12 things that are draining your student finances

AFS Team·5 September 2018·7 min read
12 things that are draining your student finances
By Elizabeth Whittingham

It’s a given that during your time as a student, you’re probably going to be pretty poor.

However, there are plenty of things that you can cut back on in order to save on that cash, and most of these things you won’t even realise are costing you hundreds.

#1 Eating Out

Although eating out tends to be seen as the better alternative to eating a can of tomato spaghetti in your student hall’s kitchen, constantly heading to restaurants or fast food places will put a considerable strain on your student bank account. Your best option is to massively work on your cooking skills- heading up to a place where you actively enjoy the experience of cooking fresh food. It’s also a great idea to get cooking in bulk to make sure that you have a few meals prepared in advance, it will be fast food, but prepared by you.

#2 Pre-sliced food

One of the more silent cash drainers-pre sliced food and prepared food is a major issue, with the majority of it being priced nearly three times higher than un-prepared food. For example, whilst a mango will probably cost around 80p, pre sliced and packaged mango comes in at nearly £4! To get round this, just buy your food in bulk at the start of the week and invest in some reusable packaging, to make up your snacks at home before heading out for the day.

#3 Regular take out coffees

A regular take out coffee usually costs more than £2, whilst other more extravagant creations can cost you up to £4.50! Here’s a top tip, don’t spend more money on liquid than on food, especially liquid that’s full of more calories than an average meal. Trust me, after spending nearly a fiver- you’ll be hungry within the next hour. It’s not worth it. Top tip: carry a reusable coffee flask and make a drink up before you leave in the morning, if your caffeine craving kicks in later into the day, if you do need a coffee then bringing a reusable cup to a coffee shop will grab you a great discount.

#4 Full priced food

Yes, this cannot apply to everything all the time. But if you know when to hit the supermarkets at the right time, you will never look back. Reduced items pop up in the early morning, midday and late at night, getting progressively cheaper as the day goes on- so keep a look out, and you could be savings loads.

#5 Full priced clothes

Similar to the above, buying full priced clothes can be something that you are simply wasting your money on. Not only is fast fashion terribly bad for the environment (and there’s the whole sweat shop thing), but it can also be a drain on your money to be simply buying clothes on impulse. If you would like to save some pennies then take a trip around thrift and charity stores, it’s a great way to save some money, give to charity and to find some clothes that are pretty rare!

#6 Taxis

Walking is really really good for you- and buses aren’t that bad! A great way to save some money is by cutting off the money draining service that is taxis. Think about it, if you’re paying for a service that charges you for every km travelled, it’s definitely not a great idea…

#7 Branded Products

Whilst there are some favourites that simply cannot be replaced, a great way to stop throwing your student loan down the drain is to buy un-branded products- basically, supermarket own. Just a few pounds saved here and there can make a massive difference- and you’ll soon realise that the vast majority of products are exactly the same.

#8 Gym memberships

If you really are struggling with your finances, then a great tip- although one that can be rather tricky to do- is to run through your bank statement to see if there is anything that is not a necessity and that are also draining your finances considerably. Usually, gym memberships are the first thing to go. Don’t despair, there are plenty of home workouts on YouTube that you can do to fill the fitness void, Fitness Blender do some great ones- you could also always try the good old run.

#9 Buying rounds of drinks

We are instilled into a belief that as soon as we have a bit of money, we are obliged to buy a round of drinks for the whole friendship group or family. Although it can be hard to see other members buying you and your friends/family drinks, don’t feel obliged. If you really do not have the money, just let your friends and family know and fight the expectation, if you’re a student- people tend to understand.

#10 Shopping when you’re hungry…

This is a massive no-no. Shopping when you’re hungry is not only bad for your waistline, as you’re going to be grabbing a lot of sugar rich food, but by grabbing for processed goods you’re actually increasing your bill. Have a meal before you head out to the shops and opt for fresh goods that you can prepare at home to save on those pounds.

#11 Being disorganised

Although this might not seem like an obvious one, being disorganised can have a damaging effect on your finances. For example, if you forget to make lunch, you’ve got to buy some, if you arrive late for work, you’re losing hours, if you leave your water bottle in the car- you’ll be purchasing bottled water all day! The best way to get around is to get organised- a daily planner or even a bullet journal can be perfect for this- you’ll soon start to see the savings add up.

#12 Disposable goods

Ditch the plastic razors, make up wipes and face pads, reusable goods are not only pretty terrible for the environment, they’re also pretty expensive when you add up all the purchases over a period of time. Juts opt for a bamboo or steel razor with interchangeable heads, and with makeup remover, a big bottle and reusable pads will do the trick.