With rising costs ever increasing and the threat of inflation increasing further we thought it be best to spring into this season with our top tips on how you can come out economically savvy and have extra savings or spends!!
For starters… we will say it loud enough for all to hear in the back “IT’S OKAY TO BE WORRIED OR ANXIOUS ABOUT THE COST OF LIVING CRISIS”.
So what can we do to squash the anxieties and worries and ensure that this spring we start off with more to spend or save?
Check out our top tips below!
Heating on Timer
More often than not we find that most students in our homes don’t know how to set their timer on their boiler and instead get into the habit of turning the boiler on and off at the switch (which really isn’t efficient) or dictate the temperature of the home via the communal thermostat with the heating being left on permanently. If you are lucky enough to live within one of our homes and you don’t know how to set your timer, we can organise for our gas engineer to attend the property and teach you how to do this. Alternatively if you do live in a home where you may not have this available then Youtube and Google have plenty of videos on how to do this, all you will need to find is the make and model of your boiler and then ask for a how to guide on how to set the timer in your search engine. We have found that sitting down with your housemates and coming to a decision of the best time for the heating to be turned on in the morning to take the cool edge off the home for a couple of hours, and again turning on when people are returning home so that it is a cosy enough temperature for a couple of hours can really help ensure that the heating isn’t being used often throughout the day for one person. Also make sure that all the doors and windows are closed and trapping the heat in the rooms you are trying to heat when you have turned it on to ensure you really are benefitting from it.
Packed Lunches or Meal Prepping
I am the first to admit I LOVE the convenience that Deliveroo, Uber Eats and JustEat do offer….. however I would be lying if I said it was the most cost effective thing for me to do. So after Costa at Watergates kindly thanked me for reaching 75 Orders… (shameful I know) – I thought it would probably be best if I was to take part in a cost exercise of how much difference there is in cost just for my coffee and bacon bap to be delivered each morning…. And the results were shocking!
If I was to purchase a vanilla latte and a bacon bap each morning, 5 times a day whilst in work, over the year it would cost me a total of £2,961.40! However, if I was to stop at the drive thru on my way into work and order the exact same items, 5 days a week, the total cost comes to £1,846.00! A HUGE saving of £1,115.40!! However, I could save myself even more money if I was to start bringing in my own coffee in a thermal cup and made myself my own lunch and brought snacks into work instead of living off one bacon bap which is costing an arm and a leg a day. Check out amazon for some cute thermal mugs or better yet shop local and check out Cups Coffee and Board Games for a thermal mug and have a go on your favourite board game whilst there!
Using Apps That Provide Student Discount
There are plenty of discounts that can be applied for with most big brands! This is one of the perks of being a student and instead of having to scour the internet regularly for discount codes they can be found in one app all together! We recommend using the likes of UNiDAYS for anything from access to Adobe for your studies to travelling abroad on your next vacay in the breaks between uni! We also recommend using Student Beans as they have similar offers available on their app and it is easy to use! Student Beans they also write blogs and have a great social media presence where you can find top tips towards making sure you really do experience all that your University journey has to offer!
Charity Shop Shopping
We at Chester Student Lets have found some absolute treasures from Charity shops, from an M&S pure wool coat for just a fiver to Louboutin’s found in London for a fraction of the retail price! It may be more time consuming trying to find the super steals however you can also make it fun! We have all been on nights out where we have dressed our friendship groups out of the charity shops and some of the outfits that came from it were both entertaining and strangely suitable too! Check out Frodsham Street in Chester City Centre and Brook Street too where you will find many charity shops! There are also some located in nearby Hoole village where I have regularly found Zara products for a bargain!
We are all criminal for leaving our chargers on charge or better yet not flicking the mains switch off after unplugging the appliance we have been using! However, if we were to ensure that we turned off any switches that aren’t currently being used then you could save yourself considerable amounts of money off your bills! Not only that but it also prevents any fire hazards too and although it may be annoying having to switch everything on and off from the wall it only adds on an additional few seconds to turning the appliance on in the first place and the savings from it outweigh the little amount of time it takes to be a bit more conscious of what we are switching on and off.
