Tips for saving as a student
Kat knows the struggle and shares her advice
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Being a student is never easy. We’ve got a lot to deal with; tuition fees, a never ending list of assignments, complicated group projects and tedious exams. We’ve also got personal problems to handle too; from paying painfully expensive rent for a room no bigger than Harry Potter’s cupboard to dealing with relationship problems whilst crying into a tub of Aldi’s finest ice cream (the struggle to afford Ben and Jerry’s is real.) One of the main issues Ireland’s students are facing today is money.
Some of us are lucky enough to be employed, but I’m sure plenty of us can raise our hands and honestly say that the majority of our wages are spent on donuts from Aungier Danger and gym memberships we never use. It’s safe to say a few of us owe our parents a few bob (sorry Dad) and some of us may be living off pot noodles from Lidl.
I was living off €67 a month for over a year until I got a part time job last month. I know that so many students are struggling financially and it can really get you down. Not being able to go out and enjoy your student years is brutal and something we shouldn’t have to deal with. However, I did learn a few tips and tricks when I was struggling financially that made a big difference and they can help you too, especially now that summer is here.
Saving is a nightmare, but it’s one of the best things you can do during your college years. You can set up a savings account with An Post which takes very little time and is so easy to use. If you put as little as €5 a week into your account, you’ll build up funds that will help pay for your ticket to EP or your fees for the new semester. It’s a great comfort knowing you have a few bob saved up, especially when all you have are coupons for McDonald’s and a few coppers in your purse.
You know when you go to a coffee shop so much that the barista remembers your order, I fear that that’s happened in my local Spar when it comes to topping up my leap card. Most students have no choice but to rely on public transport, whether it’s the Luas, Dublin Bus or the Dart. It’s the cheapest option for us to get around the city, apart from cycling, but I don’t think cycling to UCD or Trinity at seven in the morning sounds very appealing now does it? If you want to save a few extra shillings, I’d highly suggest investing in a Leap Card if you don’t already have one. You can save up to 25% per bus journey and you won’t have tonnes of coins weighing you down either.
Topshop, River Island and Asos all have one thing in common; they’re expensive. As much as I’d love to fork out €30 for a new crop top, I just can’t afford to. However, there are plenty of places where you can pick up high street brands for next to nothing; charity shops. I have been shopping in charity shops such as NCBI, the Irish Cancer Society and SVP for over a year now. I’ve managed to pick up dresses from Topshop for less than a fiver and brand new items from River Island for €2 (thanks to the NCBI sale days). Charity shops are full of hidden treasures and the prices are student friendly. Pop down to your local charity shop and you’ll be sure to find a great outfit for half the cost.
Midweek is the new weekend
If you want to meet up with your friends or hop on a plane for a getaway there’s no better time for students to go than mid-week. All the best student offers tend to be on from Monday to Wednesdays; whether that’s €3 cocktails in Captain America’s or Student Tuesday’s at Dundrum cinema where you can get a large drink, a large popcorn and your cinema ticket for €10. If you’re planning on jetting out of Dublin at some point in the summer, try your best to book a midweek break if you’re counting the pennies. Ryanair are your new best friend as they always have great offers on their flights. I recently swiped up a return ticket to Amsterdam for €50. Also, consider checking out Air B and B, staying in a funky studio apartment in Berlin sounds a lot more fun than being stuck in a bland Travelodge.
We all face financial problems during our student years, but these small tips made it a lot easier for me, so hopefully they can help you too. And always remember to use your student card at every given opportunity; even if it’s just to get a euro off that Big Mac meal in McDonald’s.