Money Saving Tips

Depending on your budget you may need to make your funds stretch that little bit further so you don’t run out of money.

These tips below might help:


Become a chef (sort of!)

There’s no greater way to save money on food than to develop some cooking skills – it’s not as hard as you might think and it's far healthier too. Takeaway meals are far and away more expensive than anything you can create yourself. Why not cook together with your housemates and share the cost?

You can create your own takeaway meals at home. Get cooking!

Market shopping

Once you’ve mastered some cheap, easy and delicious recipes, you can shop at Loughborough’s excellent outdoor market. This is definitely the place to pick up your fruit and vegetables (and much more) for a great price…

Bargain supermarket hunting

You can generally grab a bargain at any supermarket in the evenings. Around 6pm, most supermarkets start heavily reducing prices on items they need to shift by the end of the day. If you’re flexible on your planned meals, you could grab fresh produce for pennies.

Try the supermarket Downshift Challenge

Are you buying the big brands you're used to at home? To save money, try buying the supermarket version and if you can't tell the difference, stick with the lower priced version. This can reduce your spend by up to 30%. On a basic £20 weekly shop, that's over £300 a year saved.

The freezer is your friend

Shockingly, a UK household throws away £700 worth of uneaten food a year! This is waste not just for the environment but financially. Always either use up your leftovers quickly or freeze them.

You can also freeze mostly anything so before you advance to the bin, check out this link - Surprisingly freezable foods 

Best-before – the facts

While we’re on the topic of food needlessly being thrown away, do you know the difference between a best-before and a use by date? It is perfectly fine to eat food that has exceeded the Best Before date so check out the resources here to see how you can create something delicious from a product that you might have binned - 12 ways to STOP wasting food and drink, Love Food Hate Waste | Food Waste prevention &  Using up leftovers forum.

A use-by date on food is about safety. Foods can be eaten until the use-by date but not after. You will see use-by dates on food that goes off quickly, such as meat products or ready-to-eat salads. After the use-by date, don't eat it, cook it or freeze it.

Don’t buy lunch every day (or coffee, come to that!)

Making your own lunch and coffee really adds up to a massive saving. Most people find that they spend around £5 on lunch and probably £3 for coffee daily. If you buy lunch and one coffee each weekday, that’s £40 a week, £173 a month. Think what you can do with that money instead!  

Now that you have mastered cooking, you can whip up some delicious lunches or eat your equally delicious leftovers the next day.  With a flask, you can make your own coffees and can even treat yourself to a quality brand with all the savings you are making.

Saving money

Have one 'no-spend' day each week

For one day of the week, try not to spend anything. This means walking, making your own lunch and coffees, no going out (unless your friends are paying!) and no internet purchases.  If you make this your norm each week, psychologically you may become a lot more careful with money in the long term! Put what you would normally have spent into a savings account.

Saving money – number 1 - 'skimming'

When you receive your student loan, wages, money from parents etc., skim 10%  off the top and pay it into a savings account. This way, you will have money for a rainy day or those last few weeks when your next student funding payment seems so far away. Alternatively spend it on whatever you want but maybe not until the end of the term?!

If you can manage just £20 a month you'll be £240 better off at the end of the year (more if you stick it in a top-paying savings account).

Saving money – number 2 - The 1p savings challenge

How about trying the 1p savings challenge?

Perfect for a new year but you can do this at any point in the calendar. The idea is simple: on day one, you save 1p. On day two, you save 2p. On day three, 3p (and so on). After 365 days have passed, you will have saved over £650!

If you have no coins to add into a piggy bank, you can do this electronically by working out the amounts you need to add each day and setting up a weekly / monthly standing order into your savings account.

Saving tip 3 - Round-up your spend

Some online bank accounts, operate a 'Save the Change' scheme which helps you to build a saving “pot”.  Each time you buy anything with your debit card, your spend is rounded up to the nearest pound and the leftover is added automatically into your savings account. Find out whether your bank does this and if not, you could always implement this yourself.

