University is no longer the free ride it used to be in times gone by, today’s economic climate means that parents often can’t afford to supplement students living expenses, and making ends meet can be a juggling act. But there are steps students can take, with the assistance of various internet sites, a bit of effort, and the local newspapers, to help themselves get the best out of life while studying, and better yet it won’t cost the earth.

The best way to find out if you’ve got enough money coming in to cover everything you’re spending is to make a list. Keep track of everything you spend and check it off against the money you’ve actually got to spend. Make sure you keep enough to cover all your regular outgoings like rent, tuition fees, food and bills, even put some aside for books and stationery. Anything left over is yours to do with as you like, but if you have nothing left then you’ve got to find a way to increase your incomings or reduce your outgoings.

Whatever you may think, student life doesn’t mean that beer is a necessity, so while you should track every cent you spend, if overspending on nights out is where you’re going wrong then cutting back may be your only option. Ditto with eating out or buying pre-packaged meals. Learning to cook could save you a fortune, freeing up money to spend on beer! Simple, easy to make recipes are available online, covering staples like pasta sauce and curry. Alternatively, invest in a student cookbook that’s been designed for cooking with one burner, a microwave and the ingredients you can buy at a petrol station.

Start clipping coupons, sign up for online voucher sites and use every free or discounted offer you can get your hands on. Shop late at the supermarket and stock up on reduced items that you can freeze or use immediately. Look for simple, cheap ways to keep costs down such as getting your haircut at the local hairdressing college, it will be significantly cheaper and the students are supervised.

If you’re paying your own bills then research the utility suppliers and switch to a new company if it will save you money, you could save as much as €100 by changing something as simple as your electricity supplier. The same applies for phone and broadband, if you’re paying for it then make sure you’ve got the best deal possible.

Making money from nothing is always a bonus, so check out sites like that offers cashback on online purchases from an incredible number of companies, all very well known. Use comparision websites to make sure you’re getting the best deals and sign up for sites like Groupon and TopTable to get discounts on restaurants, dentists, flowers and more. If a part time job is out of the question but you spend hours surfing the net, consider signing up for online surveys instead. They may not pay a fortune, but every little helps!

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