It’s the start of a new year, which inevitably brings an enormous outlay for books, stationary, paper, furniture, clothes, bus passes… the list goes on. If you’re feeling the pinch before term has even begun, here are some easy money-savers.
1) Collect loyalty cards
Amass as many as you can (providing you have space in your wallet). They tend to vary hugely in terms of rewards, but most are worth having. Every little helps, right? Make especially sure you have a Boots card, even if you’re male! Everyone needs toiletries, and with 4p back on every pound you spend it you’d be daft not to take advantage.
2) Get the train
In Bristol buses tend to be quite expensive (besides one- or two-stop journeys around the centre). Local trains, however, are a steal. When the conductor takes the time to come round and collect fares, which is almost never, singles are about 50p with a railcard, and the line connects useful stations such as Clifton, Redland and Temple Meads Station.
3) Use Freecycle
Freecycle pages all over the country are thriving, especiallyBristol’s. This is a particularly good one if you’re moving out of halls and into an unfurnished house or flat – you can save a fortune on sofas, chairs, tables, small appliances and even bigger, more expensive bits like fridges and mattresses.
4) Buy your textbooks online
The campus bookshop might be cheap, but not as cheap as Amazon! Competitive pricing between sellers means you can get books for incredibly low prices – especially novels, which are often pennies (plus p&p).
5) Sell your stuff
If you’re having to blow heaps of money on books at the beginning of term, it might be worth selling off some of last term’s. It’s dead easy to open a seller’s account with Amazon, and depending on how much they’re worth you can make a killing selling off old books. Plus, for some textbooks, the site is now running a buyback scheme, where Amazon will pay for the postage and credit you with a gift voucher to be used on the site.
6) Borrow DVDs from the university library
You’d be surprised how many great films they have in stock! And rental is free, so long as you return them on time.
7) Be ruthless when food shopping
I have a friend who has a great technique for cutting down spending when she’s at the supermarket – when you get to the check-out, re-evaluate everything in your trolley. Take out anything that you don’t absolutely need or can’t afford and leave it behind. Be brutal!
Written by Lucy, Bristol.