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Freshers guide to budgeting: Top tips for survival!

This is an image of a phone that displays the words "no online shopping today", since the article is about saving money, budgeting and asking students to not be spendthrifts.
Saturday 16th October 22.51

How are you adapting to living on a budget? Have you been seduced by Apple pay too? Are you constantly finding yourself calling an uber after class/a night out? Or do you find it acceptable to spend £30 on a night out, but when it comes to spending £4 on washing detergent you simply focus your attention elsewhere? If so, this is the article for you. Here are 5 tips to avoid leaning into your overdraft, whilst living your best life at Uni:

  1. Drop the branded items. Don’t fall into the trap of buying your branded favourites, when you can buy adequate substitutes for a fraction of the price. By swapping Heinz tomato soup or Robinson’s squash to Tesco’s home label, or perhaps through bigger commitments such as shopping at Lidl instead of Tesco, your bank account will really appreciate you. You are simply paying for the brand rather than the product, with many items being produced by the same company in the first place. The only exceptions include buying your favourite coffee and of course Heinz Tomato Ketchup which cannot be replicated!
  1. Walk/take the bus. It’s inevitable at some point you’re going to be tempted to call an Uber. Raining? Too far? Or pure laziness? Don’t do it! Think of walking as a dual benefit; effortless cardio alongside exploring the beautiful scenery Edinburgh has to offer. However, perhaps you’ve overslept, you’re faced with Scottish weather, or you’re simply too tired; the bus is always the cheaper solution! Getting the bus could equally be the equivalent of the price of 6 Ubers. Note: From January 31st all buses in Edinburgh are free for students! No excuses now and until then you can save by getting a Ridacard.    
  1. Take advantage of student discounts. Being a student does have its perks! Downloading/signing up to student discount apps is certainly worthwhile. Whether you’re going out for food, or fancy treating yourself to a new wardrobe, or are completing your weekly food shop, student discounts have your back. Apps such as UNiDAYS and Student Beans offer fantastic deals. Whether you’d love to treat yourself to a Yo Sushi or simply a new pair of trainers, you know where to go. Likewise, point cards such as a Tesco Clubcard or Boots Advantage card can provide you with significant deals. No student should have to pay full price.
  1. Plan ahead. Whether you’re in catered or self-catered accommodation stressed about what to eat for lunch or cook for dinner, planning ahead is certainly a must. Only buy what you need and at the start of the week in order to avoid food waste as well as your money. Cooking with flatmates will save you a few pennies, as well as improving your culinary skills and broadening your food tastes. Planning ahead in relation to travelling home is also worth your time, in which both buying tickets in advance and investing in a railcard are necessities.
  1. Treat yourself every so often. This tip is by far the most necessary yet the easiest to forget. Being immersed in Uni life makes it easy to forget that it’s okay to treat yourself every so often. Whether your treat of choice includes indulging in a gourmet meal, or treating buying that top you have been dying to get, go for it! You may be on a budget at Uni, but it doesn’t mean you have to be deprived for 4 years.

Image: Onesave Day via Unsplash