The student life is no joke. It’s hard enough moving out of our parents homes where we have our meals cooked, the house cleaned for us and we’re basically lifted and laid to, but to try and throw money worries on top of that is just a nightmare! I’ve come up with a list of a few things you can do to make your student budget stretch and allow you to stay on top of the latest trends
When buying items for your wardrobe, try to make sure they’re versatile! There’s no point buying a top that will only go with one skirt you own when you can buy one that goes with everything! Most of the clothes I buy are monochromatic, or can go with almost anything I own. That way, I can definitely get wear out of them and I’m not wearing the same outfit all the time (although I am guilty of this when I find something I love)
2. Don’t Underestimate the Classics
Sometimes it can be really tempting to buy in to the latest trend, but most of the time they only last a season or two if you’re lucky. Then you can be left with a load of clothes that are completely out of style which is such a waste of money! Although it’s nice to splurge and buy these items the odd time, it’s better to invest your cash in some classic pieces that never go out of style. I’m hoping to do a blog post in the future on student wardrobe essentials that will see you from first to final year so keep an eye out for that!
3. Make Use of Student Discounts
One of the best parts of the student life is being able to avail of student discounts! I know for a fact that when I graduate I’ll chance my arm with my student card or else force my brother to call in to shops or use his Unidays account so I can buy online! Unidays and Student Beans both allow you to find online discount codes for some of your favourite high street and online brands including New Look, Top Shop, Missguided, Spotify and so many more! Sign up for Unidays here and Student Beans here. Don’t be afraid to ask in stores for a student discount too and make sure you always have your student card on you!
4. Learn about Overdrafts
Most banks with student accounts will offer overdraft facilities with 0% fees up until the year after you graduate! This means that after you graduate you have a year to pay off your debt before you start getting charged. Although getting in to even more debt during your time at uni isn’t the best thing, I definitely wouldn’t have been able to survive without this facility! My plan is to pay off my overdraft while I’m on my placement year and start with a fresh slate for final year. Contact your bank to learn more about their policies for student overdrafts
5. Learn to Budget
In business studies in school I learned all about budgeting, little did I know that it would actually be useful after my Junior Cert was over! First list your income and then try to make a list of all your spending, grouping it in to three different categories;
- money you have to spend which the amount can’t change e.g bills
- money you have to spend where the amount can vary e.g groceries
- money you don’t have to spend e.g. nights out
Start off by trying to cut down on the money you don’t have to spend. This doesn’t mean completely eliminating spending, even cutting down on the amount you’re spending now can help. One thing I always do is bring £20 on a night out and some change for taxis, but I never bring my card so I can’t spend any more than that. After you’ve cut down on this spending you can try to cut down on the money you have to spend but the amount can vary. I try to spend no more than £15 on my groceries a week (of course this can vary) Buying my groceries online really helps with this because I can constantly see the amount in my basket and can take out what I don’t need at the checkout if it’s too much which really helps me cut down on impulse buying. This gives me more money to play around with and spend on clothes, makeup and of course drinks!
6. Check out Second Hand
Before shelling out your hard earned cash in a high street shop for something, have a look at some online second hand and swap sites to see if you can find anything similar first. Depop is is a mobile, social shopping app that allows you to buy, sell and swap clothes with other users. You can find some great second hand items on here, most of which are like new and you can often find things that have never been worn! You can even sell some of your clothes that you don’t wear to fund new purchases. Find Depop on the iTunes and Google Play store.
7. Ditch the Textbooks
Of course the main reason you’re at university is to study, but you don’t have to shell out a couple of hundred quid on textbooks every term. Look online and see if you can find PDFs of the textbook you need, and if you can’t the University library should have a copy of all required textbooks. If not, let them know and they might try to order in a few copies. But if you really need that textbook, consider splitting it with a friend and sharing the book, and definitely try to sell it on to students the following year!
8. Don’t Throw Away Your Old Clothes Yet
So many people throw away their old clothes without even thinking! First of all, like I said before, you could try selling them to earn some extra cash, but you could also try your hand at DIY. One of my pet peeves is when my black jeans start to go grey. A great trick I do is buy some clothing dye and dye them black and they’re just like new! Dye usually only costs a couple of quid so it’s a great way to give your old clothes a new lease of life.
Try getting creative and think of how you can repurpose your old clothes to fit new trends too. Skinny Dip sell some really cool patches and pins that you could add to jazz up something old, or you could get really crafty and sew beads, lace or anything you can think of to your clothes to give them a new lease of life! There’s plenty of ideas on Pinterest about this so no excuses not to try!
9. Check out the Cheap Stores First
I will admit, sometimes I can be a bit of a clothes snob. I don’t do it intentionally, it’s just in my head I think if I pay more for something it’ll be better quality. But that’s not always the case. Admittedly, I hadn’t shopped for clothes in Penneys in a long time, and last time I was in, I was pleasantly surprised by the selection they had. Their designers have been paying attention to trends and some of the items wouldn’t look out of place in more expensive shops! My past misconceptions that Penneys clothes look cheap was definitely rectified when I saw how nice some of their items are. Definitely check out their homeware, makeup and accessories too as I have always been a fan of these departments and would usually walk past all the clothes to get to these sections! I would definitely check out Penneys, and other stores like TK MAXX, H&M, Forever 21 and New Look to see what they have because they can surprise you!
10. SALES SALES SALES
Unfortunately, although I would love to be, I am not queen of the sales. I hate going in to shops with racks and racks of sale stock where you can’t see a thing, and try and dig for something I like. Every time I’ve tried to do this I’ve usually given up because I just couldn’t be bothered. The only way I’ve been able to successfully shop a sale is if I get someone to help me find something I like, (s/o to Nanette for showing me RI sale stuff she thinks I’ll like!) or shopping the sales online. I’m subscribed to the email service of so many shops so I get notified of their sales straight away. Online sale shopping is definitely the way to go, or else if you’re like try and find a friend who works in retail to keep an eye out for good pieces!
Thanks for reading,