Living in the UK, especially in London, can be very expensive. As a student it is essential to save wherever possible – those pennies add up!
Read on for our top insider tips for grocery shopping, bringing your food shopping home and student travel around town and country.
Grocery Shopping on a Budget
When it comes to buying the cheapest food three supermarkets Asda, Tesco and Morrisons are constantly competing with each other for lower prices and the title of Britain’s Cheapest Supermarket. This creates a great range of offers and promotions in all three stores. Asda offers to pay the difference if your food shop is not 10% cheaper than other major supermarkets and Tesco has reduced the prices of 3000 popular food items as well as providing the club card Tesco offering a ‘point per pound’ that accumulates and is later available in discounts and coupons to your store. Morrisons offer similar price slashes as well as a ‘payday bonus’ of £10 off your last shop of the month – as long as you spend £35 a week for the first three weeks.
You are likely to live in a shared house or student accommodation and it is recommended that you shop for food together to take advantage of multiple purchase discounts, points towards vouchers or cash off at the end of the month.
Other smaller supermarkets such as Lidl and Aldi provide imported food and alcohol from Europe at very low prices, however, food items such as vegetables and fresh meat are in short supply. Sainsbury’s and Waitros offer mid-range prices while Marks and Spencer are very expensive and best saved for a treat.
How to Carry Heavy Food Shopping at Home
Traveling back to your accommodation with your food purchases can be a bit of a challenge. However this can be overcome by taking public transport to the supermarket and then sharing a taxi back to your accommodation with your friend or colleagues. Or you can opt for home delivery. Home delivery is a service offered by Asda and Tesco in most locations for a one off or monthly fee – Tesco offers midweek delivery on stores over £40 from £7.50 or anytime delivery from £10 per month, as well as Asda offering delivery for £8 per month or £15 for 3 months (limited time only) and Morrisons have recently signed a deal with Ocado to soon launch -their home delivery service.
Sign up for websites like Groupon and Wowcher to receive daily emails with money-saving offers of up to 80% off luxury restaurants, designer clothes, weekend trips and beauty spa treatments – This can enable the students to sometimes indulge in a more luxurious lifestyle! It is also recommended that you apply for an NUS (£10) or NUS+ card (£12) which entitles students to 10-50% discounts for high street shops, music downloads, bars, restaurants, travel, tickets cinema, books and even offers a free cheeseburger or fries with a purchase at McDonalds.
Advice for Public Transport
Public transport is a great way to get around the UK with transport links to almost everywhere; however, although cheaper than putting a car on the road, the money quickly adds up. If you regularly use public transport it is recommended to buy weekly or monthly passes. These can usually be bought online, from the ticket office at a train station or from your bus driver (in London you will need to buy a student Oyster card, once you have confirmation from your University you can apply on -TFL website and you will receive a big discount as well as 30% off travel cards).
If you wish to travel around the UK while studying in your chosen city you can buy a young person’s rail card. This will also provide 30% off train and coach tickets – look out for offers involving the young person’s railcard. Some banks even offer a free 3 year card if you open your student bank with them. The cheapest way to travel around the UK is by coach, the two main companies Megabus and National Express offer excellent services between all major towns and cities. You can shop for special offers with National Express using their FunFares service.
Websites such as studentbeans.com and freshersfields.com offer quirky student stories, top job hunting tips and more of those ever important student discounts, cash off vouchers and competitions to win, for example, broadband supply for one year.
When you are just starting out in the world of student life it can be difficult to find the best ways to save money. Use these tips to stretch your budget and really enjoy the experience.
Author bio: Robyn Edwards is a recent graduate of London Southbank University and has years of experience in advising and budgeting for students’ own needs. She is now a writer and consultant for UKEAS in the Philippines, where prospective students can find excellent advice on studying in the UK