How to save as a student...completely JOBLESS

by - November 25, 2012

I had been finding it hard to save money, I never thought a budget was important and my spending was spiralling out of control.  Ever since starting university I had full access to my finances. Every shopping trip was an impulse with no budget. I have learnt a lot through these experiences and I am going to share them with you.

Card Convenience

I rarely used cash to shop because of the connivence a debit card provided. It also never felt like I was spending money. Giving away a few twenties and then seeing your purse note-less would make you realise your spending habits. What I was doing was pushing my card into a little machine and pressing four digits and pulling it out again and MAGIC everything was mine. The plastic was still in my purse but my bank account was feeling the burn.

Using two or three cards makes it hard to keep track of how much you are spending. Spending £59.99 on one card, £45.00 on another and £19.99 on another will psychologically make you believe you have spent less when really it totals up to £124.98.

I have now tried to use cash more and more unless I am paying for something big, because you can’t be carrying large sums of cash around with you. In the inevitable circumstance its ok to use your card. 
When I go on a shopping trip I try not to take my card with me, only cash and it really helps because I have a forced budget right there with me stopping me buying a lot of things and stopping me feeling like I have unlimited money.


The irresistible urge for that tartan scarf or another pair of coloured jeans could be made easier if I didn't surround myself with advertising. These advertisements were the subscriptions. UNSUBSCRIBE UNSUBSCRIBE UNSCUBCRIBE! When you sign up to shops online untick the ‘receive newsletters and exclusive offers’ box.

If you really can’t stay away from the subscriptions then make a separate email address you know you won’t need to log on for anything else but subscriptions. 
Some offer a 20% off introductory offer for signing up to their newsletter. Sign up, use that offer, and then unsubscribe. Only use that offer if there are items on that website that you actually need which leads me to my next point.

Sale Psychology

We seem to think that something that once cost £150 and has gone down to £75 is worth buying. I spent a lot more money on items on sale items than full priced items. Nothing is worth buying unless you really need or want it. Think, if this was not on sale, would I buy it?


Unless you have something you really want, don’t buy. I have sometimes been in the situation where it was 23:59 and I was trying to get to checkout before the free delivery offer ended and most of those items were returned. Don’t rush. They have done this to rush you. 

20% off is NOTHING

I used to get excited about 20% off student nights and codes. It’s not worth being pushed and shoved and waiting in long queue full of students for only £20 off your £100 purchase. 


Saving had been my biggest challenge. It took a lot of effort and even tears for me to finally grasp the idea of saving. The only time I was able to save was a few pennies in the piggy bank when I was seven years old. I never knew how to save or how to go about saving.

I researched a lot about saving, some advice helped for a week or two but I had to find something tailored to my saving needs. One of my biggest issues was my regard for money, and through this I discovered the psychology behind saving. That is, believing that 20 pence isn’t much.

  1. Every penny counts. It’s really true what they say. I have battled with this issue for a very long time thinking I would have to save a fiver a day but that didn’t work.

  2. Don’t pressurise yourself to save but keep a savings goal. A lovely friend of mine made me a savings chart on excel. This totalled the amount I saved each day showing up at the end of each month the grand total. It also had a section where I was to put in how much I spent that day and for however much I spent I was required to save 20% of the total spent. On top of that I had a daily savings goal of £1.00. I know it doesn’t sound much but just think you could save £365 by the end of the year and if that doesn’t sound much to you then look at this. I can also save as much or as little as I like each day, be it 2 pence or £5 and sometimes I exceed my goal and it makes me so happy. It is such a booster. This savings goal was completely tailored to me, I was able to do this by identifying my weaknesses and what I needed.

  3. If that is a bit too much for you another idea for saving is, putting away any extra money in a jar (again with the ‘every penny counts’ principle) but not to pressurise yourself into saving a lot. Put a sticky label on it saying the total amount you wish to save, it could be as little as £10. When you eventually get to that total amount goal you can spend it after that on anything you like. This would make you feel so good about splurging towards an over-priced dress. If you feel motivated to save more, take the £10 out or however much is your limit and bank it straight away.

Savings Account:

- Set up a savings account or ISA. Get an appointment with your bank about savings accounts. You could catergorise your money and even rename your accounts; one could be called ‘life savings’ and another ‘general saving’ and of course you’ll have your ‘current account’. If you don’t want to end up spending your student loan you could have a separate account called ‘student loans’. This would help you visualize your spending habits and keep track of your money.

- Don’t have a large amount of money on the card that you use regularly. If it were stolen it would be harder for the bank to recover the    amount. Only have what you would spend each month so say as a student £500?

- If you work, set up a standing order where a portion of all the money is set up to go into your savings account.

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