Making the most of your money

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There are many ways to make your money stretch a little bit further and here are a selection of our favourites:

1) Loyalty Cards


An essential cost for all of us is food shopping, and if you don’t have the loyalty card for your go to shops then you are missing out on free money.  Tesco’s and Sainsbury’s two of the big 4 supermarkets, both have points based loyalty cards, and many people can rack up enough points throughout the year for a cheeky treat at Christmas or a free weeks shopping when you really need it.  When you use your nectar card at Sainsbury’s you will often get a till spit, which is additional points often on products you would usually buy.  The local coop is often a go to for students, as they tend to be conveniently placed and open until that little bit later.  The coop can be a little pricier that than the big 4 but that said they have some great reductions and you also get 10% off when you present your NUS Card, combine that with your coop loyalty card and they will give you 5% back on any own brand products, whilst also donating to a local cause.  Also did you know that even when items are reduced in the Co-op that you can still take advantage of their offers, so for example fresh pizza’s are often reduced and often on 3 for 2.  You can still get 3 for 2 when they are reduced.

2) No frills supermarkets

Aldi and Lidl are the no frills, often no brands supermarket but they make a big difference to how much your shopping can cost.  According to the May edition of “The Grocer” an average basket of essentials such as milk, bread, eggs etc could be 27% cheaper at Aldi, Lidl was not included in the survey but their prices are similar.  According to the Student Money Survey 2015 from Save the Student, the average student spends just under £30 per week on food, so shopping here could reduce your shop to £20 per week shop or give you 30% more food!

3) Apps


Apps only really apply to shopping that you do in the mainstream supermarkets.  You can often get freebies and or good money off some of your regular shopping.  For example, now you can get a free can of Orchard Thieves Cider at Sainsbury’s and Tesco!  The offers change on a daily basis so it is always worth checking what is listed when doing your shopping.  Click snap is part of the Quidco group, and it is possibly the quickest way to get your cashback from your purchases, with money transferred into your Quidco account usually within 7 days.  Checkout Smart allows you to withdraw free once you have reached £19.  Always have a look and if it’s something you buy then it may be worth visiting one of the big four but just for this product. 

4) Cashback


Moving away from food shopping and talking about shopping more generally cashback is a really easy way to get money for free.  There are 2 main sites, quidco and topcashback.  You register with them and then search their database for the shop you intend to use – so for example if you’re going bowling.  Plug in Tenpin bowling and get yourself some cashback, sometimes it may only be 5% other times though it can be 20% or more. 

The other great thing about cashback sites is they have an in store option as well when you register your card.  Quidco is best for Visa and Topcashback mainly have Mastercard deals.  If you need to buy insurance or broadband deals you can get some whopping cashback deals, with over £70 being earnt on a single insurance purchase. 

5) Eating out v’s Eating in

It’s a fact of student life that you are going to eat out and order takeaways.  Make sure you do it as cheap as you can.

Voucher cloud is a popular app that once installed on your phone, tells you useful information such as Nandos currently has a 20% off code or that there is a free cup of coffee from Nero if you pay with Mastercard.

If you have an NUS then it is always worth asking, what is the worst they can say – No!!  On the other hand pizza express may well give you up to 40% off on certain nights of the week.

Ordering Takeaways through Just Eat can also take some of the sting off of a takeaway, particularly through the cashback sites, as depending on the offer that the time these can provide you with £10 or £20 off codes.

6) Travel

Students can save a fortune with just a little advance planning; buying train tickets at least 12 weeks in advance can often see you with a single to London for £13.  Check National Rail for ticket prices and times.   The other way to get cheap train tickets is to split your ticket, invariably you stay on the same train and sometimes even in the same seat but you can halve the cost, find out more at Train   Be aware that this site charges you a booking fee, so find out how and where to split your ticket and then go back to National Rail to actually make the booking.

16-25 railcards, also available to all full time Higher Education students whatever your age, can save you up to 1/3 off your travel price on top of splitting your ticket etc.

Megabus are great for getting a cheap coach back home, they leave regularly and have come a long way from the double decker bus that used to go all around the country!  Fares start from as little as £1, and it’s also worth looking at the Mega Train which leaves from Exeter.