Buying STUFF: 14 Top Tips to Saving Money

London wants our money. Everywhere you turn adverts show you what to buy, and inflated prices on just about everything means it’s basically the most expensive place to live ever. It’s no surprise then that many students’ money seems to disappear as soon as it enters their bank account. But have no fear, there are things you can do to combat the constant cash expulsion. Read on and start saving money.

1. Save

Put aside a proportion of whatever money you earn, or receive in your student loan and mark it as savings. 

2. Research

This is the most crucial part of finding the lowest prices for stuff. Look online at multiple websites that sell what you want, such as Amazon and eBay. Search Google for any discount codes that offer free delivery or a price cut. 

3. Make fewer small purchases

The most obvious tip to save money where making purchases is concerned would probably to try making less of them. We tend not to think of it, but small things do add up to a lot over time. For example, buying coffees regularly at University can turn into a large chunk of spending over the course of a year.

4. Kick your habit

Many students have a certain thing they spend money everyday on things that they don’t need, or even want, but just keep buying and using because of habit or addiction. This could be cigarettes, alcohol, fast food, or drugs. If this applies to you, seriously consider leaving this part of your life behind. Kicking detrimental habits firstly improves your health, but also puts an end to basically flushing money down the toilet.

5. Time is money

Consider all the time you have in the day as potential money in the bank. Use your time productively in a way that both saves you money or earns you money when possible.

6. Shop second hand

Big brand name clothing is a one way ticket to overdraft-ville, while second hand shopping is a huge money saver, whether it be on eBay, or in a charity/thrift shop. Although beware―thrift shop fever can often result in the purchase of clothes that look cool and useful at first, but end up just never being worn and eventually stuffed in the bin at the end of third year.

7. Be on the lookout for freebies

Especially in London, companies are very interested in simply getting you to see or try their product. For this reason there are often lots of free things to be given or collect from various places. This Facebook page was set up to notify it’s followers of these kinds of opportunities.

8. Keep an eye out for good deals / buy in bulk 

I would never advise people to buy things just because they are at a discount, however if you know you need something in the future then it makes sense to stock up on it when it’s on offer. Similarly this idea also applies to thinking about birthdays or Christmas presents ahead of time. Being receptive when a discount is available would be better than rushing to buy the same thing at the last minute.

9. London markets

Embracing the many markets of London can be a cheaper alternative to shops and supermarkets. Bartering also comes into play, which can be fun. Familiarise yourself with the many markets of London by this link.

10. Share and borrow

Many coffee shops in London have free ‘book swap’ shelves, where you are able to switch your books for something you haven't read. Furthermore UAL libraries are extensive and free to borrow books or movies. Even-furthermore―sharing books, films or clothes with friends is a gold-dust way to save money. 

11. Amazon Prime

Amazon Prime offers free 30 day trials, which include next day delivery on many items. This can save money during periods of many purchases, such as Christmas. And by buddying up with friends there’s nothing stopping you from buying each other things when your trial runs out.

12. Student cards and loyalty cards

The NUS card offers student discount for a number of high street and online shops. Get yours at this link. Furthermore store cards / loyalty cards that could potentially save you money in London. These allow you to earn ‘points’ whenever you make a purchase, which you can eventually use to buy something. Accept any free loyalty cards for shops you go to. I recommend the Star Locals card 

(free prosecco on your birthday), the Waitrose store card (free coffee), and the Harris & Hoole app (free coffee) .

13. UAL Fresher’s Fair

At the UAL fresher’s fair you will be overwhelmed at the amount of free stuff companies want to give to you. Accept it all, take every flyer that offers a discount or freebie, and decide whether you want to keep them later. 

14. Happiness is valuable

As useful as it is to save money, try to remember that University is of course a time enjoy yourself. Don’t stress over expensive purchases or wasted money―in London, it’s always going to happen. Happy saving!