5 essential saving tips for students

03 September 2021


Jonathan Smith
Jonathan Smith
Group of five students sat together laughing and talking on their campus stairs

Is it really already September? That’s probably the question you’ll be asking yourself this week as the summer holidays come to an end. And, if you’re a student, the shorter and chillier days can mean only one thing: it’s time for uni.

While being a student often involves scraping by, you may be surprised to learn that, with a little bit of know-how, you can actually find some space to put money away. This means that long-term goals, like saving for a car, a holiday or the future in general, can be achieved, even when you’re studying.

To get you started, here are our top five tips to help you save up when you’re a student.

Budget at the start of the month

Rather than letting your finances go with the flow, sit down at the start of each month and work out a budget. This means that you can work out how much your essentials, such as rent, bills, food and travel, will cost, and then get a clear picture of just how much disposable income you’ll have to play with. You can then allocate an amount to spend on leisure and another amount to save.

Budgeting can be useful, but not just because it allows you to organise your money. Starting early helps to build a key life skill, as well as will encourage you to become financially responsible and disciplined for later in life.

Open a separate savings account

Trying to keep money aside using your current account can be challenging, especially when it comes to the end of the month and you’re tempted to spend it. By opening a separate account for your savings, you can move them over so that they are set aside from the rest of your money. Once transferred, you’ll be less likely to be tempted to spend leftover cash on impulse purchases.

So, open a savings account and move your money over once you’ve come up with your monthly budget. You’ll need to find an account that suits your needs — an easy-access account, like our Instant Saver, is ideal if you’re looking for a flexible saving option.

Try out creative ways to put funds away

While developing a regular saving routine works for some people, it just doesn’t for others. As a student, there may be times when you have quite a bit of money in your account and times when you’re running on empty — we’ve all been there! You might want to consider more creative ways of saving money as and when you can.

For example, you could try doing a no-spend challenge, which means minimising or cutting out your spending on something. Try not buying clothes, eating out, or drinking alcohol for a week or month, then put the money into your savings. This can be a fun way to challenge yourself, but be sure you don’t “no-spend” on any life essentials.

Another fun one is the 1p challenge, which lasts a year but will see you save £667.95 by the end. On day one, you save 1p, then 2p on day two and 3p on day three, building up until you’re saving £3.65 on the last day. It might not sound like a lot, but these little numbers soon add up to a substantial amount.

Think about earning some extra money

One way to increase your ability to save is to earn some extra money alongside your studies. The obvious solution is to get a part-time job, but it may be possible to pick up a side hustle that earns you enough to get by. Even if you already have a job, you may still be interested in trying one out to see if it works for you. Just be sure to limit working hours to give time for study — most unis recommend 12–15 hours a week.

There are plenty of options out there to earn a little extra as you go. Whether you’re selling old textbooks and items you don’t need, uploading your photos for purchase as stock images or streaming video games online, there’s bound to be something out there that suits you. Check out this extensive list from Save the Student to get started.

Find bargains and save the difference

As a student, you’ll likely soon develop a real nose for a bargain. The likes of wonky veg, pre-loved clothing and used textbooks are all out there ready to save you money on a regular basis, and you can always shop at places that offer a handy student discount to cut down full price items.

And, if you take real pride in your bargain hunting, why not take it one step further and put the savings you’ve made aside? All you need to do is to work out what the difference is between the full price and the bargain price you’ve paid, then pay that much into your savings account. This way, you’ll directly benefit from your thriftiness.