By Steph Hayle (Community and Wellbeing Officer
Hey all, Steph, your Community and Wellbeing Officer here.
University can be expensive and you may end up spending a lot more than you planned to in your first few terms if you don’t keep an eye on your finances. Help keep track of your money with these handy saving tips, tailored specifically to York students and based on personal experience from yours truly.
These 5 tips will help you make the most of your money whilst living in York. You don’t need to change your lifestyle to keep your money, just know how and when to spend! Hopefully these tips will help you spend smart over the next few months. Enjoy!
Food, Drink, and Shopping:
Discounts – Lots of places around the city offer student discounts. If you sign up for an NUS Totum card (formally NUS Extra) you can get discounts at supermarkets as well as many restaurants, shops, and travel services all of which will help you save. There’s also Unidays which offer online discounts if you sign up with your student email. On campus you can download YOYO Wallet, an app which allows you to pay for food and drinks across YUSU venues (like Courtyard and Glasshouse). Using the app earns you points which can be spent on food, drink, merch, and experiences – so a good way of making the most of each purchase. Joining societies and sports clubs, or being part of a student committee can also often mean you get discounts to places both on and off campus – so it’s well worth signing up!
Cooking at Home – Buying frozen is often cheaper than buying fresh, and means you won’t lose out if food goes off before you eat it. Iceland and Aldi are both cheap options for both frozen and fresh food, both just a short walk across Walmgate Stray (worth taking bags/a small case with you to carry bulk buys). It can also end up cheaper to cook in bulk and either freeze portions or share with flat mates, allowing you to split the costs. Ask around before you arrive to see if anyone wants to share cooking/meals because freezer space can be limited.
Clubs and Nights Out – York Parties run student specific nights Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday with student pricings and deals. If you know you are going to be going out frequently, consider investing in a Platinum card, which gets you free entry and queue jump for every UoY student night all year. Otherwise, societies and sports teams often have deals with clubs and bars providing discounts, so again, well worth signing up to.
Obviously the ideal would be limit how much you drink and go out to save money, but the decision is ultimately yours, so watch out for deals and events from YUSU whenever you can to get the best pricing.
Freebies – YUSU, your college, and loads of societies will run free sessions and give out freebies throughout the year, not just at Freshers Fair. Watch out for Give It a Go Weeks and Keep Your Cool events where we run free or heavily discounted events for everyone, allowing you to try out new activities without needing to invest heavily. Like YUSU and the Sabbs facebook pages to keep up to date on all the events we run (from free pizza to sports games), and watch out on College and Society emails and social media to see any giveaways or freebies they are hosting.
Find Part-Time Work – Obviously this isn’t an option for everyone, but if you have the time it can often be a good idea to get a part-time job. YUSU venues work with almost exclusively student staff and offer flexible working hours in our campus outlets. The University also advertises for part-time evening or holiday work so keep an eye for an openings. Look in town and online as well for places advertising part-time positions, but make sure they will allow you to work around deadlines, contact hours, and exams. Tutoring can be a great way to earn some money with flexible hours – have a look online for websites you can sign up with! Keep an eye out for emails from your department and Careers too, as they often contain info on job opportunities for students.
Finally, if you ever have money troubles there are people available who can help, on campus and beyond. Finance and budgeting advice is available at the University’s Student Hub at firstname.lastname@example.org. Advisers run drop ins throughout term, as well as online chat sessions.
You can also follow @YourMoneyAdvice on twitter for loads of hints and tips.
There’s confidential and independent advice and guidance from YUSU’s Advice & Support Centre (ASC) at email@example.com - they can discuss with you any issues or difficulties that you are experiencing and help you access appropriate support if you need it.
There are plenty for money saving tips to be found online, and plenty of budgeting structures available to help you manage your money effectively. Hopefully these more tailored suggestions will help you keep track of your finances and enjoy your first year at the University of York, without breaking the bank!
Good luck, and I hope you all have an amazing first year!