I know it may not be to everyone's taste, but just give it a try you will be surprised what you can find in charity and vintage shops . Sheffield has some great vintage shops, my personal favourites are Thrifty Store and Vulgar. You can get all sorts of amazing and unique pieces at bargain prices! I mean where else can you buy Levi jeans for £14!!! Being thrifty is definitely the way to go!
2) Buy in bulk - When you go shopping for your groceries, it is way cheaper to buy in bulk. Buying your meat from a butchers shop is cheaper than buying small portions from a supermarket. Instead of buying 1 bottle of water, buy a multipack instead. You get the hang of it right? You could even, if you lived with friends, share the cost which would make it even cheaper!
3) Meal prep - Doing this can save you so much money! When you get home after a long day of work the last thing you want to do is start cooking, so of course you just reach for your phone and dial in a take away, and we all know that this is a very expensive and unhealthy habit. The best thing you could do for yourself is to prepare your meals for the week on a Sunday so you literally just take it out the fridge when you need it, heat it up and enjoy! It will free up so much of your time and save you a fortune!
4) Make your course work for you - If you've got a course that requires a lot of spending on books, materials etc, why not ask those in the years above you if they have any old books and bits that they no longer use that they could sell or maybe even donate to you . If they don't have anything they can give you, they may still be able to advise you on the best place to get the things you need without having to pay an arm and a leg.
5) Budgeting - This might sound long, but if you are really not good with money, budgeting with an excel spreadsheet could be your saving grace. You can put your monthly income on their and then allocate money to all your various expenses. This way you can always keep on top of your spending and of how much you actually have at any given time. There are also loads of different budgeting apps out there that you could also try out!
If you are ever struggling with your finance or need some support/guidance on budgeting or anything money related, the Student Advice Centre staff are great and will help to get you sorted!