It doesn’t seem like long ago that I was heading off to university, one of the most exciting steps of my young adult life. Those were some of the best times! I moved from the North of England to London, made life long friends and even met my husband.

But living alone for the first time doesn’t always come cheap – especially in London. I’m sharing some simple money saving life hacks and tips for students, to help you save your money for the things that you really want to spend it on.

Simple but effective money saving life hacks and tips for students

Save on license fees

Watch TV on iPlayer or other catch up services on your computer or tablet to avoid needing to pay the TV license, and save £145.50 per year. You’re only required to have the license if you have the ability to watch live TV (regulations here), so if you’re thinking of buying a small TV for your room – consider saving that money and putting it towards a new laptop instead.

You can even use 3m hooks to wall mount your tablet for the ‘tv effect’

DIY wall mounted tv for cheap

image: reddit

Get a student account

Get a student account like this one from TSB which will give you an interest and fee free overdraft of up to £1500 in case you need it

Grants and burseries

Be sure to check whether there’s any extra help you may be entitled to. The Educational Grants Service offers help to students, and there might also be scholarships available that suit your specific circumstances or background.

Meal planning and supermarket shopping

As a student, you’re likely living away from home for the first time. Setting up a basic meal plan can save you a fortune in the supermarket, and help prevent food going to waste – especially fresh fruit and veg which can go bad before you’ve finished it.

Around 3pm is the best time to shop if you want to pick up the marked down produce that will has a sell by date coming up (but will still be safe to eat!)

If you’re in a flat share it can work out cheaper to team up with your flat mates or room mates and cook and eat together some of the time. Home cooking rather than eating out saves a tonne. The difference between bringing lunch and buying on campus can really add up over time too.

money saving life hacks for students, how to save in supermarket shopping

Get text books for cheap

Wherever you can help it, don’t buy text books for new. The previous years students probably have the books you need and will be looking to get rid of them now that they’re done with them, so look out for messages on notice boards or in student Facebook groups, or try buying online from Amazon market place or E-bay. And keep your text books in good condition so that you’re able to sell them on for the best price possible once you’re done! For this reason, I would advise against making notes or highlighting directly in your text books, unless that’s really the best way that you learn.

Get free pens

Make a quick dash around all the stalls at your universities Freshers’ Fair and stock up on the free pens that each one will be giving out

get free pens. life hack for students

Reclaim your lost music through Amazon

If you’ve bought CDs through Amazon, you’re entitled to claim the MP3 versions for free. Meaning that you might be able to get back those CDs that got lost or broken, and you can import existing CDs onto your computer – saving you space and meaning less stuff to pack to bring to your new student room.

Find out more here

Free next day delivery, free music and free tv!

You’ll be entitled to the above freebies from Amazon Student for 6 months. Make sure to cancel your trial if you don’t want to continue paying afterwards. Find out more here


Walking instead of taking the bus saves money and gives you exercise. If you’re in London and need to get an Oyster card, you can get a student discount so it may be worth paying up front for the annual pass to give you the freedom to get around easily. You could also consider the ‘Boris Bikes’ at £10 a week.

oyster card london

For even more tips, check out the TSB Savvy Students guide

More Life Hacks

No one can resist a good life hack! Check out these for hotel stays or child-proofing

hotel room life hacks

parent life hacks

Post in association with TSB