Cash over Card on Nights Out
This is a trick that we have all used before now! As much as I hate carrying cash on me and especially after going through the pandemic find it almost strange to have cash on me it can be a savvy way to ensure that you control your spending on nights out! If you budget how much you intended to spend that evening it not only will ensure that you only spend the amount you intended to but it is also a great way to restrict how much you drink and ensure that you enjoy your night our and don’t have that hang-xiety thinking about the night before. Also set boundaries with you and your friends, often we find that friends are likely to buy each other rounds in however, if you aren’t a big drinker or don’t go for similar drinks to one another this can be a costly exercise for some more than others. We find that either getting sharers that are on an offer can work well and everyone chips in like cocktail trees or pitchers, or better yet just have a rule of thumb that everyone buys their own drinks. This then stops those of us that may savour a drink and pace ourselves feeling like we are racing to finish our drink to ensure we get our worth out of the rounds.
If you are frequently using trains to commute to areas or travel for leisure then a railcard may be the best thing for you to be investing in. There is a 16-25 year old railcard that costs £30 for the year and provides you with a third off the ticket prices which is well worthwhile. Better yet, if you have a Santander student account you are entitled to a free four year Santander 16-25 year old railcard! This means that you don’t have the upfront cost of purchasing the railcard and yet can still have a third off your tickets for four years! Happy travels!
Late Night Grocery Shopping
I live by this rule. Plain and simply because not only can I find food that I need for a fraction of the price but also I find it much more pleasant walking around a store that hasn’t got as many people in it. This is a really great way to ensure that you only purchase what you need! As I only will go shopping after 9pm, it means that usually I will have eaten my tea by this point (and possibly some snacks) and therefore as I am not hungry walking around the store I feel less inclined to put all those ‘treats’ in my basket that I really don’t need and am only grabbing to try and meet my hunger pains. The other benefit to shopping at this hour is that all the fresh food that has been made that day like items from the bakery, hot counter, salad bar and fresh items from the fridges that could be frozen have a shelf life and therefore towards the end of the day and closing times means they are reduced from the retail price to prevent food waste. The main thing to watch out for when shopping in the reduced section is to not buy anything that you didn’t intend on buying – often people will purchase something from this section without ever knowing they needed the item – and that is because they didn’t need it. This means they end up spending more than they intended on doing in the first place and defeats the point, however I find that a lot of meals can be made from the basics that you can usually find reduced which is; chicken, bread, fruit and veg, sandwiches for meal deals and ready meals. You will also find that most supermarkets and restaurants in the area will use the app Too Good To Go to reduce their items that have a shelf life coming to an end and cost a fraction of the price for a ‘magic bag’ that has surprise items in there that would have been wasted otherwise if not sold!
Scrap the subscriptions!
I was the worst in the world for subscribing to what I thought sounded like a good deal and always had good intentions of cancelling them before the ‘free trial’ ran out and then never did and years later found that I was spending hundreds of pounds on subscriptions I never used! Online banking has made it easier than ever to monitor how many subscriptions you have active and also to cancel them so easily and quickly! Have a good hard look at the list of your subscriptions in your banking and ask the honest questions to yourself of does it warrant the cost for it and do you get the worth out of the subscription? If you cant justify the payment of it for the little joy it brings you then get rid! You can always subscribe again if you feel you miss it but you will be shocked at how many subscriptions you may have that go out monthly that you have forgotten about because you just aren’t using it and on face value looks like a small amount however adds up when there are lots of them!
Monthly and Weekly Budgeting
Katie and Harriet are sticklers for making sure they are always on top of what is going out and coming in to their accounts each month and each week and this is why they are always left with savings and spends! The main aim is to cost for all of your outgoings for the month that you cant avoid being paid like your rent, phone bill and food. Then bringing those subscriptions back into the budgeting! Making sure each month you are getting the value for the payment of them and budgeting for them to be paid. Lastly, social plans that you have made a commitment towards already and can’t avoid… making sure that for each one you have budgeted accordingly and know how much remains after before accepting the next lunch date or night out invite! Whatever is left over from all of this they then divide into weeks and allocate that towards any typical things that are bought and then have a reserve pot where the savings can go so should they need it they have it and don’t have to worry about living paycheck to paycheck or alternatively if they find that coat from Zara that they cannot leave behind they don’t have to sacrifice something for it!
So to summarise...
If you live by the top tips that we have provided above you will start to see your spending decrease and your savings rise! There are plenty more ways that you can start to look towards a saving savvy future however taking a few of these little steps at the start will push you in the direction of a summer season where you wont have to worry about the cost of living crisis and can enjoy the warmer months without the worries of your utilities!
If you haven’t found a home for your next academic year as of yet and would like an agent that can provide you with the life lessons that we have learned the hard way being students ourselves previously at Chester University please get in contact with us today to arrange viewings for a let that you can truly love!