Mammy isn’t around to remind you to eat all your greens – planning and self discipline are more important than ever now that you’re out in the Big Bad World.
Binge drinking and late night takeaways can take their toll, so to avoid the ‘Freshers 15’ start making smart choices with your diet and ensure that it provides you with the brain fuel you need to keep you ticking over throughout the term.
1. Pack your own lunch
Invest in a lunchbox and prepare your own lunches every morning. Not only does it save you heaps of money, but it also encourages you to eat healthily by avoiding convenience food and greasy cafeteria meals. Refill your water bottle at college fountains, but be sure to change your bottle regularly to keep it hygienic.
2. Buy fresh
Shop in large supermarkets like Lidl or Aldi rather than relying on small convenience stores. Stock up on fresh fruit and vegetables at local markets to get more bang for your buck.
Saving money doesn’t mean sacrificing your social life- it just involves a little more creativity.
3. Join societies
Not only are they a much better way to make likeminded friends, societies are also a great way of socialising without breaking the bank. Movie screenings, pizza nights and guest lectures are a great way for a savvy student to spend their evening without spending your moolah.
4. Get involved in sports clubs
Ditch the expensive gym membership and instead get involved in a club. It’s a great way to keep fit and meet new people. If you’re not the athletic sort, fear not – from trampolining to ultimate frisbee, you’re bound to find your niche.
5. Take advantage of college amenities
Keep an eye out for free classes in yoga, dance and kick boxing in your college’s gym. Use your library access for leisure reading and renting movies for free. Improve your skills set by learning a new language and make use of all the resources available to you.
6. Choose your friends wisely
Don’t hang out with big spenders. While Sorcha over in D4 may have daddy footing the bill, keep your budget in mind and don’t allow peer pressure to allow you to take on expensive habits.
7. Review your booklist: Don’t buy everything on your booklist before the semester starts. Get well acquainted with the library and what materials will be available for you. All lecturers will tell you that their books are essential, when it simply isn’t the case. Even the free previews on google books are invaluable sources for citing in essays and bulking up your bibliography.
8. Contact former students: Get in touch with someone who has done your course and ask what books they needed- often times they’ll be delighted to sell you their books for much cheaper prices. BuyandSell’s books section and second hand shops are good for paperback novels, but for degrees requiring more specialised books (e.g. law and medicine) check out amazon.
10. Student card savings: Research which shops give student discounts and make big savings, particularly in clothing stores such as Topman, Awear and New Look. Our website has some fantastic deals on both men’s clothing and women’s wear. A number of hairdressers such as Peter Mark also offer student rates, as well as food outlets like Wagamama, Apache Pizza and Zumo.
11. Cut down on vices: While college years are usually a time of excess, moderated drinking and cutting down on or giving up cigarettes will do wonders for your cash flow.
If you’re moving out of home into rented accommodation, you probably won’t have much dosh left over for beautifying your new pad. Check out our house and home section and furnish your crib for a fraction of the cost!
When looking for accommodation, take into account:
12. Cost of rent: factor in your deposit (and the likelihood of getting it back), the cost of utilities (get a ballpark figure from your landlord and decide before you move in how it will be divided) and the length of your contract (if you must accept a 12 month contract but only intend on living there for 9, will you be allowed to sublet?)
13. Distance from college: After rent, transport is often the next biggest expense. For most cash strapped students, owning a car with the associated costs for petrol and parking is simply out of the question. If you cannot afford to live within walking distance of college, be sure that you’re on a very regular bus route. Alternatively, check out our guide to buying a second hand bike which is a convenient alternative to depending on public transport. BuyandSell.ie constantly has a vast supply of men’s bikes and bicycles for ladies, so be sure to check listings and snap up a bargain!
14. Accessibility to amenities: you’ll want to station yourself nearby a large supermarket so that you won’t become reliant on more expensive convenience stores. Take into account that you won’t always feel like heading into the city for a pint of milk and that you’ll be carting around your shopping bags yourself.
15. Educate yourself: The best way to get the most out of your finances is by informing yourself of your options. Don’t just throw out all the information banks provide to you during fresher’s week, but actually take the time to read them. A good start is to open a student’s savings account, which will exempt you from certain bank fees.