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18 Ways To Survive Uni When You're Skint

University doesn't have to be all baked beans and grotty communal flats. Listen to NatWest and learn how to make your money stretch further.

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3. Kit out your computer on the cheap / Via

Most companies offer a student discount on software. However, free is better than cheap. So swap and download…

Word = LibreOffice. Open Office. Oxygen Office.

Photoshop = Gimp.

4. Pack your own food

Miley Cyrus / We Can't Stop/ (C) 2013 RCA Records / Sony Music Entertainment / Via

Ok, this might sound like an obvious tip, but if you bring your own breakfast and lunch out with you on every trip it can save you £2,000+ a year*. Even if you're only eating in the subsidised student canteen.

*£6 per day x 365 = £2,190. Take into account the days you spend more and the days you're not spending and it'll work out around £2,000.

6. Ask for donatations for all those free lifts you've been giving


Put up a calendar on the communal notice board stating when you'll be going to popular haunts eg. the supermarket, and how many spots are free in your car. Ask for a 50p - £1 petrol donation per person, and your own costs will be significantly subsidised.

7. Vow never to pay full price for a book


Check out the charity shops next to your uni: chances are, you'll find a lot of the books you need in there. You could always leave your details with the nicer ones along with a list of the books you're looking for. Or put your details on any communal/ University library bulletin boards along with a list of the books you're looking for.

Failing that, try eBay or Amazon. Then use these sites for selling them on to the next batch of students.

10. Downgrade your food shop / Via

If you buy fresh = See if it's cheaper to buy frozen or tinned

If you shop at the weekend = Go after 6pm when many shops reduce their stock down by 90%

If you buy branded goods = Swap to supermarket own

If you buy supermarket own = Swap to basics range

If you shop in a supermarket = Try a basics one such as Lidl, Aldi or Farmfoods

If you shop in a basics supermarket = Try a website like Approved food

Always buy in bulk wherever possible, checking the amount per 100g/ml to see if this is the cheapest option.

12. Cut your coffee costs


While they might lure you in with free NUS discounts and Wi Fi, your java habit could end up costing you a sizeable portion of your loan. If you really can't give up your daily coffee (even though it's costing you around £1,000 a year…) here's three ways to cut the cost:

1. Follow your favourite coffee haunt on social media and sign up for their newsletter to keep an eye out for freebies and offers.

2. Downgrade your usual: go for a cheap, filter coffee and use their fancy spices, free milk and other thingies to add flavour. It'll be a lot cheaper than a syrup-filled version or a flavoured latte.

3. A few coffee places offer discounts if you bring your own travel cup. Don't buy one from there, check out your nearest £1 shop. If you get 25p off per cup you'll make your money back in four trips.

13. Sign up for money-saving websites / Via

Flubit gives you money off Amazon purchases.

Quidco gives you cash back for online spends.

My Voucher Codes does money off codes.

Invisible Hand is a browser extension that lets you know if there's a lower price on shopping, flights, hotels, and rental cars.

Top Cashback gives you money back when you shop online and in-store.

Honey is a Chrome extension that finds and adds voucher codes to your online shops.

14. Get your furniture for free


This takes a wee bit of organisational skill, but it is completely possible to furnish your entire house for free using Freecycle and Gumtree (go to the freebies section). The best time to look is at the end of the academic year, when soon-to-not-be students need to get rid of stuff, fast. Remember to factor in car/van hire costs if need be.

Ebay can be another treasure trove - just set up a few saved searches of your postcode, the maximum amount you're willing to pay and the item you're looking for. Or set up an alert for £1 bid items in your area. If you're able to resist 'bargains' you don't actually need.

16. Enter competitions / Via

Aim to enter 10 free competitions per day for one month. Set up a separate email account just for doing this, so that your real email account won't get spammed.

You'd be surprised how few people enter competitions - and how much you actually win!

17. Fill out a Hc1 form while you're a student


So that you'll get cheaper/free dental and health care.

Get all your ailments sorted now and your body will thank you after uni, when it would otherwise come out of your wages!

18. Only take out the exact amount you want to spend / Via

Then you won't be tempted to splurge on big nights out with kebabs and cheesy chips on the way home.

Make sure you keep some money for a cab at home by the front door, in case you lose/run out of money.

Let NatWest help you to organise your student finances, so you don't end up like Ben...

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