University is just around the corner, for freshers it’s the first time you’ll be managing your finances and for those returning, who doesn’t need a helping hand with their finances? So here are our top 10 tips for budgeting, so you’re not stuck having beans on toast for the month.

Keep your receipts
Usually when the cashier asks: “Would you like your receipt?”, an automatic “no” ensues as we hurry off. But next time this question is posed, say yes and keep a stash of your receipts. At the end of the week have a review of your purchases to see if there are items that you probably don’t need and bought in the moment, and should return before the warranty runs out.

Use cash
Once you know how much student finance you’ll be receiving, and the savings left in your bank you can work out how much you have to spend for each week. Take out some money at the start of the week, say £50, so you are forcing yourself to stick to that budget. By having cash in hand you can keep a track of your money usage more effectively. If you’re only left with £1.20 by Wednesday you’ll know for the week after, that you need to calm down on your spending on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Course materials
So when you start uni you will be given a list of recommended textbooks, essential readings for your courses. Don’t go straight to Waterstones or Amazon for textbooks, reach out to students in the year above who have taken the same modules and no longer have use of the textbooks, and buy it second hand. Also if you don’t want to buy any books look online for online copies that you can download in pdf form or check the uni library for the texts.

Transport costs
Daily bus rides or tube rides can really rack up on your weekly costs. Look into student bus passes, or if you’re in London don’t forget to sign up for a Student Oyster card. Or alternatively work out the shortest travel routes to uni and enjoy a walk instead of using public transport. And don’t forget to invest in a 16-25 railcard for the year to save a third off of train tickets for when you’re travelling home.

Part-time and summer jobs
Got more spare time than expected during the term? Well if you don’t need to be in uni every day of the week sign up to some flexible part time jobs, for example with catering companies you can choose shifts to suit your schedule. Or alternatively if you apply for tutoring jobs you can set a time and day every week with your student. Tutoring can sometimes pay up to £30 an hour, so by teaching just two hours a week that can be your spending money sorted.

Discount codes
Look out for discount codes and really make use of your student discount. Bring your uni student card with you everywhere and just check before you pay if they take student discount. Sign up to websites such as UNiDAYS and NUS Extra to make use of extra codes and save as you shop.

Weekly shopping list
Start doing your weekly shopping list, or if you’re too busy get an online delivery scheduled each week. Put some time aside and cook in bulk at the start of the week, and freeze your food so you can reheat them for dinners later on in the week or to bring as packed lunch. Save by eating out less, meal deals may seem value for money but one a day for a year will cost a lot more than home cooking.

Buying value brands
Tying in with the point above, consider purchasing store branded goods over the labelled goods. According to industry experts, making the simple swap can save on average 25 percent from your weekly shop. You will find that you won’t notice much of difference between the two taste and quality wise, but a big difference to your spending.

Utilities + internet
So you’ve just moved into your house and don’t really know what bills are or how to do them. So you’ll either put it off and move in and live without internet and wifi for a week. Wait for another housemate to sort it out. Or contact the landlord to ask who the previous suppliers are and call each of the utility providers up individually to renew the same deals as the last tenant.But did you know that by staying on the same standard tariffs you could be overpaying hundreds of pounds per year? Well it’s true, recent surveys have revealed that over 66% in the UK are currently overpaying for their utilities. So our solution is to sign up to Huru a few weeks before you move in so we can sort it all out for you. By signing up we will give you a quote, sort out your utilities, TV license and wifi, and find you the best tariffs to save you money.

Sell off unwanted items
Got a jumper you haven’t worn for months and no longer want? Have a guitar lying around that you still haven’t had the chance to learn to play? Well cut your losses now and sell off your unwanted items on eBay, Gumtree, or mobile apps such as Depop. It’s better to earn some money back then to leave them unused and gaining only dust.

Also published on Medium.