Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Simple money saving tips for the New Year

Owen Burek, founder of student money site Save the Student, takes us through his top January saving tips.

January is one of the most frugal months for students mostly because of the recent occurrence of that little thing called Christmas. Not to mention a potentially pricey New Year’s Eve bash.

On top of this, January marks the end of being at home with the parents who may have been keeping you fed over Christmas (if you are lucky). Now it’s back to buying food and shelling out cash for your own purchases again.

So, what options are there to help you survive until the next loan instalment? This list of New Year money saving tips should get you in the scrimping mood.

Revise your finances
Revising and January go together a bit like, well, December and Christmas. However, procrastination is always rife and you may constantly be looking for anything to do other than prepare for your exams.
Use this opportunity to take a look through your bank account statements and write up a quick budget. You can go into as little or as much detail as you want but it’s important to know what you have coming in and what money is going out.
You never know, you might find that you can afford an extra £40 this month in order to get those shoes you always wanted in the sales…

Be sales savvy 
Ok, so have your £40 and the pair of shoes you want are in the Winter sale. But, stop right there!
Don’t be lured into making the purchase for this reason alone. Always make sure you:
·         Compare the price online (just because it’s in a sale doesn’t mean it’s definitely cheaper than elsewhere)
·         Sleep on it (give yourself a while to think about whether you really need the shoes)
·         Think ahead (it may be winter now but do you need some spring/summer clothes instead?)

Say good riddance to bad habits 
It’s the New Year and the chance for a “New You.” Whether you are someone who loves to set New Year’s resolutions or not, this is a chance for you to kick your expensive habits.
Quitting smoking or drinking may not be easy but you could easily save over £10 a week which all adds up. Just try not to swap one addiction with another…

Get pedalling  
I’m not talking about what you might think… of course I mean getting a bicycle.
Depending on how far you live from your university, getting a bike can be one of the most efficient ways to get to lectures.
If you usually take the bus then you will not only make a saving but also ditch the extra “Christmas tyre” around your waist.
Before you start thinking that a bike will set you back and arm and a leg, you can find second hand ones at car boot sales and vintage fairs around most university campuses for as little as £20.

Be smart when looking for accommodation
Late-January is also the time when many students will start looking for accommodation next year. This may not appear to be the most obvious way to save money but being clever when you are searching for a new house can save you money in the long run.
Firstly it’s important to know what you can afford when it comes to rent. You can also save a fortune by avoiding agency fees and going direct to the landlords, choosing an energy efficient house to save on energy bills and making sure the house is in good repair to avoid possible deposit deductions that weren’t caused by you.

So there’s a lot to think about and plenty of money to be saved here. A good start would be to read through this guide to viewing student accommodation on the Save the Student website.

Whatever you choose to do to save money in 2013 I wish you the best of luck. Just remember that they library has free heating and you can use exams as a good excuse not to go out…