As part of our quarterly theme of Financial Markets and Risk we’re looking at current financial trends, hearing from accounting academics and giving insights into banking. Our resident alumni blogger Carl Lincoln has launched a new business venture ‘Wiser Wealthier’ – a money-saving advice platform. Here Carl shares his top ten money-saving tips for students.
A quick Google search reveals a whole host of student money saving tip listicles. Don’t get me wrong, there’s some really good ones, especially from the likes of Money Saving Expert and the newspapers. The problem is that they all involve things that take time like getting a job, living on a yacht (yes, seriously!) and budgeting before you start your course. I want to change things up a bit and help you identify 10 ways you’re wasting money as a student that you can fix right now.
1. Shopping Locally
If you’re in Liberty Quays you may well live right above a Tesco – how convenient! If not, most student towns are littered with them. These retailers know what they’re doing and so convenience stores are always more expensive. Consider shopping online or walking a little bit further to the nearest superstore.
2. Buying Textbooks
I bought quite a lot of the recommended textbooks during my first year at Kent Business School and quickly realised that there were a couple that I barely even touched. Instead of buying them, be quick at the library or failing that look for second hand books on Amazon. Another option is for a few of you to chip in and arrange a time to study together so that you all have access to the book.
3. Shopping for Yourself
Other than for people with a particularly restrictive or specific diet I have never understood why students feel the need to shop for themselves and then label everything! If you just do a big communal shop you’ll get loads more bulk discounts and there won’t be any fights over who ate who’s food because it’s all there for everyone.
4. Taking a Short-term View
I’m going to get a little philosophical here – bear with me. If you can resign yourself to the fact that things are going to be hard financially for the next couple of years it will be easier to cope with going out a bit less and not buying so many new clothes. By accepting it you will adapt. If you try to fight it you’ll have a bad time at best and make yourself utterly broke at worst. You’re at university for a relatively short amount of your life and by gaining a degree and some killer transferable skills the benefits will soon start rolling in.
5. Not Milking your Student Status
The number of companies that want to give you a discount as a student is astounding. Trust me, until you graduate you won’t realise just how much is on offer! Even if there isn’t an advertised student discount – ask! Plus, mention that you’re a student at every bargaining opportunity – it immediately sets the tone.
6. Taking Public Transport
Walking is good for you and your bank balance. It’s even a pretty good hangover cure. A bit like the supermarkets, travel companies strategically locate themselves around Universities too. Get up that little bit earlier, stick your iPod on and walk instead of rushing around and taking the bus. You will get to your lectures feeling refreshed and energised rather than stressed and lethargic.
7.Sticking to the Brands you Know
Personally, I think everyone should try some own-label brands once in a while and if they can’t tell the difference they should switch permanently. If a few home comforts make you feel good then by all means stick to them, especially if you are an international student. University is a good time to try something new too though. Find out what your housemates eat and do a ‘Come Dine With Me’ evening so that you can try something new without risking unnecessary waste.
8. Expensive Stationery
I know, there’s nothing quite like a great pen. I get it. As I said in point 4 though, if you can get used to the basics for a short period of time you can indulge yourself later on. Let’s face it, if it can write it’s probably good enough at the moment.
9. Not Thinking like a Group
It’s pretty standard to split things like the gas, electricity and water bills because they probably come as part of your rent but what about other regular bills? Take advantage of the fact that you’re living in a group and see if you could get a ‘family’ discount on your mobile phone contracts or a multi-car insurance policy. Like with student discounts these sorts of things aren’t always advertised so it always pays to ask – you’ve got nothing to lose!
10. Not Taking Action
I left this until last because it’s the most important tip of them all and one that, if you don’t take it on-board will affect you not just financially now but for the rest of your life. If you spend more time reading about how to do something than actually doing it you won’t get anywhere. Got a business idea? Start it! Want to get fitter? Do 10 pushups tonight! Want to save money? Swap one branded item to an own-label in your next shop.
See where I’m going with this? Now stop reading and go start saving! But just before you go, follow me on Twitter (@wiserwealthier) or search wiserwealthier on Snapchat and Instagram for more advise and guidance like this.
Carl Lincoln is Kent Business School through and through. He completed both an undergraduate degree in Business Studies and a Master’s with KBS and comes back regularly to give talks.
Recently, Carl has founded Wiser Wealthier, making actionable short videos aimed at helping people to save money and increase their income right now.
Search wiserwealthier on Snapchat and Instagram, follow @wiserwealthier on Twitter or visit www.wiserwealthier.com to get started!