Money Saving Hacks

Student living in 2022 can be expensive. You have big costs such as renting a place to live, course fees and study materials. However, when you start your career you’ll need to be aware that there are extra costs which may set you back unless you have the foresight to save. We’ve devised a list of ways in which you can be savvier with your money and prepare for the more important things.

Track and analyse your expenses

Automatic savings

Through your bank, you can set up automated transfers from your current account into a savings account. Setting this up on the day you get paid each month means your savings are accounted for and you’ll be less likely to spend it, unlike waiting to see what you have left at the end of the month and saving that.

Budget setting

Set a realistic budget for the month and stick to it. There are lots of free apps available which are designed help you budget your money each month, so you don’t over spend. Some of the top ranked apps include: Money Manager Expense & Budget, Andromoney, Mint, Wallet and Monify. There are also a wide range of deals out there providing you with cashback if you switch your current account. Using market comparing sites, you’ll find many banks that provide cash back or incentives if you switch current accounts. These change on a regular basis so if you can’t find a deal that jumps out at you, be sure to check back the following month.

Your busy work life can sometimes make it difficult to keep track of your outgoings. Nevertheless, it’s important to check your bank statements regularly as it's common to find unknown charges on your account that you weren't expecting.

Buy your food in bulk

After a long and tiring shift at the hospital, the idea of fast food may seem very appealing. Although takeaways may be the quick fix you are looking for, they are very expensive and lack many of the health benefits that your body needs after a long working day. An alternative way to save money on food is to buy products in bulk once a month. Find out which stores sell the best value products, plan your monthly meals and buy all of the ingredients in one big shop. Tinned and dried foods (such as rice, pasta, lentils and quinoa) keep in the cupboard for months and will keep you full for longer to prevent those fast food cravings. When comparing product prices, remember to check their price per gram or kilogram to get the best value for money. It’s always useful to check newspapers, magazines and online advertisements before your next shopping trip as they often provide free supermarket coupons.

Preparing your weekly meals

Sunday evening is the best time to prepare your meals and will free up valuable time during the week. After a long shift, the thought of spending hours in the kitchen probably won’t be so appealing, therefore, having your meals already made will spare you hours on an evening. You can use this time to catch up with friends/family, or do some exercise, this will help you to achieve a better work life balance. Another benefit of weekly meal prepping is that you will save money on electricity and gas bills.

It’s time to invest in reusables!

In the hope to tackle plastic pollution, most hospitals offer refillable water stations to staff and visitors, so it’s never been a better time to invest in a BPA free reusable water bottle to keep you hydrated throughout your shift. This will not only save you money, but due to no longer being tempted to buy juice and fizzy drinks, it’s also better for your health and the environment.

If you are a big coffee drinker like many of us, you’ll know it’s very expensive to buy a cappuccino in your local café (this can set you back between £2-£4). An increasing number of cafés (such as Pret A Manger, Costa and Café Nero) during normal times offer a discount of up to 50p or extra stamps on your loyalty card if you use your own reusable coffee cup. Don’t forget to check if your hospital café offers a discount for reusable coffee cups too.

Switching suppliers

Many of us are unaware how significantly we can reduce our energy bills by switching suppliers. Switching from a standard variable tariff to a fixed deal could save you hundreds of pounds per year - to do this, you can use market comparing sites to find the best deals for your energy usage.

Another way to save money would be to switch providers through cash back sites. These sites will give you discount percentages on eligible purchases at certain stores, and you can hunt around various sites for the best deals. Be sure to check if stores and restaurants offer discounts to NHS staff too!

If you own a vehicle and your insurance renewal date is coming up, rather than renewing with the same provider, always check online for cheaper quotes elsewhere. This is free to do and if you find a better deal, you can easily switch over with a phone call, just make sure you are sufficiently covered!

Public transport and car sharing

It’s always helpful to do your research before making any large purchases such as buying a vehicle because you may find that you don’t need to drive to work. There may be a bus or train route near to your home and place of work which could save you money on fuel and parking. Buying an annual travel card may seem expensive at first glance but could save you hundreds in the long term. Another option would be to consider car sharing with colleagues and splitting the cost of fuel. There may be Whatsapp groups on your ward to enquire about car sharing, it’s likely that some colleagues may live in the same area as you and jump at the opportunity to save some extra cash.

Getting creative

Moving to a new house is undoubtedly very expensive. When you add up the cost of letting agent fees, deposits and pre-paid rent, it becomes very difficult to afford unless you have savings or some help from family. On top of this you may find that you need new furniture, so to minimise costs, its beneficial to invest in some pre-loved furniture which can be purchased for a very low price (it’s common for people to want to get rid of their furniture, quite often you may find a perfect bed or wardrobe in great condition for as little as £30). Gumtree is a great user-friendly site designed for you to buy or sell furnishings. To cut costs further you may have some old furniture that you could give a lick of paint to bring it back to life.

Additional ways to make some extra cash

Small business idea

Not only are there many ways of saving money, there are also ways to make money if you have some spare time on your hands. Have a think about your hobbies and the activities you enjoy doing outside of work and work out how you could turn this into a small business. This could include activities such as writing, baking, playing an instrument, gardening, cooking, painting etc. Etsy is an app designed so that individuals can sell homemade goods online. You could consider searching online to see if there are any groups in your area that you could join to learn a new skill and/or gain a new hobby. Doing this would help you to meet new people and improve your social life outside of the hospital, especially if you have moved away from home for your training years.

Clear home - clean mind

Having a wardrobe clear out not only clears a space in your home but also in your mind, plus it’s a great way to make some extra cash. Depop is a popular app which you can use to sell your unwanted clothes or items such as technology, books or anything else you no longer use. The app is also a great way to buy clothes for a cheaper price, so next time you need a new pair of jeans, instead of searching at your favourite high street store, you could save yourself money and buy pre-loved clothes from Depop instead.

To conclude, there are many ways to become money savvy, whether it’s finding inventive ways to save your income or reduce your outgoings. As exciting as it is to receive your first pay check, you should be conscious not to spend all your money at once, always think ahead and remember that you are the person in control of your money. If you are smart with your money, then you will reap the benefits.

This article does not constitute as financial advice.