Top 5 Money Hacks For Students

Moving to university is an exciting time- meeting new friends, experiencing new things and for most, living on your own for the first time. Whilst this may seem like a dauting new venture, it doesn’t have to be! Living away from home is an incredibly rewarding experience, when you can be your own self and learn life skills and become responsible. However, living away from your family comes with a lot of challenges; particularly money. If you’re wondering how to cope on your own handling your own finances, here’s my Top 5 Money Hacks For Students!

  1. Create A Budget

I’ll get the boring one (but the most important one) out the way first. Calculate your income for the year (or term if this is easier to calculate). This means adding up all your student loans, grants, bursaries and part-time job salary (if you have one). Then estimate your fixed expenses, like your rent or student housing, books, bills and groceries.

  Try and estimate what you have leftover. If you have a surplus, set aside a portion of this (maybe 20%) for entertainment & travel (university trips and holidays are a great way to bond with uni friends!) and the rest you can save for future needs.

2. Join The Student Union

The Student Union (SU) is a great place to have fun on a budget! Join a club or society for a small fee and these clubs will organise events all throughout the year. Most of these clubs have a budget set aside for these members’ events…minimising the cost for you! They’ll be movie nights, sports events, quizzes and maybe even meals at the SU for you to attend! *Bonus tip- food at the SU tends to be a lot lot cheaper than going to other pubs or restaurants.

3. Do A Big Shop

Studies have shown that doing a grocery shop once or twice a month is a lot more cost-efficient than once a week. But, how do you do this effectively, without over buying? First, write a list; try to include a lot of dry items that you can use for multiple meals, such as rice and pasta. I’d also recommend including tinned ingredients to your list, such as tinned tomatoes and different pulses and beans. These can be the base for many meals, such as pasta sauces, chilli or curry. Secondly, buy frozen vegetables or items that can be kept for a long time in the fridge or freezer. This minimises the chance of your food going off and you wasting good raw ingredients. Check your cupboards and fridges before your shop, whilst making your list, to avoid duplicating anything. And of course, shopping in large supermarkets is a lot cheaper than shopping at corner shops or convenience stores. Try and shop at these places as little as possible, unless you run out of milk or loo roll!

4. Be Conscious Of Your Electricity & Gas

I wish someone would have told me how expensive gas and electricity was! To minimise my bills, I seldom turned on the heating (blankets in student accommodation and cosy pyjamas are a must!), and make sure that lights are switched off when you’re not using them. It sounds like a pain but it really does help keep your energy bills down.

5. Second-Hand Is Awesome!

Especially for books! I remember my first week of university, I was told I needed to buy a specific biology textbook. I went straight to my local bookstore and bought a brand new one for a whopping £60! I used the textbook twice my whole university studies…a lot of my classmates bought the textbook second-hand for about 20 quid! From then on, I stuck to buying all my textbooks on eBay; it really saved me a lot of money.

These five tips are simple, but if implemented well, can save you a lot of money at university! Remember, having fun doesn’t mean having to spend a lot of money!

The Top Ten Most Expensive Cities In 2022

Every year, Mercer rank the world’s most expensive cities to live in; the criterium is based off of things like rent, transportation costs and food. This year we’ve had a lot of volatility in the economy, exacerbated by the war, inflation rate and interest rate hikes. So, how did this affect the listings this year? Let’s take a closer look:

10. Beijing

Beijing is still a lot more affordable than the other cities on this list, but the main reason it has become increasingly more expensive is due to its population size. The city’s increasing population has caused rental prices to double over the past ten years.

9. Tokyo

Tokyo is in this list year after year. Japan in general is a country with high cost of living expenses, such as rent, owning a car and transport in general.

8. Singapore

Here we are, Singapore. No one is shocked to this here- over the past year rental prices have shot up astronomically and the lack of land will always mean that property purchase is expensive in comparison to other countries. Speaking from personal experience, going out for food and drinks can be particularly expensive, taxis, whilst cheaper than the UK, have increased over the past year and we all know owning a car is pricey in Singapore.

7. New York City

NY has always been more expensive than other places in the US, particularly rent. If you haven’t read my article, ‘Sex and The City, and Broke’, please do! I have always been baffled by how people on low to mid salaries can live comfortably in this city

8. Tel Aviv

A common theme on this list is rental; this seems to be the main reason cities land here, and the same goes for Tel Aviv. Whilst the city has a tonne of stuff to do for tourists, including bars and restaurants, this comes with a price tag. This means that rent for a one-bed, on average, is about 1725 USD a month!

5. Bern

We’re getting to the part of the list now where most of the cities are in Switzerland. A week-long holiday to the capital city would cost a family of four approximately $6000!

4. Basel

This city has a great art and history scene; Switzerland’s oldest university city is home to beautiful modern architecture and the world’s biggest art fair. This comes with a whopping price tag of living expenses of approximately $3000 a month.

3. Geneva

Similar to the previous Swiss city on this list, living in the luxury city of Geneva would cost you approximately $3500 a month. Very pricey!

2. Zurich

The financial capital of Switzerland sits at the second spot. It’s the most expensive Swiss city to rent, and the city itself is choc a block full of high shopping and decadent restaurants, so it’s very difficult to escape the high cost of living in Zurich.

1. Hong Kong

Are we shocked? HK has over 7 million people living in the city, meaning that the demand for housing is incredibly high. Not only that, food, transport and nightlife is also very expensive in Hong Kong. One thing I will always remember is watching a documentary showing people in HK living in literal cages, with a bed, TV and all their stuff. These types of housing have a shared bathroom and small kitchenette and can cost about 500 USD a month! That’s so expensive for such a small, cramped space.

In my opinion, I’m not shocked that the vast majority of these cities are European (40% of this list are in Switzerland!) and I’m actually surprised that London wasn’t now in the top 10 (it’s 15th). I did think that where we live, Singapore, would be higher because of the high cost of alcohol & rental, but I guess our lower taxes and the fact that the government are able to stop inflation and utility bills from getting out of control helps. All in all, this list is very useful when it comes to someone making a decision to move overseas.

Did this list shock you? Is your city an expensive place to live?