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Save Money

9 expensive student habits and how to quit them

Everyone has their vices, but did you know your bad habits could be costing you £1000s every year? And they could be easier to quit than you think!

expensive habits and how to quit them

Credit: Amin Allen Tabrizi - Flickr

The student lifestyle, whilst undoubtedly fun, can knock you out of financial shape if you don’t keep an eye on where your money goes.

The cost of every little habit adds up, so if you’re looking to save a bit of cash, just following a few of these tips could save you a surprising amount of cash (and don't worry, we're not about to start lecturing you on going out too much).

It's likely that every single student will succumb to at least one of these habits at some point (even the very best behaved), so read on!

Are you one of these annoying sensible people without any bad habits to speak of? Don't forget these money-drainers could be affecting your finances, too!

9 expensive habits to quit today

  1. Using public transport

    save money avoid public transport

    Credit: Chris Sampson - Flickr

    For some students, public transport can be a necessity. But for a lot of us, if we're being totally honest, it’s just an opportunity to stay in bed for an extra half an hour instead of walking to lectures.

    If you're serious about saving the pennies, this tip is a must. Public transport is expensive, so even just reducing your use of it (only taking transport in the mornings but walking back in the evenings, for example) will have a positive effect on your bank balance.

    If walking to uni would be a serious trek for you, why not buy a bike second-hand or see if there's any going on Freecycle or any of these other swapping sites.

    Estimated saving: £30/week (varying depending on location)

Did you know you can also (legally) buy a stolen bike from the police for a seriously discounted price? Here's how!
  1. Impulse buying

    avoid january sales impulse buys

    Credit: 20th Century Fox

    Even if it is just a few quid here and there, impulse buying is another major cash-killer.

    A good way to cure the habit is to try to avoid carrying around too much loose change. It’s likely you won’t be as keen to buy something if you have to break into a crisp tenner or use your bank card, whereas you could be a bit flippant with a few pound coins floating around in your pocket.

    The solution? Find an old jar and store your spare change in there instead. Take it to the bank once it’s full, and there's your emergency survival money to get you to student loan payment day.

    Estimated saving: £10/week

  2. Smoking

    stop smoking save money

    We said we wouldn't lecture you on this one, and don't worry – we're not! But think of the cash you could be saving...

    We all know smokes don't come cheap, yet often they're the hardest expense to kick. If the idea of quitting cold turkey makes you want to run to the hills, you could try e-cigarettes or limiting your smoking time to nights out and social occasions – as long as those times don't occur every day of the week (remember the money-saving goal here).

    Don't forget we've got a whole section on kicking the smoking bug, and we promise it's not preachy!

    Estimated saving: £25+/week (depending how much you dabble)

  3. Drinking regularly

    drink less alcohol save money

    Credit: 20th Century Fox

    We're under no illusions here – we all know drinking is an inevitable (and let's face it, pretty good fun) part of uni life, but if you make it too frequent a habit, the financial drain will creep up on you (and your liver!).

    One option is to stick to drinking only at weekends (or if you're a mid-week party person, your two days of choice per week). You might find this gives your grades a bump too!

    Another option would be that instead of drinking at the pub or going clubbing, buy your own drinks at a local shop and have friends over instead.

    Here's our guide to how to do pre-drinks on a student budget, and if you are going out somewhere, at least use these tips to spend less, eh?

    Estimated saving: £30/week

  4. Paying for stuff you can get for free

    don't buy bottled water

    Water comes free from the tap, so use it!

    Investing in a reusable water bottle to take to uni will save you a crazy amount of cash (even more so if your water bill is calculated by a meter, and you choose to fill up at a uni fountain instead). Similarly, you can get food for free (legally) if you're really smart about it.

    Start making a habit of checking the library before splashing out on books for your course, and if they don't have what you need, try these options before forking out cash.

    In fact, there are so many freebies out there that we've created an entire guide dedicated to it – check it out here.

    Estimated saving: £10/week

  5. Clothes shopping for the sake of it

    spend less money on clothes

    Try to get into the habit of only buying clothes when you actually need them, as opposed to wandering down the high street and spending frivolously (we all know what it's like on student loan day).

    If you've got a real passion for fashion, try getting into charity shopping instead, and keep your eye on online swap shops too.

    Estimated saving: £15/week

  6. Buying food on campus

    don't buy food at uni save money

    Campus meals are mighty tempting – what’s not to like about rolling out of a lecture to the alluring smell of the nearby canteen?

    Whilst it might not seem like much to grab a meal and a drink there twice a week between classes, the cost can soon add up. Instead, do a bit of forward planning and prepare your lunch and snacks the day before.

    Estimated saving: £10/week

  7. Food shopping without a list

    shop with a list save money

    Remember that supermarkets are out to make money and will do anything to get you to spend that little bit extra – so much so that they employ these tricks to get you spending more.

    Make a rough meal plan for the week, write down what you’ll need, and stick to it!

    Need more help with saving on your food shopping? We've got a whole guide to help you with that too.

    Estimated saving: £10/week

  8. Buying branded goods

    Credit: Joel Telling - Flickr

    Credit: Joel Telling - Flickr

    Think twice before you buy your favourite trusted brands – there’s often little or no difference between them and the cheaper, lesser-known brands and basics.

    This goes for food and drink, but also things like medicine and cleaning products too (you could save a mint by going for these alternatives instead).

    Don't believe us? Have a look for yourself and compare the ingredients – they’re often exactly the same! Time to give the supermarket downshift a try.

    Estimated saving: £6/week

It may not seem like you're saving a lot by quitting these small habits, but if you'll admit to indulging in every one of these habits, giving them the boot could make a total saving of around £145+ a week (and you clearly have a lot of spare cash to play with!). The total potential saving for the year is just shy of a whopping £7,600.

The above savings are of course based on estimates, but with this sort of cash up for grabs it really makes you think, doesn't it?

Got any expensive habits that you've recently kicked and saved a loada' cash as a result? Let us know in the comments!


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