In the current cost of living crisis, it can be worrying and overwhelming for students thinking about how to budget and save money. However, there are many tips and tricks out there to reduce the stress caused by the current economic climate for students.
Shopping for groceries and other items can come to big amounts, especially at some of the main supermarkets we all regularly shop at. Whether it be Tesco, Asda, or Lidl there are always opportunities to cut down on expenses. With Tesco having many types of stores whether it be Tesco Extra, Express, or Metro it can often be a case of shopping wherever is convenient. However, Tesco Express stores mostly hold the more expensive items and brands. Therefore, it would be advised to do the trip to Tesco Extra as they hold a whole host of cheaper products as well as giving you the chance to do a big weekly trip and avoid impulsive buying. This big bulk buying can save even more money if you share it with housemates or friends to ensure no waste. The Tesco own brand products as well as Tesco exclusive products such as Hearty Food Co. are usually good standard and worthy substitutes for branded and finest products. This is similar with a lot of supermarket products such as Asda’s new yellow label products that are good quality products considering the cheaper price tag. It would also be good to recognise where you think you will shop mostly in the year to get clubcard’s at these supermarkets and save even more money that way. Tesco clubcard prices are usually cycled and changed every 28 days and so it may be a good idea to bulk buy when prices drop to make sure you make full use of the discount, this can be especially true for items such as alcohol where clubcard prices could save you tens of pounds in the long run if you buy multiples. Also, do not forget, using the clubcard will get you points which add up to free vouchers that range from 50p to £5 which can be accessed through the app. These vouchers do not completely have to be used on shopping either. Tesco partner up with many big companies from Hungry Horse to Cineworld to Alton Towers etc. The other week I used a £4 voucher in the Tesco clubcard app to get £12 worth of tickets at Cineworld! Therefore, using the vouchers can be a good way of getting free meals and nights out rather than using vouchers on your shopping that would still not take too much off your final receipt.
A very useful app to look at in a similar vein is the Too Good To Go app. This is an app where businesses’ products that can no longer go on the shelf are sold for very cheap. This can range from great bakery companies, to restaurants, and even supermarkets. Morrisons are the biggest supermarket currently on the app, but the app also includes a lot of independent businesses where you will get very good standard of products for very little cost. Other big companies on the app currently include Toby Carvery, Starbucks, McSims, Barburrito, Pret etc. A lot of the collection times fall quite late in the day e.g. 22:00 (apart from breakfast and lunch items)
General advice I can give as well would be to have a meal plan for the week or even the fortnight. This will allow you to bulk buy efficiently as well as for you to work out what your budget for shopping is and to stick to it. And of course, by knowing what meal you are having on each day this should hopefully lessen the urge to spend money on takeaways, fast-food and ready meals which are all a lot more expensive than creating your own meals from scratch. It would also be good therefore to research low ingredient meals to maximise your budget so that you have enjoyable meals that cost little due to not having an extensive range of products you may only use once. In terms of budgeting, it may be useful to split accounts and pool money. This basically means you could have one account for bills or savings or rent and then another account for shopping or for going out etc.
Furthermore, if you are worried about bills such as electrics or gas, here are some tips to save money. You can turn all plugs off in the house if it does not need to be on. Your electricity will still be eaten away at even if say you have not put anything in the toaster, but the plug is still turned on. Moreover, if you are on your laptop or on your phone use one or the other. This way you will save battery and will not need to cycle your chargers as often. If you are washing up and the water has not gotten too dirty yet maybe wash up other housemate’s stuff. This will mean there won’t have to be a waste of hot water, especially considering how long sometimes it takes for the water to turn warm. After using the oven, it may be a good idea to leave the oven door open. This will mean the fan in the oven will not have to be on for as long to cool down the oven. Plug-in LED lights also use less electricity than light bulbs so could be worth using instead of the main lights in your rooms. There are some more obvious methods but are still worth mentioning such as do not turn the heating on if you have blankets and stuff that can keep you warm and take shorter showers etc. It all may seem very trivial but when all the things above are done you can save a decent amount of money.