Careers Advice Blog

How to earn and save money while you’re at uni

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Scrimp during the first weeks of term

Once that loan hits your account, it’s tempting to spend, but you will always regret it! You can have fun, but do you really need a new outfit for that fancy dress party when there’s an old one for a tenner in Oxfam?

Avoid big purchases for the first month at least and you’ll have a bigger financial comfort zone for those end-of-term events. If you haven’t done so before, think about a scholarship for tuition fees. Visit to see if you can apply for this award, which pays up to £9,000.

Start meal-planning

Don’t keep grabbing a coffee and a sandwich after lectures. Wait until you get home and make your own, it’s cheaper and if you save on eating out, you can afford better ingredients to use at home.

Use student discounts

This doesn’t mean splurge, it means just use the discounts when you actually need them. Buy an NUS Extra card for £12.00 and you’ll have access to more than 150 different offers and discounts, like 25% off Odeon tickets and 10% off Topshop purchases.

Travel wisely

One of your first purchases must be the 16-25 railcard that can knock up to a third off rail fares. Additionally, look into ride-sharing services like BlaBlaCar, either as a passenger or as a driver. Passengers pay a share of the petrol to the driver, so it’s a win-win situation.

Sell old books and clothes

Your old books will always be in demand to new students, so take them to the university bookshop or sell them online. If you’re done with last term’s clothes, put them on eBay.

Look for voucher codes and budget tips online

Head to, or for offers, discounts and money advice, after all, you’re already spending loads of time online, so make it worth it.

Opt for non-branded goods

Wait until you’re working to buy fancy labels. For now, settle for own brands – you’ll be hard-pressed to actually tell the difference – and you’ll save a packet. Unbranded medicines and painkillers can save a small fortune, too.

Earn a few bob here and there

Not everyone has time for a bar job but everyone has a few minutes here and there to do paid surveys or join the odd focus group. Many students find it relaxing to fill in online surveys and the rewards can add up surprisingly quickly.

Ipsos, for example, rewards respondents with John Lewis vouchers and focus group Saros sometimes pays up to £100 for a couple of hours’ work, which doesn’t go amiss.

Enjoy pre-drinks drinks

You must remember to drink responsibly; however, it’s one of life’s great pleasures and drunken rants can seal friendships for life. A good tip for socialising without breaking the bank is to have a couple of drinks before going out. Start the night off on supermarket wine at home, then have a couple of soft drinks when you first get out to the bars. It saves money – and often, your dignity…

Have you got a great tip to share with our readers? Let us know below.

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Career CamelHow to earn and save money while you’re at uni

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