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This is How Students Can Save Money in the UK

The UK is one of the worldís most expensive places to study and live in. But there are ways and means to get by. Dan Petley tells you how.
BY Dan Petley |   28-12-2015

Recovery from the economic downturn of 2008 has seen a rise in the number of UK millionaires.  Having said this, the gap between richest and poorest in the UK has widened considerably, which can have a detrimental effect on the way the public perceives students. Regardless of your upbringing or economic status, the fact you are a student could condemn you with the ‘privileged’ tag, meaning poorer students have the worst of both worlds!

As a student, I often felt that the world (quite wrongly) assumed that I was financially advantaged. This led me to take action by employing a few lifestyle changes. Here are some of the strategies I developed to cut back on needless costs. Follow these tips, and hopefully you’ll save some money, and lead a healthier lifestyle in the process.

  • Use Cheap Travel Options:
    Wherever you need to travel in the UK, it’s pretty easy to get there without paying a giant train fare. Discount buses have improved greatly in this country, and my personal favourite is Megabus, which is still ridiculously cheap. If you change at London Victoria, you can go pretty much anywhere in the world using Megabus or Eurolines. However, if you simply must fly then getting cheap flights from places like Skyscanner or Cheapflights is the best option.
     
  • Choose Your Area Wisely:
    Tragically, since graduating, my main extravagance would appear to have been rent. The UK is a notoriously expensive place to live in, probably the most expensive in Europe. The higher up north you go, the cheaper it gets, so my advice is unless you simply have to study down south, further up north!  Particularly places in North East England, which are romanticised in Bryan Talbot’s amazing graphic novel ‘Alice in Sunderland’. After reading it, I felt like a fool for paying £400 a month to live in Bristol!
     
  • Use discount sites:
    The best one for students is probably Student Money Saver, which has loads of deals, offers, and commercial loopholes as well as tips for earning a bit extraOr, if you’re not a student, then Money Saving Expert is the obvious choice.
    It’s also wise to have a look at websites like Gumtree or Freecycle for used and unwanted items like furniture, clothes, books and old electronics. Make these discount sites part of your online routine and you’ll find yourself noticeably better off.
     
  • Energy Savings:
    These days I pretty much live on stew, and after a year and a half, I’ve still never got bored. A slow cooker’s not only cheap to buy, but they use less power to run. Try it out for two weeks and I bet you’ll be hooked. A 6 litre slow cooker can easily feed a house of 4 for two days, so Google a different recipe each time, and take it in turns to throw everything in the pot in the morning. This will cook all day while you’re at lectures and you’ll have a feast waiting for you when you get home.
    Although there’s an element of trial and error in learning to master things like potatoes (red potatoes turn out softest), I still haven’t made anything that is unfit for human consumption. Use plastic pots from the Chinese takeaway to freeze a portion each time you produce a new stew, that way you will have something to fall back on if you forget one morning.
     
  • Quit High Street Shopping:
    Getting a decent crock pot in any town centre will generally set you back £25. On Amazonyou can get a product of the same size and quality for £17. High street stores are expensive for a reason, namely the price of retail space, and this added cost is reflected in what you pay. It’s no wonder that this time of year shopping centres try to get more people to make the effort to come to these nerve centres of cattle culture with crafty schemes like Black Friday and some desperate reformed boy-band turning on the Christmas lights. You don’t need to be a part of all this nonsense, so stay home, buy online and avoid the commercial carnival.
  • Commuting:
    Driving should never be seen as a common sense option when you consider how expensive it is. However, if driving to your destination is absolutely essential, then it’s quite likely other people will want to be passengers, so you should use this as a money retrieval scheme. Don’t worry about coming across as a miser; I’ve seen too many kind people unwittingly becoming unpaid taxi drivers.
    Compared to London most cities have quite expensive public transport. For example, living in Bristol, a day-rider bus ticket costs £4.20, which isn’t great when you consider a single bus fare in London costs £1.50 (and with an Oyster card you can use buses as well as over and underground train services).The real common sense solution is either to walk or invest in a bicycle.

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