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Money Saving Tips for University

Want to learn to live as a student on the cheap? Here are a few tips on how to scrimp and save.
BY Rimi Chakraborty |   01-08-2014
Even if you’ve received a huge sum of financial aid or a loan, it’s important to take note of how much you’re going to need to spend during your stint abroad as a student. Remember to account for your annual tuition and accommodation fees before you head off to university – this will help you figure out how much you have left for the extra costs.

Budgeting yourself through your college days is very important – this can significantly help you to assess and plan out your costs in advance. The most difficult part though, is sticking to it! List out your costs – you should already have tuition fees and accommodation noted, then add in travel expenses and food costs – then you’ll see how much you have for extracurricular activities like going to the movies, or going bowling.

“Since I was financing my own expenses I had to cut down on many things in order to save money, “ says Nishtha Paliwal, a student at the University of Bristol in the U.K., “I don’t go for outings with friends or eat outside, and even cut down on shopping - I buy the cheapest grocery stuff and usually cook at home.”

Sometimes You Don’t Need to Buy The Book

If it’s an option, then instead of buying brand new textbooks for each semester, ask the bookstore for the slightly discounted used versions. Find out how much you will need a particular book and see if you can check it out from the university or local library (but remember to renew it frequently if you need it for longer than the maximum rental period!). Online booksellers often also offer textbooks at cheaper rates; or see if there is an option to legally download particular authorized chapters to your laptop for less than the cost of a full book.

Getting Around

If you’re in a big city or town, then public transport is going to be the cheapest and easiest way to get around. Taking the bus will always cost less than taking the train. However, check with your university campus about the free or discounted student shuttle services they may offer, so you can take advantage of getting around for less. Don’t be afraid to get around by walking, or invest in a bicycle.

Spend Your Free Time Wisely

University is the best time and place in life to find some of the greatest free entertainment. If you’re in the mood for a movie check the campus listings – often the university recreational centre will organize regular film screenings in full cinema-style. Or if nothing that week takes your fancy, then head to the library and check out a dvd for free.

For the sports enthusiasts, a great way of also making friends is to join one of the campus recreational athletic leagues – and if you can’t find a sport you want to play, then create a club of your own – you’re bound to find a group of people interested!

Most universities will also organize periodic music concerts, the student theatrical group is another place for thespians – and for the non-actors among you, most colleges put on a play each term for free.

If you’re a foodie keen to sample the local restaurants, just be conscious of what you can afford. To stick with budget the school canteen might be the best option, but sometimes university towns also a variety of student-discount options at local eateries, which can be well worth taking advantage of.

Flash Your Student ID Card like a Prize

This is the most precious item you will own throughout your university career. Use it well. The university student ID card will give you eligibility for discounts on a number of things – from local transport to clothes shopping to restaurant and bar discounts, to cheaper cinema tickets, bowling coupons, maybe a game of laser-tag! And the best part is, this card will also often work outside your campus setting – so when in doubt, ask if showing your student ID card will get you a discount.

Coupon clipping is also a way of keeping the bills down. If you’re a budding home-chef and love to do your own grocery, make sure you keep tabs on what’s on sale each time you’re heading out to do the weekly shopping.

Always keep the receipts from your purchases to help you keep track of whether you’re on budget, and whether you need to reassess your financial priorities for the next semester.

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