The top 5 student saver apps

Phone

Being a student means living off a student loan, or maybe a small amount of cash from part-time work whilst you’re studying. This means being careful with your money and budgeting where possible. Therefore, students are forever trying to find deals, money off here, free items there…but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy yourself and be able to buy yourself those shoes you’ve been dreaming of or have the money to be able to purchase a present for somebody on their birthday.

So…I have done some research into the top 5 apps which I think could help students save money. These apps also helped me when I was at university, and I am still using them now as a new graduate! You don’t have to be rich to treat yourself every now and again and can still enjoy being able to buy your most wanted items without breaking the bank as well as having the knowledge of controlling your money.

Vinted – This app is great for finding those second hand bargains. I know a few people out there who are either embarrassed to say they shop in charity shops or are even too sceptical about entering one! But fear no longer. With Vinted you have a charity shop at your finger tips (minus the old people’s clothes). Not only can you find great items from all the top high street stores, you can even find items that haven’t been worn for half the price. Vinted does a range of clothing, shoes and accessories for women, men and even babies/children which is great if you are shopping for someone else. If there is something I have needed in the past I have gone straight to Vinted rather than hit the high street shops first because guaranteed I can get it for cheaper and sometimes not even worn! The app itself protects you just like eBay so you have no worries about someone scamming you and wandering off with your money as Vinted do a job at making sure your money is safe until you say that you’ve received your item. You can leave feedback and even become a ‘Vintie’ and sell items yourself making yourself extra cash for those clothes that you just don’t want anymore.

Unidays – Just like the NUS student card, Unidays offers you great discounts on all your favourite high street stores. In fact H&M are just one of the shops that don’t allow NUS student cards but every now and again they allow you to provide them with your Unidays ID straight from your phone to receive a nifty 20% off your items in store. You can shop online for online stores such as ASOS and Boohoo using Unidays which usually saves you 10% or even 20% for those limited time only offers. It’s a great saver and the best part is that it is FREE, which means you aren’t forking out £20 just to save yourself the money in the first place!

Just Eat, Hungry House and Domino’s – I know, I know, these are three different apps but as a student we are all known for our love of those naughty take aways right?! But why not check out what deals you can blag first. Just Eat and Hungry House usually offer 20% discounts at weekends (when you are more than likely to have those duvet days). So why not save yourself the money and see what you can find first. If you have Twitter, they are usually likely to post what discounts they have on there first so make sure you check regularly to see what you can find. Domino’s also does great deals if you are ordering for more than 1 person and their app is a great way to see what sort of deals they have going first before you order one standard pizza.

Your personal bank app – It goes without saying to have your personal bank’s (such as Natwest or Santander) app on your phone. It’s a very quick and easy way to keep track of your own spending as a student as well as being able to transfer money easily to another account or somebody else. At university I was forever checking my account to make sure I was sticking to my budget and even managed to set up a little savings account online which helped me to transfer my weekly allowance to my main account to prevent me from over spending on my card. You can keep track of your money without having to head to a cash point on the street where others could be prying over your shoulder. With it all being protected and safe with your own unique pin you shouldn’t have problems with anybody else accessing your account either.

Vouchercloud – This app gets a lot of praise and after downloading it half way through my 1st year at uni I started to understand what all the hype was about. The sheer simplicity of the app was a real selling point to me (although it is free to download!). You can search for deals via your location so you can see which shops or restaurants around you will save you the most money and I can honestly say it’s saved me a lot with eating out! I still use it now as a recent graduate as you don’t necessarily have to be a student to use this app. Although, I can easily say it’s probably saved me a lot as a student with the ability to eat in some of the fancier restaurants rather than your local fast food joint. It’s a very speedy app right at your finger tips which can save you a lot of money and I highly recommend it to all students!

So there we have it my top 5 student saving apps. There are so many that I could recommend to help students save but these are 5 which I feel have saved me the most hassle at university with the ability to budget, save and be able to treat yourself too.

Have you tried any of these apps? What do you think? Are there any others you could recommend to students? Comment below!

Avoiding the worst money situations as a Fresher

Money

So, you’ve just started your university journey and are away from home for the first time which also means perhaps for some, looking after yourself for the first time too! For me, when I started university, I was older than the average student so had already gained some life skills away from home and was never too dependent on my parents. But for some, it can be a massive step to really fending for yourself for the first time and that’s where I can help. Saying that though, when it came to money I was never very good at controlling my budgets and when I entered university it was a massive shock (queue monkey covering eyes emoji here…). Yes, you do get a student loan but spending it all in the first few weeks is definitely not what you want to do, especially in the first term when it is the longest of the three in the academic year. I made this simple mistake and I had to call the bank of Dad to help me out. Needless to say, by the time I had finished university I was more in control of my money and I had learnt a very good life lesson.

So here I have some great tips on how to avoid a situation like mine in the first term at university!

Managing your money is the most important thing you can learn whilst being at university, apart from actually gaining your degree of course! If you can’t learn to manage your money it will lead to all sorts of complications, such as not having enough to feed yourself to fuel your brain for those all important deadlines and exams to not being money conscious when you leave university. Plus, if you don’t budget your money, how will you ever know how much you have left over for socialising or shopping with?

Organise a budget for yourself. My best tip would be to work out what you have left to spend at the end of each week (after rent and bills) and then separate that into categories such as: food, going out, clothes etc. then take that amount and leave your card in your room in a safe and secure place. I find this helps because it stops you from spending little bits here and there when you have your card on you 24/7, as each little bit really does add up!

Get a student account. Most banks offer student accounts with some perks for signing up also. They offer interest free overdrafts (which trust me, do come in handy in emergencies) and I even got a free four year rail card too! It’s worth it because the little costs of these also add up.

Saving whilst spending is every students’ dream! As a student you get discount in most retail shops and even restaurants and trust me when I say, take advantage of this. When you head out into the adult world after university and can’t take advantage of the discount anymore it makes you realise just how much it was worth having. It may not seem like a massive saving at the time but adding up student discount over your three or four year course will make you realise just how much you saved on all your shopping and eating out.

HOWEVER discount is great but if you have to ask yourself the question ‘should I REALLY be buying this?!’ then stop right there. The answer is NO. You probably shouldn’t. If the item you want is just too expensive, look for a cheaper alternative. Once I got into the swing of money saving at university my friends were forever asking me ‘where did you get that from?’ and ‘hey! I paid so much more for the SAME item!’

Apps and websites can really help to also make you money. Get rid of those unwanted clothes on apps or websites such as eBay, Vinted, Depop and Gumtree. You can also make money from shopping with Top CashBack and Quidco. Sign up, read the terms and conditions and get started. As the saying always goes ‘One man’s trash is another man’s treasure’ and you will be surprised at how much stuff you can get rid of to make some extra cash.

Another tip I will add is for students to make their own budget spreadsheets and write down everything they spend using the categories’ technique explained above. This way you can keep on top of your spending weekly, monthly, annually and review it like I did every month. You can then see where you could cut back on your spending and save it for something else or simply just pop it in a savings account for a rainy day or for travelling after university, the choices are endless if you can become a money conscious student!