10 money-draining things you could live without
Any of these things could be draining your precious student loan, without you even knowing it! It's time to make a few changes…Our Student Money Survey this year revealed that students are experiencing on average a £221 shortfall every month when trying to survive off their maintenance loan.
Whether it's simply just your rent and bills adding up, shelling out for uni course books or kitting out your new digs, it's easy to blow your student loan pretty sharpish, leaving you in a bit of a pickle.
However, it is possible to make your student loan stretch a bit further if you cut out some common expenses that you can totally live without. It might be a bit painful at first, but seeing your bank balance in the green will more than make up for it!
10 pricey things to give the cut
Eating out is always an enjoyable treat, but unfortunately this can be the biggest drain on your finances, so we'd suggest really limiting dining out for special occasions (check out this huge list of places where you can eat out at for free on your birthday!).
However, if you really enjoy wining and dining and couldn't face giving them up, at least check if there are deals for restaurants in your area or see where your student discount can be used for dinner discounts.
We've plenty more tips on saving money at restaurants in this guide if the pleasure of dining out is something you simply can't live without!
While it’s convenient to buy a bottle of water whenever you want it, it can slowly start adding up when bottles cost around a pound each. If you get three of these a day that can total £15 in a busy uni week. Ouch!
A better alternative is to get a flask or refillable bottle, which can be bought on Amazon for around £3.
You could also consider getting a Bobble – a refillable water bottle which has a built-in filtering system, so this is perfect if you're worried about the quality of water coming out the library toilet taps. They range from £8.99 – £12.99 depending on size, but are worth the investment in the long run.
As one STS reader also pointed out, you can buy bottled water for so much cheaper if you head to a supermarket and buy a 2 litre bottle of table water (normally around 17p!). If you don't mind lugging a huge bottle around uni all day, that is…
Daily takeaway coffees
Buying a coffee from chains like Starbucks or Costa on the way to uni every day may be a good wake-me-up, but it can burn a serious hole in your pocket.
If you really can’t give up your morning coffee fix, it's worth looking for smaller local cafes on your way to uni – these will be much cheaper than Starbucks.
Alternatively, you could even brew your own at home with one of our fav kitchen gadgets (number 4 on this list) and pop it in a thermos to take to uni with you.
Almost every week we say different brands offering deals on free coffee – keep an eye on our Facebook page for more info!
Pre-drinking in bars
While meeting up at a local pub or the Student Union before a night out can be great, it's also likely to add between £10-£20 onto your night out.
Having people over to your house for pre-drink fun, or going over to a friends for drinks beforehand, costs much less.
If you're sick of beer pong and budget cider, check out this excellent guide we have to making the best homemade cocktails – you don't have to be Tom Cruise to master them either!
The journey from your student digs to your lectures will most likely take you past shops, and it can be tough to keep walking sometimes – even when you know fine well your bank balance can't take the hit.
Even if we're talking 70% off flash sales, you don’t need that new top more than you need to be able to feed yourself, so please just have a bit of foresight!
We know it’s easy to steal an extra ten minutes in bed, miss the bus then end up having to get a taxi to uni so you don't miss that same tutorial for the third week in a row. We've all been there!
But even just one or two taxis a week really does add up, so suck it up and be more time-aware!
The best of everything
Everyone knows there's not really that much difference between Sainsbury’s Taste The Difference and Sainsbury’s Basics (except for the price, of course), but it's funny how dedicated people can be to brands, even when living off a measly maintenance loan.
For example, many students use Benefit products, but Soap and Glory are a cheaper alternative that consistently scores just as well when compared, and even come in similar packaging. At £7 for a Soap & Glory cleanser and £16.50 for a Benefit one, the price difference is clear!
We're also huge advocators of the supermarket downshift, and we suggest you give it a try if times are tight!
The latest of everything
Having the most up-to-date products might make you look the ticket, but it's an unnecessary expense that you just can't afford during your uni years (as much as you don't want to admit it).
The latest iPhone isn't even that different from the previous model in terms of what it can do – and just think about what you can do with that cash instead!
Plus, the older models can be scooped up for as little as half the price!
The wrong type of insurance
Most students head off to uni with almost every gadget you can think of… smartphone, iPod, laptop, tablet, Kindle, you name it (they are essentials, right?).
Worried that something terrible could happen to their precious gadgets, many students will end up paying out for different insurance for each gadget, without really considering how much this adds up to per month.
Investigating what contents insurance options are available as a student is always worth a bit of time, and should be re-evaluated yearly to see what new deals are going.
Maybe you're on a mission to get hench, or even just lose a few pounds, but remember there are other ways to do this rather than joining the gym.
Even cheap gym memberships will set you back around £15/month – just imagine what you could do with that money!
As always, if you do insist on paying for a cheap gym membership, at least follow our advice on getting it cheaper.
Do you have any other suggestions of what to cut out to save cash? Let us know in the comments below…