10 Money saving tips for International students – Newbies

There are many ways you can save money in the united kingdom as an international student. Some of the tips are simply common sense, but some are worth remembering as it could save you loads of cash. We all could do with saving some money! So I have collated 9 great tips to help you save some money.

1)  Shop at Farmers’ Markets

Most university cities and towns have a Farmers market and it is usually the cheapest place to buy fruit and vegetables. Usually, the markets are held one or twice a week  on the high street or some corner depending on the locality. The fruits and vegetables are usually sold by farmers – hence the reason they are cheap.  I patronize them often and it saves me about 36% on cost. Ask your colleagues about the street markets, they probably would able to tell you. Its great way to cut back on spending and you will be SUPPORTING the local farmers too!



2) Ask for student discounts

Many Newbies- especially students who miss the freshers week don’t know  how student discount works. Many shops ordinarily don’t advertise that they give student discounts. It’s best to ask in EVERY shop. Take your university card out with you whenever you go shopping, and make sure you always ask if they do student discounts there – you’ll be surprised how many stores do give discounts on the quiet. Many students also make use of specialist student money saving and discount sites. You can join the biggest of these, studentbeans.com for free.

3) Invest in Travel cards 

Investing in Travel cards will save you lots of money if you are the type of person that enjoy travelling. The 16-25 Railcard was designed for young people in full-time education (although full-time students who are over 25 may also be eligible). The card can be purchased for one year or three, and gives you a third off of rail journeys across the UK. Read my post on 6 money-saving cards you should know about  to learn more

4) Cut Your Hair yourself

Cutting your hair yourself could save you over £250 in a year. African men could save £20- £30/ month just by cutting their hair on their own. For ladies, I suggest relaxing your hair less often. This will help you save money. The shorter you wear your hair, the more often you’ll have to visit a stylist for trims and possibly touch-ups to keep it looking great. Go for a mid-length or longer cut. Bobs that reach the ears and lower are low-maintenance styles that work with just about any lifestyle; they can be worn on relaxed or pressed natural hair to save money.

5) Shop Late when buying Food

In Most Supermarkets when buying things like meat, tangerines, apples, bread, cakes, carrots, ready-made meals etc   the price is slashed down late in the evenings , especially when the goods are near its sell date. So buying certain food items late could give you an opportunity to get massive reductions. Just the other day, I bought a pack of ready-made meal for 50p! What a bargain!

6) Sign up for Cashbacks

Signing up for cash backs is one great way to save money in the UK. It’s not a scam and there aren’t any financial strings attached.  Cashback sites are quite simple. They are sites that give you some money back( called cashback) when you purchase goods/products through them. I know this sounds too good to be true but it really isn’t. They promote various company products and deals, so when you buy through them everybody wins!

So which cash back Site should you join?

Personally I recommend  TopCashBack  and  QuidCo. You can never go wrong with these two sites as they do not charge you any joining or annual fees.  QuidCo though takes £5  from what you earn every membership year. TopCashBack is the clear favorite for me!  TopCashBack is free to join, free to use and free to cash-out. They’re also the only cashback site that doesn’t have a minimum pay-out threshold, and you can cash-out as many times a year as you want. Use QuidCo for instore cashback. You can register your credit/debit card with Quidco and when you shop at participating stores you automatically get cashback! 2 examples with Quidco is you get 7.2% cashback when you shop at H Samuel and 4.5% at Cineworld!

TopCashBack  and  QuidCo will reward you with £10 and £5 respectively when you refer a friend. If you are buying hardware gadgets e.g computers it is always advisable to Shop around to find the cheapest price for your computer using a ‘shopbot’, such as Kelkoo or Pricerunner. Then buy it via a cashback website to earn cash back on the amount you spend. This way you reduce your spendings and maximise your savings!

7).  Shop at Charity Shops

For newbies- I mean those coming to the UK for the first time–  Charity shops are largely a British institution and many of the goods sold in charity shops are donated by the public.. They are retail outlets selling mainly second-hand donated goods to raise funds for their parent charities. Every year charity shops raise around £200m for a range of causes in the UK. Charity shops also function as a way of raising awareness of the parent charity. Shopping at Charity shops is certainly a great way to cut back on spending!

Most charity shops sell ladies’, men’s and children’s clothing, books, toys, ornaments, kitchenware, videos, music, computer games, furnishings and bric-a-brac. Some charity shops also sell furniture and electrical appliances, and some are specialist shops, such as charity bookshops, bridal wear or music shops. As most of the items sold are donated and much of the work is voluntary, charity shops have relatively low costs.

Popular Charity shops with a strong presence on high streets in the UK include YMCA, British Heart Foundation, Barnardos, Cancer Research UK, Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, Age UK (formerly Age Concern and Help the Aged) .

8) Spend less by Calling Home Using Skype

Calling home using Skype is one way international students can save money on mobile and landline calls

If you watch Oprah Winfrey, you’ll notice that whenever she talks to people that are not in her studio, they are communicating through Skype. Skype is  really easy and simple to use. All you require is an internet broadband, a free Skype account, and set of headphones with a microphone attached.

If the person you are calling is also using Skype on their computer, you can talk to them for free- anywhere in the world. If you both hook up webcams to your computer, you can not only talk for FREE, but you can also see each other on your computer screen for free. Even if you want to call someone who doesn’t use Skype, you can still call them on their cell phone or home phone for a very inexpensive rate.

Currently, Skype offers an unlimited long distance plan for under £5 a month where you can call anyone in the US, UK and Canada from your computer to their landline or cell phone.

For under £9/ month ( incl VAT) Skye offer unlimited long distance world plan to mobiles and landlines in many countries around the world. Visit Skype official website for details of the unlimited world plan.

 9) Shop during seasonal sales and stock clearance

Looking out for seasonal sales and stock clearance is a great way to save money. When looking for a bargain, timing and information is everything! For example, January is a month when many electronic stores slash down prices of old stocks to give room for new TV models, Digital Cameras, printers, kettles, furniture etc. In January you can easily find great bargains on bed sheets, bed covers, pillows and pillow cases, wedding gowns and carpets.  Boxing day ( December 26th) is usually a great day to grab a bargain on Designer clothes. Boxing Day sales remain the main event in bargain hunters’ calendars as retailers slash the price of designer clothes and big ticket items such as TVs and sofas by as much as 50%.

Historically the Boxing Day sales belong to fashion, furniture and electrical goods stores. As spring arrives, there are great buys on winter coats, sweaters, hats, gloves, winter boots, and other cold weather gear. I recommend you write these periods down in your notepad.

10) Don’t Join a Gym 

Most folks join a gym for £25 a month only to end up not going at consistently. Be smart and save money ! Instead of joining a Gym find other means of keeping fit and save your wallet. practice stretching and some light muscle exercise at home. You could walk or cycle to campus everyday. Alternatively you go could go jogging twice or thrice a week. Finding a jogging partner could make jogging fun! Personally I enjoy Jogging. It saves me £300 a year alone( including other health benefits).


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