Now that I am a poor student I have had to adapt my ways a little bit to suit my new budget. I have with some areas found it a real challenge, but I have also found that being thrifty is a fun challenging and it's very fulfilling when you make a big saving. These are a few of the things that I've done to cut back, which are saving me loads of money! These aren't just suitable for students but anyone who is feeling the pinch at the moment!!
I have always taken lunch to work so this isn't a new thing for me, however, it has been very tempting while I am at uni to have the dish of the day or grab something from the delicious sandwich shop down the road. I have put a stop to this though as lunch can end up costing as much as £5 a day, where as my homemade lunch probably costs me no more than a £1!
Taking a Flask
I have always made sure I take water out with me, but usually when shopping, or doing anything actually, I get tempted to buy tea and coffee to drink while walking around. Some of the expensive coffees are more than £3 a cup. At the beginning of uni I also fell into the trap of buying coffee between lectures, which although cheaper, still adds up when your having 1 or 2 a day. So now I have invested in a thermos flask (just £5 from Asda) and take my own hot drinks to uni to enjoy in my coffee break.
Walking & Cycling
Until I got my bike I hadn't cycled in years! I didn't often walk places either as I would use my car or the bus to get about (which isn't very green, I admit!) I go to uni everyday by foot and either walk or cycle into town. I do occasionally use the bus to town if it's wet or get a lift to do my food shopping, but that's about it. It saves me a fortune and leaves my conscience clear.
Using the Library
The library has so much to offer, especially if you're at university! I have been taking out novels to read, get all my text books from the library and I take advantage of the large audio-visual room which allows you to take out DVD's on free overnight loan! So not only can you get all your studying done at the library without having to buy any books, but it also offers fantastic free entertainment!
A natural advantage of being vegetarian is that meals are cheaper because of meat being so expensive to buy. However, things can get expensive if you're living off expensive vegetarian ready meals. I find that cooking from scratch is really cheap, especially as I use a lot of beans and lentils to supplement more expensive items like soya 'meats' and quorn.
When I do go out for coffee, I always like to go places that offer loyalty cards. My university has a system where if you buy 6 hot drinks, you get the next one free, I also like Cafe Nero for it's loyalty card scheme. One of my favourite restaurants back at home also has a loyalty card scheme, so I am saving them up at the moment for a free lunch!
I love shopping and I find it difficult that I can't just buy whatever clothes that I see and want. However, you can get some great cheap finds in charity shops! If you're willing and have the time then spend the day routing through different charity shops, and you may get some amazing piece of clothing, like a beautiful vintage dress priced at £3. The fact that you have got a bargain as well is an amazing feeling. However, some days when you go in, it seems like they're full of nothing but tat!
Going out for meals is a very expensive hobby that I am having to cut back on, which is unfortunate because I love food! However, you can still go out to eat cheaply as they are some great budget restaurants out there and deals (like eating at certain restaurants at an earlier time or at lunch). I also save any vouchers that I get given to eat out places to get money off my bill, you can pick up loads at freshers fairs!
Fun & Activities
I also usually wouldn't bat an eyelid at paying whatever amount to do the things that I want to do. Now I feel very frugal, and unless it is a special time where I let my hair down.
When I go out for a drink, I usually like to look at deals and go to the bars with the best ones on.
I also like to go to the cinema, but either on a Wednesday using my 2 for 1 discount through Orange or going to the student cinema, which is considerably cheaper.
I like to find free activities to do in the new town that I am living and at the university. So far I have found beautiful walks, historical things to explore, art galleries and museums.
I also like to take advantage of cheap activities that are offered through the university.