Step 5 – Money saving tips

Look for student discounts – many shops offer discounts for students with a valid student card, so it's worth asking.  Check with any service provider that you use if they have any offers available to students. Try to buy online, you’ll often find better deals on clothes, music, books etc.  Sign up to group discounts sites for deals on everything from meals to hairdressing. To make sure you get a good deal, have a look at our top tips for using online deal sites.

Save on everyday bills- check advertisements for regular special offers and check our money savings tips for more information.  Make a list of your meals for the week and stick to it, and use all the money-off coupons you can get your hands on.

Plan your weekly shop – be clever with what you buy: be a smart shopper and do up a shopping list in advance of your weekly grocery shop. Find out when your local supermarket tends to reduce items and arrange to do your shopping around that time. If you are living with other housemates it is usually cheaper to do one big shop and share the expense rather than going to smaller shops. Always ask if there’s a student discount, whether you’re buying a pair of shoes or a burger. You’ll be surprised at how many places offer them.  Volunteering at college events are also a great way to get involved and you are often paid for your time with vouchers or meals. Your local student newspapers are a good way of finding out about events and freebies.

Check out all the resources available to students at your college.  Most colleges have student unions and social/sports clubs which offer good deals.  This is also a great way of meeting other students and familiarising yourself with your college!

Don’t be tempted to eat out all the time: even if your college canteen is subsidised, you could end up over-spending on food.  Bringing in a packed lunch, going home for lunch or simply bringing in your own tea and coffee can help you cut-back on unnecessary costs.  Have a look on safefood for some interesting recipes that you can use for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Try to avoid convenience food and prepared meals as making your own is cheaper and healthier.

Don’t rush out and buy all your course books in the first week - either get them from your college library or buy them second-hand.  Sell any books you don’t need at the end of the college year.

To update your wardrobe, check out second hand and charity shops for clothes and accessories.  Get worn shoes repaired at your local shoe repair shop for less than €10 before they need to be thrown out.

Transport: think about getting a monthly student ticket for the bus, train or luas. The student leap card gives you a reduction on travel and in some cases retail stores nationwide. Consider getting a bike – once you’ve got it, it’s completely free (and often quicker) to get around. This will help you cut down on travel costs.

Renting: don’t just jump at the first rental accommodation that you have viewed, take your time deciding to make sure it ticks all the important boxes. For example is it conveniently located, is it in a secure area and does it have the facilities that you require? Have a look on citizensinformation.ie for more information on your rights as a tenant and the minimum standards of accommodation. If you are renting, look after your accommodation. The landlord may take any damage or breakages out of your deposit at the end of the year.
Put all your spare change in a jar. It can add up fast. When it’s full, take it to the bank or coin to cash machine which you can find in some convenient stores.
You may be entitled to a student grant. Check out citizensinformation.ie for more details. For information on  financial assistance schemes available in Ireland check out studentfinance.ie
You may be entitled to a tax refund if you worked over the summer.  Check out revenue.ie for details.
If you have a credit card, make sure you get one with the lowest interest rate possible with no annual fees and only enough of a credit limit to get you by in an emergency. Don’t carry it with you, but instead keep it in a safe place known only to you. Stick a note to your credit card saying, “For emergency only. Is this an emergency?".
Save money on your mobile by shopping around or using mobile messaging apps. Compare costs on the the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg)'s website and consider carefully which deal is best for you. Instead of spending money on calls or texts, use mobile messaging apps such as Skype or WhatsApp.
Check out our money savings tips for more information.

Step 1: Finding somewhere to live
Step 2: Student banking – keeping your money under control
Step 3: Counting your cash - set a realistic budget
Step 4: Pay your bills on time
Step 5 – Money saving tips

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