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How to Live Very Cheaply at University- Frugal Living

Updated on September 24, 2015

Get things for free

You don't want to spend money if you are a student ; you want to get as many things as you can for free. Did you know you can get free accommodation? Yes, even in the major cities such as London. You need to register with companies that specialise in looking after private properties. You will not be a tenant but instead a guardian of the property. You will most likely have all or part of your utility bills paid for you. This is a brilliant way to live cheaply as a student. Probably best to try this in your second or third year. You may want to find one or two other student friends to team up with.The downside is that you can't be sure if this will last months or years. Strangely, this seems to put people off. But you are not like that , so I will tell you even more things about how you can get things free or at very low cost.

Some money saving tips

Go to a pound store or thrift shop but only buy essentials such as toiletries and food items.

Find out the times the supermarkets drastically reduce the price of bread and near sell by dates on other foodstuff. Stock up and freeze if possible.

Pop into takeaways and stock up on free ketchup, sauces and serviettes.

Introduce yourself to local restaurants and offer to do an hours washing up for a free meal. Lots of good things can come your way when the owner gets to know you.

Introduce more fruit and vegetables to your diet. Try to eat less meat but eat healthily and for enjoyment.

Stop using public transport and walk or cycle. If you don't have a bike, try to get a free one from a recycling site.

Get as many free things that you need to buy from free recycling sites.

Look to join libraries besides your own university. This will cut down on the number of books you have to buy. If you have to buy books, buy secondhand , and then resell.

Enter free competitions when there is a skill element or one that requires a slogan for an ad campaign.

Register as an extra with an acting agency. You can bring your study book with you cos there is usually a lot of sitting around. Basically you are being paid to study.

Place a free ad offering an hours free conversational English in exchange for an evening meal or Sunday lunch. You will meet some amazing people and you will most likely be treated to the most exotic dishes and superb wines.

Find out from your parents if there are any relatives living nearby that you could visit. Any support network can be a lifesaver if things get tricky.

Sign up to focus groups - they pay well but are infrequent. Typically £50 for two hours work.

Download skype to your computer for free phone calls.

Become a mystery shopper. It pays well.

Pop into betting shops for free pens and on big occasions they often put out free snacks. If your flat is cold they are a good place to read the paper and keep warm. Look out for free betting coupons, typically worth £2 in newspapers such as the Sun and Mirror.

Do paid online surveys for cash or high street vouchers. pinecone research and valued opinions are good ones. Pinecone surveys pay £3 each time for a 10 minute survey. You can have it paid into paypal or get vouchers. They also occasionally send you free products to test and then pay you for your evaluation.

If you are renting a flat or house , you could rent out your parking space. (Assuming you are not reckless enough to be driving a car.) Log on to

Set yourself up as a private maths tutor. So long as you got a grade A at gcse maths and are both numerate and personable you could easily teach maths to 11 year olds about to go to secondary school. Charge anything from £10 to £20 for an hours lesson. much better pay than the usual student jobs. Once you have made some money , you could start up a tutor agency matching friends and other students at University with local pupils. The demand is massive nationwide. Good communication skills and an empathetic approach are essential requirements for a good tutor.

Apply to European Universities

If you haven't already applied to go to University , consider applying to European Union countries to take your degree. Prague is a beautiful city and lectures are delivered in English. There are currently Uk citizens who couldn't get a place in UK Universities studying medicine in Prague. It is really cheap to live in Prague. Drinks such as a pint of beer are less than £1. Eating out is about half the UK price. Accommodation costs are again much cheaper.

Think about signing up to hubpages , start writing articles and get paid when someone clicks on the generated ads.

You might like to read another article (hub) called how to live like a multi-millionaire on the minimum wage 

or how to make money from home-helping others


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    • seanorjohn profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      Thanks for the visit Billybuc. Will check out your frugal living Hubs.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      All good suggestions! I've written quite a few hubs about frugal living and living the simple life. I applaud you for your efforts.

    • lobobrandon profile image

      Brandon Lobo 

      6 years ago

      Yup seems like it :) What I said isn't exactly Frugal living, but does help a university student, so it's worth the mention in the end

    • seanorjohn profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      Thanks Lobo. I will add your suggestion to this hub. By pure coincidence I have just left a comment on your hub about cockroaches. We must have been commenting at the same time.

    • lobobrandon profile image

      Brandon Lobo 

      6 years ago

      You could add writing online to get some extra income then there wouldn't need to be a reason for Frugal Living :D I'm a university student and pay almost everything myself through my online earnings :D

    • alocsin profile image


      6 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Excellent information for the often money-lacking college student. Voting this Up and Useful.

    • livingpah2004 profile image


      6 years ago from USA

      Great advise. Your money saving tips are perfect for the college students. Thanks for writing on this topic.Voted up!

    • seanorjohn profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Thanks Theresa it's true that many others besides students could cut down costs by trying out some of these suggestions.

    • Theresa_Kennedy profile image

      Theresa Kennedy 

      7 years ago from Minnesota

      I just had to check out your hubs after the nice comment you left on one of mine, and very glad I did. You have a wonderful list going, with a little something that anyone and everyone could try. Some of these are so basic that people forget it's doable. Delicious ingenuity like getting a free meal for an hour of English conversation or washing dishes at a restaurant.

    • seanorjohn profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      It is indeed doable. An old friend did this in England and Australia.

    • Om Paramapoonya profile image

      Om Paramapoonya 

      7 years ago

      Lots of great tips here. Back in college, my friends and I sometimes joked about doing the dishes for free meals at a restaurant, but we had never tried it for real. I guess we just didn't realize it was actually doable. :)

    • seanorjohn profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Thanks Mary Ann. If we change to the Euro we would be closer to competing with the dollar stores. These are certainly difficult times we are living through. Not the best of times to be young or old.

    • profile image

      THAT Mary Ann 

      7 years ago

      I am amused to see you have a "pound store" which, at this point, is twice as expensive as our dollar store because our US currency isn't worth the paper it's printed on! Enjoyed this hub...rated Up and useful!

    • seanorjohn profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Thanks Prairie. Make sure you head for a top quality, preferably family run restaurant.

    • prairieprincess profile image

      Sharilee Swaity 

      7 years ago from Canada

      john, these are some good ideas here. I love your idea of asking a local diner if you can wash dishes for a free meal. That could work! I will stumble this one. Take care.

    • seanorjohn profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Thanks Tony, yes perhaps I should have written a more general hub title.

    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 

      7 years ago from South Africa

      Thanks for the great ideas - I think many of them will work even if you're not a student!

      Love and peace



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