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Hi all,

I hope your weekend went as productive as mine.

Attending university is an exciting chapter in my life, filled with learning, exploration, and personal growth. However, it also brings a new level of financial responsibility. As a student at the University of Surrey, managing your finances effectively can significantly enhance your university experience. Here are some practical money-saving hacks designed to help you (and me🤣) navigate your finances, ensuring you make the most out of your time at Surrey without breaking the bank.

1. Take Advantage of Student Discounts

One of the simplest yet most effective ways to save money is by utilizing student discounts. Your student ID is more than just an access card; it’s a ticket to a multitude of discounts across Guildford and online. From retail stores and restaurants to subscriptions and transportation, always inquire about student discounts before making a purchase. Additionally, investing in the Unidays app and retail stores club / points cards can unlock even more savings.


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2. Budget Wisely

Creating and sticking to a budget is crucial for financial management. Start by tracking your expenses to understand where your money goes each month. Allocate funds for essential categories like rent, groceries, and utilities, and set aside a portion for savings and leisure. Utilizing budgeting apps can simplify this process and help you stay on track.

Please comment if you know any budgeting apps because I certainly don’t.

3. Save on Textbooks

Textbooks can be a significant expense for students. Before buying new, check the University of Surrey Library for available copies or consider purchasing second-hand books from previous students. Online platforms also offer rental services or digital copies at a fraction of the cost. After the semester, sell your textbooks to recoup some of your expenses (I did this during my foundation year, and it helped A LOT trust me!)

4. Cook at Home

While it’s tempting to eat out or order takeaway, cooking at home is significantly cheaper and healthier. Plan your meals for the week, shop with a list to avoid impulse buys, and cook in batches to save time and money. Sharing meal plans with flatmates can also reduce costs and add variety to your diet.

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  • Marinate your proteins beforehand and store them in the freezer with a Ziploc bag or the pack the protein came in.
  • It saves so much time when you want to chef up a quick meal.
  •  Plus, the seasons get incorporated into the meat much more, thank me later.
  • Here’s a uni student friendly meal prep guide.

5. Use Public Transport and Bikes

Guildford is well-connected by public transport, and the University of Surrey is conveniently located close to bus and train routes. Take advantage of student discounts on bus and train passes to save on daily commutes i.e. Trainline for discounted train ticket prices and the Stagecoach yearly pass for affordable bus ticket prices. Additionally, biking is not only cost-effective but also great for your health and the environment. The university offers bike rental schemes and secure bike parking to encourage cycling.

PRO TIP: you can also walk reasonable distances, it’s very therapeutic.

6. Find Free or Low-Cost Entertainment

There’s no shortage of free or affordable entertainment options for students in Guildford. From university events and societies to local festivals and parks, keep an eye out for low-cost activities. The University of Surrey Students’ Union often hosts events that are free or discounted for students.

Image Credit: University of Surrey

7. Shop Smart

When grocery shopping, opt for supermarket own brands, buy in bulk, and look out for sales and discounts. Shopping late in the day can also yield reduced prices on perishables. Additionally, consider visiting local markets like the Guildford Farmers’ Market for fresh and affordable produce.

8. Limit Energy Use

Energy bills can add up, especially during the colder months. Save on your bills by using energy-efficient appliances, turning off lights and electronics when not in use, and wearing layers instead of turning up the heat. Small changes can lead to significant savings over time.

9. Embrace Thrifted Items

From clothes to furniture, as stated in one of my previous blogs, consider buying thrifted items (some pieces are so amazing). Guildford has several charity shops and online platforms where you can find quality items at a fraction of the retail price. This is not only economical but also sustainable.

10. Work Part-Time

If your schedule allows, a part-time job can be a great way to earn extra money while studying. The University of Surrey Careers Service can help you find suitable vacancies both on and off-campus.

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(Check for more insight on part time jobs in UK)

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By implementing these money-saving hacks, University of Surrey students like me can enjoy a fulfilling university experience without the stress of financial strain. Remember, being mindful of your spending doesn’t mean you can’t have fun; it’s about making smart choices that benefit your wallet and your well-being <3.