Student life can be a struggle financially, and even the most frugal fresher can struggle to make ends meet once course fees, equipment and rent have been accounted for. And where those annoying BT ads imply it’s about trendy, city-centre apartments, playing video games and stalking female housemates – the most irritating of the three, Simon apparently, is clearly a restraining order in the making – the reality is more about scrimping and saving, skull-crushing part time jobs and altercations with pensioners at the supermarket reductions counter. So, to save you the ignominy of having to be surgically separated from a wooden walking stick, we’ve come up with five tips that could save you money.
Watch television for free
TV licensing authorities are pretty hot on students’ heels when it comes to television licences - something that may or may not be the fault of The Young Ones – but did you know that the terms state that you must only pay the fee if you watch or record television as it is broadcast.
So, this means that you do not need a licence to watch shows over the internet via the on-demand services such as the BBC iPlayer and 4OD. Whatsmore, by connecting your laptop to the the TV you can watch these programmes as you would normal television – but free of charge!
Cheap telephone calls
Although most of us now have smartphones – or at least a mobile of some description – that come with free call time included, there’s still a place for the good old-fashioned landline and you’ll probably need one installed if you have broadband connection. But you’ll find that making calls to mobiles from your landline is expensive and, if you’re a foreign student, it can be expensive calling the your friends and family back home.
However, if you use access codes, such as those provided by CheapCalls.co.uk you can not only get calls to international numbers from as little as 0.5p per minute but can also get cheap calls to mobiles from your landline.
There’s no need to sign up or enter any payment information, access codes are provided free of charge and you’re just billed as normal by your normal provider – only it’s cheaper!
Free love (well, free condoms)
No matter how many times you do it, there’s still something slightly embarrassing about buying condoms; you’ll hover around the display for a few seconds, do the shifty look around before whipping your arm towards the shelf and back in a move reminiscent of a frog’s tongue catching a fly. One more shifty look around then off to the till where the pressure can get so bad that you just feel like shouting to the cashier “YES! I’m planning on having sex! Is that alright with you?!”
However, these feelings soon dissipate as soon as you’re told how much you’ll have to cough up for the things. But all of this can be done away with courtesy of a quick trip to your GP or family planning clinic where, not only will you be given a bumper pack of prophylactics, but you won’t feel quite so embarrassed about getting them. While you’re there – the clinic, not the supermarket cash register – you could also get tested for any sexually transmitted infections and get advice on sexual health matters.
Get student discounts
You’re probably well aware that you can use your NUS card to get discounts in places from ASOS to Zizzi, but there are also plenty of places that offer will student discounts but won’t actually advertise that they do so.
So, as well as taking your NUS card out with you, make sure you take your university card along too and just ask the cashier if they offer student discounts – though maybe not if it’s the same cashier you berated for looking at you as she scanned your pack of featherlite’s through! In all seriousness though, you will be surprised how many places offer student discounts so don’t be afraid to ask.
Got any more top money saving tips? Let us know in the box below…