How to save money as a student: Liverpool edition
More money, less problems
Moving away from your hometown to Liverpool can be hard enough without worrying about managing your finances, but truthfully this is one of the biggest challenges students face. Budgeting your own money for the first time is a massive change and it’s a necessity to know how to stretch your student loan as far as possible. If you’re having money anxieties, don't worry because you’re not alone – here are a few tips on how to save that money:
Never buy new textbooks, if you can avoid it
It’s natural to want to feel prepared for your first year at UoL, LJMU, Hope or Edge Hill, but try to avoid buying brand-new textbooks. It can be extremely pricey and an unnecessary.
One alternative is to buy second-hand as you’ll only need most books for a year and the condition doesn’t take priority. Most of the time they are significantly cheaper, whether they're from Blackwell's book shop at Crown Place or ordered from Amazon and eBay. UoL even has a "pass the book" system where you can buy textbooks from students. If all else fails, charity shops are also an option; Bold Street would be the place to go for these!
Using your uni's library is also a must. It's a free resource (unless you need to print stuff off in the SJ ugh) so make the most of it! Try to be one step ahead of the rest of your course and once you’re reading list is out, head straight there to check out the most in-demand books! Don't be this person, though.
Always use e-books
The SJ will have most of the books you need in an online form for you to access for free. However, if UoL's Discover software can't find a specific book for you, try other websites like Google Scholar.
You should definitely make the most of e-books. They're often a lot cheaper and you don’t necessarily need an e-reader – your phone or laptop will do the job, which is perfect for your last-minute seminar prep on the 699!
Budget, budget, budget
It’s always a good idea to create a weekly budget for yourself to control your spending, whoever you are. As a student in Liverpool though, you definitely need to be working out how much you want to spend per week on your food shop in Smithdown's Asda, nights out in Concert Square, shopping round Liverpool One and bus fayre for the 699.
You should also differentiate what you need to buy from what you want to buy. Essentials like your rent, food shopping and uni books should always come before luxuries like clothes from a vintage kilo sale in Mountford Hall, buying a Guild burrito after your lecture and takeaways from Harper's after a night on the lash.
If you need a more controlled way of budgeting, you can always get help from what is apparently every student's new fave app, Monzo.
Discounts are everywhere!
There are plenty of student discounts in 2019. From having Unidays and Student Beans to an NUS or student card, you can get money off pretty much anything (and most student cards already have an NUS feature on them, so be sure to double-check before purchasing a NUS membership). Whether you're spending your student loan in Liverpool One or grabbing a coffee on campus, keep your student ID on you always!
Railcards are your best friend
Purchasing a railcard is definitely worth the money. Buying a 16-25 railcard for just £30 saves you 1/3 off all train ticket prices for a whole year, and if your mum or dad has enough Tesco clubcard points you can get them for nothing!
A Santander student current account comes with a free 4-year 16-25 railcard (as well as a cheeky interest-free overdraft). If a train home isn't your thing, then you can also get a National Express coachcard with a NatWest student account. Always do your research, kids!
Some old but gold general tips
– Stop buying takeaway coffees – the £3 everyday adds up! Instead buy a flask and take your own coffee with you. We know a freshly made Starbucks from the Guild can be tempting, but we must resist…
– Avoid buying bottles of water – not only is this bad for the environment, but once again it’s a money drainer. Buy yourself a water bottle, VSCO girl style; that way you can always refill in the SJ during a long essay-writing session.
– Don't get a uni gym membership if you're just gonna use it to run on a treadmill in front of that person you know from your seminar, jogging outside in Sefton Park or along the Docks is a much nicer experience!
– If you're in second year and living in Smithdown or Kenny, try not to get a bus pass – walk to your lectures and get the 86 bus to and from nights out!
– Cut out takeaways from Nabzy's and bad habits like smoking if you can.
– Make sure you’re getting all the finance you’re entitled to; don't let your uni hold your money hostage!
– Buy your food shopping in bulk from Asda or Aldi on Smithdown with your flat or house mate.
– Sell your unwanted event tickets, textbooks etc. on Smithdown Ticket Exchange on Facebook.
Managing your own money sounds a lot more intimidating than it is. Once you familiarise yourself with the way student life in Liverpool works, it'll become a lot easier. So good luck and have fun, and be sure to leave enough money to treat yourself to an American Pizza Slice now and again!