35 best money-saving tools
Want to hack saving money? Get your hands on our favourite money-saving tools and watch the pounds stack up, all while you sit back and relax.
Well over a decade of running Save the Student has given us plenty of experience with all sorts of useful tools, apps and websites when it comes to saving money. Some are good, some are not.
So we've decided to distil all our advice on saving money for this essential checklist. And remember, unlike our ways to save money, these are money-saving resources – once you've got them, they'll do all the hard work for you!
What's in this guide?
These are the best money-saving tools:
Automatic savings apps and bots
Money-saving bots are a relatively new phenomenon that are making it easier than ever to stash away some cash for a rainy day.
Using some clever maths, these apps assess your spending, decide how much you can afford to save and stash it away for you. All you have to do is give the app access to your bank account (read-only, mind), and it'll take care of the rest!
There are a handful of these apps out there, so make sure you check out our savings bots guide for our reviews.
App banks and prepaid cards
App-based banks are on the rise while prepaid cards are a little less popular nowadays, but whichever you go for, both can help you save money. Just transfer a set amount of money from your main bank account each week or month and stick to your budget.
Student bank account with 0% overdraft
Ideally, you won't have to use the overdraft on your bank account, but if you ever do, it's good to know that you won't be charged interest (or fees) for doing so.
Budget sheet or app
Boring as it may sound, nothing will ever quite match up to a good old-fashioned budget – and we've got a ton of tips and resources to help you manage your money effectively.
Of course, if the sight of a spreadsheet makes you sick to your stomach, you may be better off with a budgeting app. There are loads out there (including Emma, which we're a big fan of), and they'll all break down your incomings and outgoings into lots of colourful, easy-to-read charts.
Our household bills comparisons
From TV packages to gas, electricity and broadband, our student bills guides are the best way to save on your regular outgoings. We've compared all the hottest deals for all the major utilities, so just pick your favourite and enjoy the savings.
Free water-saving pack
It can be easy to forget that you're even being charged for water... until the huge bill arrives, that is. However, these FREE water-saving packs should help soften the blow when it's time to pay up.
It's worth noting that these will only save you money if you have a water metre – if you don't, you'll be charged the same amount each month regardless, and these packs will just save water. But that's no bad thing, so check out our guide to reducing your water waste, too.
Nowadays the only way to completely turn something off is to cut the electrical supply. But turning things off in the wall is (depressingly) something we all deem too much effort to do all the time, despite it being massively beneficial for both our safety and our bank balances.
The good news is that energy-saving plugs do all the hard work for you. When the device (such as a TV) has been off long enough for it to be safe, it cuts the current feeding it, as well as the current to all attached devices (like a soundbar or a games console).
For less than a fiver, an energy-saving plug really is a great way to save money on your electric bill!
Our mobile phone deals comparison tool
Select as many or as few filters as you like (including brand and model, network, data allowance and all the rest!), and our mobile phone deals comparison tool will show you the very best deals available.
Meter Readings app
It's currently only available on iOS, but if you've got an Apple device, get your hands on the Meter Readings app. With it, you'll be able to track up to nine separate household meters, allowing you to keep an eye on how much your bill will be – and, by extension, which appliances are driving it up.
Plastic containers or freezer bags
Cooking in bulk and freezing any leftovers is one of the oldest money-saving tricks in the book. Reusable freezer bags are cheaper and take up less space, but when they don't cut the mustard, some plastic containers will do the business.
Don't think you've got enough freezable food to bother? Think again. There are loads of surprising foods you can freeze.
Best before dates are just a guideline, not a rule. Approved Food takes advantage of that, and sells food that's 'past its best' (but still safe to eat) for huge discounts.
All sorts are available on the site, but expect to find a lot of tinned goods and long-life foods like chocolate, crisps, condiments and cereals – all the c's, basically.
There's no better way to save money on food than to not spend any at all. As much as we preach money-saving and try to only buy what's necessary, sometimes even we go a bit OTT and put a little too much in our baskets. It turns out we're not the only ones, and that's where Olio comes in.
Download the app, and you'll be able to see users in the local area who have got an excess of food going. Maybe they bought too much and it's going out of date soon. Maybe they cooked more than they bargained for. Either way, they'll offer it to you for free (or a donation to a charity).Remember: 'out of date' food isn't necessarily inedible. There are loads of ways to bring food back from the dead.
Too Good To Go
A little like Olio, this one. Restaurants, cafes and bakeries are no strangers to having a little extra food leftover, and Too Good To Go puts it all into a marketplace where you can get delicious food for a fraction of the normal price.
Supermarket cashback apps
You don't have to go through anti-food-waste apps to get free food. Supermarket cashback apps will allow you to get some or all of the cost of an item back, and also present a great opportunity to spice up your weekly shop with something new.
Our student deals section
Not to blow our own trumpet or anything, but our student deals section is bursting at the seams with only the very best offers, handpicked by our dedicated deals team.
List of the best freebies
Again, there's no better way to save money than to not spend any at all. Our list of totally free stuff is bound to have something that takes your fancy, be it condoms, KFC, cocktails or anything else featured!
