We know money is tight in December, so over the next 21 days, we want to help you boost your financial wellbeing and cultivate money-smart habits you can use to tackle 2024.
Each daily tip is designed to give you a practical strategy to stretch your budget further.
So let’s get to it.
Day 1: Face Your Finances
Don’t shy away from your bank account. Checking it regularly is key to staying in control of your finances, and it means you’ll quickly notice if you overspend. Download your banks app and look through your recent transactions. Note down any excessive spending or things you’d like to cut back on.
Day 2: Budget, Budget, Budget
Keeping track of your money can be tough when you get your maintenance loan every few months. Work out a monthly budget so you know how much you can spend to make your money last the term. Use our easy template or an online option like this one from the Yorkshire Building Society.
Day 3: Career Boost
If your outgoings are more than your incomings, or you’d just like a little more spending money, contact our Careers and Employability team for help finding a job. They can offer lots of support to make sure you’re in the best position to find work.
Day 4: Crafty Christmas
Don’t feel pressured to buy expensive presents if you can’t afford it. Why not make them instead? There are tonnes of great ideas online, such as recipe jars, personalised photo albums, or why not create a digital playlist with songs which hold special meaning for the recipient?
Day 5: Phone Contracts
If your phone contract is ending soon, ask yourself whether you really need to upgrade. Sticking with your current handset and getting a SIM-only deal could save you a huge amount of money.
Day 6: Savings Accounts
Did you know you can use a savings account as a budgeting tool? When you get your maintenance loan, transfer most of your money into your savings, and then after you’ve done your budget, transfer that amount into your account every month.
Day 7: Subscription Check
Netflix? Gym membership? Prime? Disney+? Subscriptions are easy to forget about, so work out which ones you’re getting value from and cancel the rest.
Day 8: Hunt for Discounts
Always check for a discount before buying anything. Totum, Unidays, and Student Beans are free so make sure you’re signed up. Remember, if you get 20% off, you still need to pay 80%, so stick to discounts on things you were going to buy anyway.
Day 9: Get Cooking
Takeaways are expensive, so the more you cook, the more you save. We’ve added some simple, cheap, and tasty recipes to our Portal page. You can even double the quantities and freeze some for another day.
Day 10: Shop Smart
Bulk buy the basics. Pasta, beans, herbs, spices, and sauces are always good to have in the cupboard, so when you get back from a tiring day, you’re less tempted to reach for the takeaway apps.
Day 11: Avoid Convenience Stores
Try to avoid convenience stores. They’re around 20% more expensive than a big supermarket, which could cost you hundreds over the course of a year.
Day 12: Listen to our Money Saving Podcast
Out and about? Take the Student Support Podcast with you. Our Student Money Adviser, Carl, recently made a guest appearance to talk about the best ways students can save money.
Day 13: Tune in to Your Little Spends
A coffee here, a meal deal there. Small transactions add up to a lot of money over a year. One coffee per day from a high-street chain is over £1000 a year. Try to eliminate them as much as you can by making lunch and taking your own hot drinks.
Day 14: Ditch the Brands
Try to shop the supermarket’s own brands. Chances are you won’t be able to tell the difference, and they’re around 30% cheaper than their branded equivalents. If you don’t like them, you can always switch back.
Day 15: Healthcare Savings
You can get a Prescription Prepayment Certificate, which costs £31.25 for 3 months or £111.60 for 12 months. It covers all your prescriptions for that period. Also check to see if you’re eligible for the NHS Low Income Scheme, where you could get partial or full help towards your healthcare costs.
Day 16: Carpooling
If you’re on a course which has placements, make contact with some people on your course to see if you can car share and split the costs.
Day 17: Resourceful Reading
Borrow and share textbooks with others or use the library. If you must buy books, look for used copies online to keep the cost down.
Day 18: Eat Together
Organise a house meal every week where you all contribute to the cost of ingredients. Not only does this make it cheaper, but it’s a great opportunity to socialise.
Day 19: Cash over Contactless
Try paying with cash instead of contactless where possible. You’ll be more aware of what you’re spending when you physically hand over money.
Day 20: Access some Support
If you’re spending to cope with a wellbeing concern or you feel your gambling is becoming excessive, head to the Wellbeing and Mental Health Portal page for advice on the support you can access.
Day 21: Try a Zero Spend Day
This is like a soft reset on your spending. It’s tough, but if you succeed, you’ll have a better awareness of what triggers your spending and be more mindful of it in the future.
That’s it – 21 days of money-saving tips! We hope you’ve been able to reflect on your spending from the first term, put a budget together ready to tackle the second term, and have a clear idea of what you’re going to do to make your money go further in 2024.
If you need a little more guidance, head over to the Your Money Portal page for more money-saving tips and advice.