With my second year of university coming up, it is almost time for me to get my student budgeting mindset back on track so that I can save as much as I possibly can. As anyone who goes to university knows or what those about to start this September will soon find out, one of the biggest expenses of university is socialising. Like I am literally sat here saving most of my pennies for all the inevitable cocktails and meals out I am going to be having, rather than any ingredients I will need for the much cheaper option of making home cooked meals.
So this brings me on to my biggest weakness; spending. I understand that literally every person is a ‘spendaholic’ in some way or another, but it really is a habit that as a student I can quite literally not afford to have. By spending, I mean that if I have an event or social gathering coming up, it is natural for me to automatically be on the look out for a brand spanking new outfit for the sake of a couple of hours. I do not think to resort back to my expansive wardrobe that is already abnormally large compared to most of my friends’, where I probably have something ideal to wear on a night out that I have most likely only even worn once before. Unfortunately, this is not how my logic works.
In terms of socialising at university too, I am the first to say yes if someone suggests going to eat out or for some flashy cocktails at a nice bar. Even if I have been moaning only 5 minutes before about how broke I am, I just cannot resist. Maybe I do have that common case of FOMO* that most students will experience, but again it is a result of my ‘spendaholic-ism’ (ok, I’m just making these up now).
So if you find yourself really identifying with this, here are a couple of things to consider if you too are guilty of over-spending on things you most definitely could of saved that will surely help you save some serious P’s whilst at university.
1. Sales and Reduced Products.
When at university, sales are your best friend. If you really cannot help yourself like myself when it comes to buying a new outfit for every occasion, at least try to make it a reasonable purchase. Plus we all know how good that feeling of getting more for your money feels and therefore, treating yourself does not feel so bad then. Utilise your favourite high street fashion retailers sales’ to the best of your ability and stock up. Got a friends birthday coming up? Sale. Christmas presents to buy? Be super prepared and buy them in the Summer/Autumn sales. A dressy occasion? S-A-L-E.
As well as reduced clothes, reduced food is also going to be your new companion. If you are not much of an avid chef like that that prefers to decide what to have for dinner as and when, hit that reduced section. Supermarkets like Tesco and Sainsbury’s will always have a small section of reduced food, so if you have not had chance to plan what to have for dinner one evening because you have been too busy meeting your 3000 word count, you can snatch up a bargain just before it’s sell by date is up. Obviously foods like bread, some fruit and veg or snacks are no good if they are coming to the end of their sell by dates/use by dates as you need them to last in order to get your money’s worse. However, last minute dinners, sandwiches for lunch or snacks like fruit packets are ideal for some reduced goodness. A little tip if you leave nearby a Tesco Express, we eventually sussed out the time of night that they would start marking food down and would hit they store at prime reduced time. They reduce things like fresh pastries from their bakery section for as little as 20p! What can I say? Tough times hey.
2. Age is but a number.
No matter how old a piece of clothing is, do not put it to waste. If it is a beloved item but the length of time it has been sat in your wardrobe is putting you off wearing it again, do NOT throw it away. Put it together with a more recently bought item and wear it with confidence as if it is brand new off the shelf every time. Find new ways to wear and style it, if it is a pair of jeans for example: add some rips, cut and deconstruct the hem or turn them into denim cut offs! Just do NOT throw them away if they are still in perfectly good condition. Jackets are my particular favourite item to haul and although I think a denim jacket never goes out of fashion, if you are finding yourself avoiding wearing something like, maybe add some embroidered iron-on badges to give it a whole new look. Don’t replace, revive!
3. Put it on Depop.
If number 2 just is not working for you and you really do need to get rid or de-clutter your wardrobe, depop that shit! Don’t just throw it away, use the app to easily sell your unwanted items. That way your old clothes can fund your new clothes (don’t listen to this advice, I just have a shopping addiction) – it’s a win win that way though! As a student, using Depop can be much handier than the likes of eBay because you are selling to a similar audience with similar interests, rather than just a huge variety of everything. It is much more niche, retro and great for any vintage or ‘wavy garms’ you may have. The layout of the app also reflects similarly to an Instagram feed, so your style and personality can shine through your sellable items, giving you a much better chance of selling your items for a higher price.
4. Dinner parties and cocktail nights.
How about one week, instead of dolling up and going to spend £20+ on 3 cocktails, host your own cocktail night to save you and your friends some dollar. Everyone brings a sprit each, you grab some of that Tesco’s own juice and bring The Alchemist to your kitchen. Head to a Flying Tiger for some decorative bits and bobs as well as mixers and straws for prices between £1-£3 and there you have it, a makeshift bar all for the price of one cocktail itself.
If you are also sick of giving in to the temptation of eating out all the time, you could host a ‘Come Dine With Me’ themed dinner party where everyone cooks a dish each so that everyone leaves full, socially satisfied and not as out of pocket than if you had gone to Nando’s for the third time that week. The more the merrier too, get everyone round for a fajita night and once everyone is assigned ingredients to contribute you have a feast for less than £2 each. Bargain!
5. Tee-rrific prices.
So if you do find yourself looking for something new but reasonable, a cute t-shirt is exactly what you need. With graphic and slogan tee’s being so in right now, they are perfect to style with almost any outfit and also, super reasonable. Along with your trusty student discount, you cannot go wrong with a t-shirt for £12-£18 that you can pair with jeans, skirts or trousers all day, everyday.
My recent purchase of this bright red ‘Mon Cheri’ Topshop t-shirt was such a bargain and left me feeling guilt-free for spending. I wore it with some old, yet still beloved high-waist black palazzo pants that I bought in the Topshop sale for £5 (yes, £5!) years and years ago and popped on my platform old skool vans for edge, and some height! A couple months earlier I again, went for the French theme with a pop of red and some additional Gucci vibes with this fabulous ‘Merci Mon Cheri’ t-shirt, also from Topshop and £15.
I do think Topshop are particular really pulling of their graphic/slogan tee’s at the minute so here are a few of my favourites that are all funky little numbers for under £20 that are guaranteed to extend your French vocab too.
A huge good luck those going to university in September, it will be some of the best (and most stressful) times of your lives. Happy saving!
FOMO* – The Fear of Missing Out (A medically proven-ish condition that effects all university students at some point).