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By Sophie Wheeler

1st year BU student, BA (Hons) Scriptwriting for Film and TV

A common assumption surrounding students is that we are constantly broke and living off a diet of baked beans and tesco value vodka. And although for some, this may be a reality, it certainly doesn’t have to be.

Living on a student loan is by no means easy, but the myth that lower-income families cannot afford to go to university is exactly that… a MYTH! Everyone can afford to go to university thanks to cheap supermarkets, student discounts and the wonders of the Internet.

Every single student will waste their money at some point, it’s just part of the learning experience and that’s okay. As long as you are spending your money wisely at least 80% of the time, then you will emerge relatively unscathed. Unfortunately, there is no shortage of easy ‘money-wasting’ traps to fall into, from joining clubs and societies you have no intention of attending to buying takeaways at 3am on your way back from a night out. Luckily, there are also several ways to save money too.

1. Being a savvy shopper

If you don’t plan in advance, you will always spend more in the supermarket than you need to. Shopping at the right time is invaluable too; later in the day, there’s almost always incredible bargains on food that will reach its sell-by date that evening. Always ask about student discounts – so much money is wasted simply because people don’t want to ask. Get out of the habit of instinctively reaching for your familiar brand products. Admittedly, some smart price products are just plain revolting, but actually with most, you won’t be able to tell the difference and will save yourself a couple of quid. Experiment with a few cheap brands to see what you can and cannot tolerate.

2. Selling unwanted possessions

At the end of each semester, you’ll be left with a truckload of textbooks that you no longer need. Instead of hoarding them, consider selling them on. With websites like EBay, it’s effortless. Any unwanted CD’s, DVD’s, speakers, mobiles… sell sell sell!

3. Pre-drinks

Not only are pre-drinks a fun and sociable way to prepare for a night out, they will also save you a ridiculous amount of money! At £4 per drink, buying alcohol in a club can leave a serious dent in your bank account, whereas a £4 bottle of wine from a supermarket will last you all night.

4. Pay with cash 

Try to set yourself a budget for the week and withdraw only that amount from your bank account. Then ban yourself from paying for things with your card. This way, it

will remove all temptation to commit the cardinal sin of student nights out and pay for drinks on a card when you run out of cash (I deny everything).

5. Cooking meals with friends

Buying in bulk when it comes to food is almost always cheaper. It’s also a good way to bond with your flatmates.

6.  A part-time job                   

Working part-time isn’t always ideal, but it’s something that many students have to consider. Whether it’s waitressing, admin or something more relevant to your degree, it’s a great way to get some extra experience for your CV. But obviously, university work is the priority, so make sure to balance your time effectively and don’t stretch yourself too thin.

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