Make money

Sell your old items (and save the planet at the same time)

Did you receive a new phone, laptop, tablet, games consul for Christmas? Upgraded recently? What did you do with your old device? Still sitting somewhere gathering dust? See whether you can sell it or indeed anything you don’t need anymore.

There are loads of companies who will pay you money for old phones or electronic devices but you can also sell your unwanted possessions online. When selling in person, always be mindful of your own personal safety if your buyer asks to collect the goods in person. Always use reputable websites and be aware of potential scams.

Take advantage of Cash back sites

Online purchases come with a bonus High Street buys don’t – you may be able to get cash back by learning how to use cashback sites.

Before you buy anything, see if you can reduce the amount of your spend. For more information and latest updates, see Save the Student website.

Earn interest from your student funding

Hopefully when you receive your loan payments each month, you’re not going to spend this all at once. Have you thought about paying your loan into an interest earning cash ISA or a savings account? Once you know your budget, you can transfer some cash each month into your current account to cover your day-to-day costs, hopefully leaving some money earning interest.

Consider the benefits of loyalty cards

If you buy regularly from particular retailers and they have a loyalty card, it makes sense to get yourself a reward card and take advantage of money off, free treats and other discounts. At the very least, get one for your favourite supermarket.

The most rewarding cards are Tesco Clubcard, Nectar card (Sainsbury's) and Boots Advantage card.

Paid too much income tax? – Claim it back

If you’ve worked during term time or over the summer, make sure you're paying the right amount of income tax. Most students won’t earn more than the personal allowance each year so shouldn’t be taxed on any of it. If your employer has deducted tax, you might be entitled to reclaim it.


Damage Deposit

If you rent in the private sector, you may have paid a damage deposit to your landlord or agents. Did you know by law, this needs to be protected with one of the three government backed schemes? The scheme will allow you to raise a dispute if the landlord feels you have caused damage and wants to keep your money.

Landlords have 30 days from receiving your deposit to put it into a tenancy deposit protection scheme. If they fail to do this, you could be entitled to up to four times back. If you need further advice about this, please contact us.

When you move in and before you leave your property, take a moment to read our moving in and moving out checklists which should help you to maximise your chance to get your deposit back.

Insure your treasured possessions

It is unfortunately the case that student properties can sometimes be targeted by thieves. If you are burgled, and not insured, you won’t be covered for the costs of replacing your belongings.  Check whether you’re covered on your parents’ home insurance or if not, shop around for the best deal you can find. This may not necessarily be a product specially aimed at students. You can buy your own policy or it may be cheaper to have a joint policy with housemates. If you are in University halls, you are likely to have cover included with your hall fees. Check out this insurance for renters guide for more details. 

Consider carefully next year’s accommodation

Most students sign up for accommodation many months in advance. You don’t need to do this – there’s always plenty of housing in the Loughborough area. If you delay, you have the chance of negotiating a 9-month contract (rather than paying for 12) as landlords should be more willing to negotiate and you have more bargaining powers. If you’re uncertain about your future circumstances, it is better to delay committing yourself to a legally binding contract that doesn’t offer any option to change your mind.


Split your train tickets

Instead of buying tickets for the whole journey, buying separate tickets for its constituent parts can greatly reduce the cost – even though you're on exactly the same train. As long as the train calls at the stations you buy tickets for, it's perfectly allowed within the rules. See Split Ticketing tips for a full how-to.

Get 10% off a railcard

Consider a 16-25 Railcard which cut a third off off-peak train tickets and tube fares and they're also valid for full-time students of any age. Registration on other sites and some loyalty card discounts could bring you a further reduction on the overall cost so don’t just buy the card direct without seeking further discounts. Click here for more info on railcards.

Take the coach

The coach can be an economical alternative to train fares (even if you do have a railcard), and if you're aged 16-26 or a full-time student, National Express' Young Persons Coachcard can make it even cheaper. It costs £12.50/year (or £30 for three years) and gives a third off all standard fares – peak times included.

How can the University support you?

If you require further guidance or advice please get in touch.

Last updated: 12th July 2023