One of the good things about researching how to save money and maximise your discounts after graduating is that you’re actually already ahead of the game. The student life is far from being a distant memory, so you’re still all-too familiar with how it feels to live frugally and putting in the extra effort if it means it saves you a few quid.
Whether you’re saving for a deposit to buy or rent, a holiday, to go travelling or just because, we’ve shared our top tips to both save and spend well.
Stick to the 30-day rule
The biggest trigger of overspending is the instant gratification that you get after buying something. Whether it’s clothes, gadgets or holidays, splashing out can make us feel good. However, that feeling can soon wear off and be replaced with a far worse feeling – one where you’re feeling too uneasy to even check your account balance.
That’s why we’re huge fans of the 30-day rule. This is where you wait for at least 30-days between first getting an impulse to buy that extra item, and deciding whether or not you will actually follow through with the purchase. You’ll be surprised by just how many items you don’t end up buying once that initial impulse to spend has passed.
Save money on clothing
No matter how hard you’re trying to save, whether it’s for an event, interview or just life in general, eventually you’ll either want or need new clothing. The good news is, there’s loads of ways to save money on clothes.
Of course, you can repair (or lean to repair) worn clothing. It’s also often cheaper to have clothing professionally repaired by a tailor than it is to buy brand new – so why not take a few items down to your local tailor and get some prices to repair them.
Sometimes items are beyond repair, or it might not actually be economical and so you want to go on a shopping trip. The good news is, your old clothes can still save you money on your new clothes. We’ve named a few below, but look up which retailers can offer you discounts or vouchers for recycling your old, used clothes:
- The North Face – This retailer’s ‘Clothes the Loop’ program allows consumers to drop off their unwanted clothing and footwear at The North Face Retail And Outlet Stores and earn a reward towards their next purchase.
- Levi – Levi offers customers a 10% discount on Levi’s products, in return for donating a bag of clean, dry clothes or shoes, of any brand.
- H&M – Every time a shopper donates a bag of textiles, they receive a £5 voucher off their next £30 shop.
- Marks & Spencers – M&S has partnered with Oxfam to encourage customers to recycle clothes they no longer wear. By donating an item of M&S branded clothing or soft furnishings to Oxfam, you’ll receive an M&S voucher worth £5 off when you spend £35.
- MAC – It’s not just clothes, but make-up too. By returning six MAC primary packaging containers to a MAC counter or MAC Cosmetics Online, you will receive a free MAC lipstick of your choice as a thank you.
- More – There are many more than the above, so be sure to do your research. Below we have recommended an app called ReGain, which has partnered with retailers especially so that you can turn unwanted clothes into discounts on new items.
If you’re trying hard to save, then you may as well be smart about where you’re investing your savings. Where you should save your money depends very much on what it is you’re planning on doing with it, as well as just how much you have and how much you plan to save each month.
At the moment, interest rates are low, so shop around if you’re looking for a savings account with the best interest rate. Websites such as comparethemarket.com and moneysupermarket.com can compare interest rates and offer you the best suggestions based on your starting balance and whether or not you need to have easy-access to your cash.
Alternatively, you could consider Premium Bonds for your savings. You don’t earn interest, but you can get access to your cash within ~5 working days and each pound invested essentially becomes a raffle ticket into a draw each month, where you could win between £25 – £1,000,000. As tempting as this sounds, do your research first and consider whether this would be right for you – as there is no guarantee that you will ever win a prize.
If you’re saving for a house deposit, then there’s no doubt that you should consider investing your savings in a Help-To-Buy ISA. This government initiative works by boosting your savings by 25% – so for every £200 you save, you will receive a government bonus of £50.
Use tech to your advantage
Harnessing tech – in particular comparison websites and certain apps – can be a great way of saving you some cash. Below are just a few suggestions of some great apps that all money-saving enthusiasts should have on their mobile phones:
- Hot Deals UK – An app and website dedicated to user-generated content – where users share the hottest deals and discounts around. Be warned – this app can make impulse buying tempting, but combine it with the 30-day rule and use the search function to search for things you genuinely want or need in order to secure the best price.
- Petrol Prices – This app shows you where nearby petrol stations are and the price of petrol and diesel, so you can make sure you get the best price you can when filling up.
- Parkopedia – Parkopedia shows you all of the places you can park in any area of the UK along with pricing information. This means you’ll never miss a free parking spot nearby again and the savings will soon rack up.
- Points apps – If you’re spending anyway, then not using points and loyalty apps is just throwing virtual money in the bin. Download any points or loyalty apps for the shops you frequent often. This includes coffee shops, restaurants and retailers.
- Saving / banking apps – No doubt you will have heard of banking and saving apps like Monzo and Starling, which help you to track your spending, budget and round up purchases so that you can save while you spend. We won’t list them all on this blog, but there’s a great roundup from Save The Student here.
- ReGain – An app which has partnered with retailers to help you trade in unwanted clothes for coupons.
Review your spending – including your direct debits
Now more than ever we live in an era where we subscribe to and pay monthly for a lot of things. Think Spotify, Netflix, Apple Music, your phone contract, insurances and more. The danger with paying for things this way is that these seem like small amounts, but they soon add up.
Just think, if you had to pay upfront for both Netflix and Spotify Premium, then you could be talking ~£190-£240 for the full 12-months – an amount certainly not to be sniffed at. A great way to save money is to cull some of those direct debits, especially any you don’t use daily.
Keep your student discounts going
One of the best ways to continue to maximise your discounts after graduating is to keep your student status, as this opens up a whole host of student discounts to you. If this is of interest, then we’ve already shared our top 10 cash hacks to extend your student discounts, so be sure to check them out.