When it comes to saving money, using cashback sites really separates the men from the boys. Do your shopping through a site like Quidco, TopCashback or Swagbucks and you'll have access to a range of offers at thousands of shops, all of which will refund you some of the value of your purchase.
All you need to do is find the retailer on the cashback website, click the link and complete your purchase from there. The cashback site will track your transaction, and once it's gone through, you'll get your money.
Interested? Of course you are – but read our guide to cashback first to ensure you don't get stung.
As if earning money back on your shopping wasn't easy enough with cashback sites, Airtime Rewards has taken it to the next level.
Simply download the app (do it through our link and you'll get £2 of bonus credit), connect your credit or debit card to the app and it'll track any purchases you make at participating retailers and refund you a percentage of the transaction.
There are loads of popular shops signed up to the scheme, including Boots, New Look and Papa Johns, and once you've built up enough credit, you'll be able to redeem it against your phone bill. Simple as.
If you're going to shop somewhere, why not get rewarded for doing so?
With that in mind, it's worth getting a loyalty card for every shop you use (they're free, so why not?) – so check out our list of the top rewards schemes to see which retailers give their customers the most.
You'd be surprised just how many companies offer a student discount, and more often than not, a TOTUM card is all you'll need to get it. Oh, and don't worry if you've already graduated – you can still get a card!Get the most out of your TOTUM card using these student discount tricks.
Amazon Prime Student
With exclusive offers for students, unlimited free next-day delivery and the whole Prime film and TV selection included (including Amazon's Premier League coverage), it should pay for itself in no time.
That said, it's worth considering whether you shop with Amazon (or will use the streaming service) regularly enough to justify spending £39 on a year of free next-day delivery – otherwise you're making a big money mistake!
Some bags for life
Since the 5p plastic bag charge came in, supermarket car parks across the nation have been filled with people struggling to balance three tonnes of shopping in their arms.
Get a couple of bags for life (and maybe even fold one up and put it in your rucksack/handbag) and you'll never be caught out again.
Secret sales websites
Fancy getting regular emails with exclusive deals you won't find anywhere else? Sounds like you need to sign up to a secret sales website! Just don't get suckered into making loads of impulse buys...
Like Amazon Prime Student, this is one you'll need to do the maths on first.
At £9.95, ASOS Premier will get you a whole year of next-day delivery at no extra cost – ideal if you regularly shop on ASOS, and even more regularly leave things until the last minute.
Of course, if you only shop on ASOS once or twice a year, this won't save you money. But if you do, it really will pay for itself within a few orders, and all that money-saving is before you even use your ASOS student discount!Student discount and free next-day delivery still not enough for you? Guess you better check out our bumper list of ASOS hacks then.
Nothing to do with camels, everything to do with saving money.
Have you ever bought something, and then a few weeks (or even days) later seen it going for a much lower price? We have. And it's super annoying.
camelcamelcamel puts an end to that pain, as it lets you enter the URL of an Amazon product and see how its price has changed over time. If the current price is higher than normal, or it's on a downwards trend, hold off on buying it until you reckon it's hit its lowest price!
camelcamelcamel is great if you want to shop on Amazon, but what if you don't? Enter idealo.
As well as price-tracking (which, unlike camelcamelcamel, only goes as far back in time as one year), idealo will compare the price of a product across a whole load of retailers to help you save the most money.
Groupon has been around for long enough now that we don't need to explain what it does. But we will say it's ideal if you're looking to book a holiday, go out for a meal, have a day out, or buy pretty much anything!
We've touched on it a few times already, but it bears repeating: always know which brands offer money off with our student discount directory.
There's no better place to find cheap flights than Skyscanner. This handy site (which also has an app) compares the price of tickets across all airlines, and even gives you the company's customer rating out of 10 (just in case there's a shady reason that their flights are so cheap).
Rail fares are ridiculously expensive, and if you're travelling between two major cities, it can sometimes be cheaper to fly via Europe to get there. To ease the pain of shelling out for a train ticket, get your hands on a 16–25 railcard and save yourself a third on the cost!
While a railcard will undoubtedly save you money on train tickets, coaches are almost always even cheaper. And, it turns out, you can save money on coach travel too – with one way being the National Express Coach Card, which takes a third off the already low prices.
Bolt and Kapten
Getting a taxi isn't strictly money-saving, but sometimes it's the best and safest option available. And while Uber is the big name in app-based cab companies, they're no means the only player in the game.
Again, having a car at uni is hardly a good way to save money, especially when you consider the cost of parking. However, if you have got a car, download Parkopedia and it'll help you find the cheapest places to park in your area.
Save the Student
We post a lot of deals and money-saving advice content. So much, in fact, that the only ways to keep up with it all are to sign up for our weekly newsletter, like us on Facebook and become a part of our Telegram group – that way, you'll never miss a trick!
Uni Lifehacks book
Some of the UK's most successful students and graduates (including our very own Owen Burek) teamed up to put together a whole book's worth of lifehacks to help get the most of out of uni. This includes money-saving tips, so get your hands on a copy of Uni Lifehacks!
These are the best resources for saving money, but how can you make money? Well, here are loads of easy ways to do just that.