Features - Aidan Milan - The Art of Saving Money. credit flikr creative com

Aidan Milan

In case you didn’t already know, pretty much all of your energy not spent going to classes and passing exams and getting at least a little drunk on Student Night will be spent on scraping together enough money to live here at university. While at first, your student loan might look like the most beautiful and exciting amount of money you've ever seen in real life, the reality will soon sink in that rent and groceries and other boring stuff that you now need to pay for will drain that money pretty much dry if you're not careful. But never fear, I’m going to give you all the advice you need on saving that money so that, hopefully, you won't wind up homeless.

The first, most glaringly obvious tip we can give about being money savvy is to not, under any circumstances, go crazy in Freshers’ Week. We all know people who've blown their entire loan in the first week, and we think it's hilarious. But trust me, it will be much less hilarious when you imagine these people being forced to live on Super Noodles and tap water until Christmas. Or maybe it'll be more hilarious, if you're that kind of person. We don't judge. But the bottom line is, of course, have fun in Freshers’ Week, just don't irreparably hurt your bank account in the process.

But before you can survive Freshers’ Week, of the most important things you must do as a student, nay, as a functional adult, is to budget. And it's easy! All you need to do is look at the amount of loan you'llreceive each term and plan your expenditures. How much do you need a term for rent? How much do you need a week for food? (Hint, as little as you can get away with. Think Aldi and Lidl, not Waitrose's and Sainsbury's.) Use these figures to figure out exactly what you need a week, and exactly what you can get away with spending. If you want to go really mental, you can even plan out how much you can afford to set aside into a savings account or something really wild like that.

Another tip for you is to not be lazy. I know it's tempting, but just because Costcutter is really close by, and open conveniently late, it doesn't mean that it's the smartest place to go when you need to fill your shelf on the fridge. We at Le Nurb have said it before, and we'll say it again: for a place called Costcutter, it doesn’t cut any costs, and trust us, your bank account will show it in the long run. Also, while you're busy definitely not shopping weekly at Costcutter, look for the best food deals like your weekend activities depend on it. If you continuously waste your money on fancy branded food when you could get a Tesco's Basics version for less than half the price, then as time wears on, you will find yourself spending a lot of Saturday nights alone on your sofa with only your fancy food for company. And finally, do not be lazy when it comes to shopping for textbooks, because shopping around and buying second hand will save you so much money, you might cry a little. Check Amazon, eBay and second hand bookshops.

But do not despair, for our last piece of advice concerns everyone's favourite pastime: shopping. If you find yourself with some spare cash, you don't have to hoard it all away like a pauper dragon, you are allowed to spend some of it, just spend it wisely. Say goodbye to designer brands, even say goodbye to Topshop, because charity shopping is your thing now. Maybe on a good day you can stretch to New Look. And Ebay is your new best friend. Not only can you buy cheap stuff there, but you can also sell all the old stuff that you don't need.

That is it, young Freshers. It's up to you now, for this is all the wisdom we have to offer you. Go forth and try your darnedest to prosper!