From skimming 10% to choosing cash over card, read out top money-saving tips for students! Being a student is difficult at the best of times, but throw in a pandemic which stops you from having your part-time job to support your finances and you’re in a really sticky situation. Pete Mugleston, money expert and MD of, shares his top budgeting tips for students to help them through, not just the pandemic but life in general:

Keep track of your spending

This is one that can’t be emphasised enough. Make sure you know exactly how much money you have coming in and going out each month, then you’ll be able to work out the exact amount you have left. Anything that isn’t rent or bills, make note of when you spent it, what it was and how much you spent. That way, every penny you spend is accounted for and you always know where you’re at financially – this will also allow you to spot areas where you can afford to make cuts.

Use the skimming trick

Skimming | When you experience the excitement of money hitting your account, whether that’s your maintenance loan, some birthday money, wages or anything else, skim 10% off the top and put it into a savings account straight away. Even if you only manage to save £20 a month, at the end of the year you’ll be £240 better off.

Claim loyalty points when you shop

It’s so easy to get yourself a reward card and hoard points to claim money off at your favourite shops. At the very least, get one for your most used supermarket. Most reward cards will not only let you collect points to get money off, but they also give you free treats, regular coupons and many other discounts.

Only take cash on a night out

With the end of lockdown in sight, you’re one step closer to be able to go out with your friends again, but drunken nights out are a dangerous way to spend more money than you planned. If you only take cash out with you, you’re sure to never go over budget.

Round up your spending

A lot of bank accounts now run a ‘Save the Change’ scheme. Each time you pay with a debit card, your spend is rounded up to the nearest pound and the left over is nudged into your savings account. It’s a really easy way to let your pennies add up without you even noticing they’re gone.

Don’t do a food shop when you’re hungry

It might make sense to go shopping whenever you fancy picking up dinner, but that’s a sure-fire way to spend more than you need to. If you’re feeling peckish, you’re far more likely to buy any food that takes your fancy, and you’ll likely end up buying a load of stuff that you don’t need or that will go off before you have the chance to consume it. Doing one big food shop each week will make sure you have less risk of impulse buys.

Open a student bank account

Big banks love tempting students with 0% overdrafts and free stuff, but there are very easy ways to choose the right student account. Most students will need an overdraft at uni, so make sure you’re not charged for it; aim to get the biggest amount that will last as long as possible. Don’t just go for the one with the best freebie; calculate the value of the freebie and then compare that account’s overdraft with the best on offer. Would the interest charged on the difference be more than the cost of the freebie?

Don’t buy new books

At the start of each term, you’ll likely be given a list of books you’ll need over the year. Depending on your course, some textbooks can really break the bank and leave you out of pocket, so be sure to look at secondhand options, or see if your local library has a copy so you’ll have access to them without forking out for them brand new.

Learn to cook

It can be very tempting to live off takeaways at uni, purely because it’s easier than cooking every night, but if you take the time to learn the basics of cooking, it’ll really help stretch your cash much further and it’s a lot healthier too. Save takeaways for an occasional weekend treat.

From skimming 10% to choosing cash over card, use these top money-saving tips to help save your cash!