Top ten money tips
- Student Guide
- 15 September 2008
Keep a Note
We are all guilty of stubbornly avoiding our bank balances from time to time but one way to avoid the mounting panic every time you hand over your debit card is writing down everything you buy. Not only does it lessen the chances of being surprised by an alcohol-pillaged bank account, it also makes budgeting easier because you can see exactly where your coppers are going.
Internet banking lets you to monitor payments, check when your loan comes in and make sure your birthday cheque from Gran has been cashed. It also gives you 24-hour access to your account, allowing for late-night transfers and thereby limiting bank visits.
Get out the Tupperware. This is one of the cheapest, easiest ways to save cash. Buying a loaf, some cheese and ham and a bag of apples every weekend costs a fraction of the price of five days' worth of Boots meals deals. Not to mention the fact that you will get exactly what you want rather than mayo-heavy calorific slush in a bap.
Split beers or spirits and mixers with a few mates and have drinks in instead of out to avoid plundering your overdraft for inflated bar prices. If you want something other than a vodka-coke, dust off the cocktail recipe book Auntie Sheila gave you and start shaking. For meals out, check out where you can bring your own booze (BYOB) so you only have to spend a fiver per bottle.
There is almost nowhere in Edinburgh where you can't walk, and the buses are some of the cheapest and most efficient in the country: find a nice leafy route back to halls for warm Autumn evenings with your iPod and get your mitts on a bus timetable.
Ask for discount
Whenever you buy anything -- clothes for Halloween festivities, birthday presents, records -- ask for a discount. You will be amazed how many shops offer student discounts, and how many don't flag them up in-store. If you don't ask, you won't get.
Boots and most chain supermarkets offer basics ranges for staple products. Do not turn your noses up -- you will hardly notice a difference. If there is no Basics version of the product you want, bulk buy. Splitting the cost of a meal between four and cooking together will also save, and you can call it a dinner party.
Clubs and Societies
University clubs and societies usually have a student budget in mind but be careful before you sign up, especially if smiley enthusiasts are trying to purloin large membership fees out of you at the Freshers fair. Do a one-off trial before you commit as many of these are free for freshers.
Neither a Borrower Nor a Lender Be
Even if you don't remember the line from Hamlet, take it to heart. Asking money back from people you have just met is no fun and you might find yourself out of penny pretty quickly if you start spotting every second person a drink.
Keep an eye on the Kitty
If you are in a flat of your own and you organise a kitty for the household, keep tabs on it. You do not want to be funding bus fares or girlfriends' birthday presents. Draw up a system early on so that receipts are put back into the kitty to safeguard against rogue expenses.