How to Save Money When Shopping

Posted on February 18, 2012


Whether we’re buying clothes, stuff for our course, or just food, we students have a tendency to overspend. Here are a few simple ways to cut down on spending without having to avoid shopping all together.

Write a list. This doesn’t only apply to food shopping. When you’re looking for an outfit for a night out, think skirt? Shoes? Accessories? What do you need? Don’t buy two dresses to decide which you want to wear later.

When shopping for food, look in the cupboards and write a list before you leave the house, that way you won’t forget anything. I also heard that if you go shopping hungry you are more likely to pick up more food you don’t need. If you write a list, stick to it!

Buy one get one free isn’t always cheaper. Do you need two? If not, would it be cheaper to buy one of a different brand? If they are perishable items, like fruit or vegetables, they may get wasted.

Example – Do you need that much juice?

Tesco Fc Pure Orange Juice 1 Litre – £1.20 or 3 for £3.00

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Tesco Value Orange Juice 1 Litre – £0.62

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Know what to buy in bulk. On the other hand buying items like tinned food, pasta and some frozen food in bulk can save money. Look out for price-cuts on these kinds of things and buy them when they’re on offer.

Think about basic items that you may use a lot of e.g. beans, frozen veg, pasta, rice, etc. In our house we always buy the’ two for £1.70’ bread from Iceland and freeze one because we know that we get through a lot.

Points card, not store card. Nectar card, Tesco Clubcard, yes. Dorothy Perkins store card, no!

Whereas collecting points on your Clubcard can save you money, store cards waste your money and encourage you to spend more. Ever think, ‘I’ll just stick it on the store card and pay it later?’ Don’t forget that you will be charged interest. They may give you initial discounts, but they can end up costing you a lot in the long run.

Vouchers and cashback sites. If, like me, you are addicted to online shopping, you need to check out sites like,, and

Before you buy anything online you should check if there are any voucher codes. Even if it’s just for free delivery, you are saving money. Try different codes as sometimes more than one can be used.

With the cashback sites you just search for your items or online retailer through them and you get a percentage of the cost back. If you remember to use them you can make a bit of extra cash, and they sometimes have voucher codes too. Plus it’s great because you were going to buy the items anyway.  I’m signed up to Quidco, and although they have taken a while, they do send the cashback

Borrow or swap. I have only bought one book for my course, because I knew that I would need most of it. All of the other books I’ve needed I have found in the library. Books are expensive these days. If you only need certain chapters of books, check them out for a couple of weeks.

The same goes for those dresses you only wear once. If you have friends that are about the same size as you, you can swap and borrow. Annoyingly for me I have bigger feet than all of my housemates so I can’t borrow shoes.

There are also websites where you can swap clothes like

Student card! You don’t even need the NUS card to save money. A lot of the High Street shops accept the normal student card, Topshop, New Look, Dorothy Perkins, Republic, to name a few. Most places give you at least 10% off. McDonald’s also gives you free stuff if you buy a meal.

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