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Students: 7 steps to saving £50 a month

Living on a budget isn't always easy. But follow these simple steps and you could save some much needed cash each month.
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It's the same old story - students have no money. With rent costs, textbooks and eating your weight in pesto pasta, money is tight. Use these seven tools to add up to £50 to your savings each month. Or spend it on a celebratory drink or two...

Step 1: Plan ahead

When it comes to saving money, budgeting is the name of the game. List all your monthly bills. Calculate the average amount you spend on something like food and decide how much you'd like to spend every month. Apps like Yolt and Money Dashboard can help too. You've heard it before, but it does work. With that taken care of, you'll know you can have some cheesy chips at 3 am on a Tuesday. And feel completely guilt free.

Step 2: Say yes to push notifications

Mobile apps for digital banks — and even some mainstream current accounts — will send a notification to your mobile every time you use your debit card, detailing how much you spent and where. Compare bank accounts and you could find a new one that helps you save money. Compare current accounts with our table here or see our guide to finding the best current account for students here.

Step 3: Get a piggy bank

Many new money apps like Monzo help you save money by rounding up every transaction and saving it. You can then get it out at the end of the month. If you spend £3.50 on a drink, 50p goes in your savings. And when you take it out at the end of the month, it will feel like free money.

Step 4: Take advantage of discounts

One of the best perks of being a student is the discounts. It's a luxury. If you plan to buy something, how about putting the money you would have saved into a separate account? Food shops like Co-op offer a 10% discount for students. This could save you money on essentials like food, toiletries and more.

Step 5: Leave your debit card at home

Everyone deserves a night out with their friends. But a couple of pints can quickly turn into doing shots with some tourists. Before you know it, you've spent your week's budget in one night. To save yourself, agree with your friends before you leave how much cash you're taking. Then leave your cards behind. Or get a prepaid card that you load each day. That way your headache the next day is from the drinks, not how much you spent.

Step 6: Never shop for food when you're hungry

We've all been there. You nip out for some milk and you spy the snacks section. A couple of frozen pizzas and a tub of Ben & Jerry's later, and you're £10 down. There's nothing wrong with treating yourself once in a while, but the idea is don't go shopping when you're hungry. Keep some emergency biscuits in the cupboard instead.

Step 7: Second-hand is not second best

Most degrees will need textbooks. And they're not cheap. Go to an online second-hand website instead of the university bookshop, or use Blackwell's second-hand service. You will normally get the book you want in good condition for around half the price. You could even sell it back to them when you graduate. And if you find someone else's notes in the margin? Win win.

Help stretch your budget a little further by making the most of your savings.

About Salman Haqqi

Salman is our personal finance editor with over 10 years’ experience as a journalist. He has previously written for Finder and regularly provides his expert view on financial and consumer spending issues for local and national press such as The Express, Travel Daily, and The Daily Star.

View Salman Haqqi's full biography here or visit the money.co.uk press centre for our latest news.

About Salman Haqqi (personal finance expert)

View Salman Haqqi (personal finance expert)'s full biography here or visit the money.co.uk press centre for our latest news.