During my first term here, I spent all my money willy-nilly. I didn’t really know about budgeting – and let’s face it, I was being an idiot about my spending. Then I had no money and my life was much less fun. This forced me to become the thriftiest person alive. So, if you’re like me and need to save/ don’t want to be spending as much as you are right now, I’ve compiled a list of how to live on a budget, but still have fun.

Also, those NCTJ exams aren’t gonna pay for themselves!!!!!!!

1.       Book your train tickets online in advance.

I go home all the time, and it only costs me £4.50 for a single to Victoria (with a railcard). This is compared to the regular price of 13 whole pounds. Going to London can be so cheap. Just get the train to Victoria – not Kings Cross, because at this point, you have no money for high-speed services. From there, London is your oyster (at this point I should mention that having an Oyster card will also save you money).

2.       Get UNIDAYS and vouchercloud, and sign up to as many loyalty schemes as humanly possible.

With UNIDAYS and vouchercloud, there are always 10% or 20% deals at so many stores and restaurants (mainly Italian) and places to go and things to do. Loyalty schemes are also a huge help. As I am partial to the odd Nando’s, and their loyalty cards mean every now and then, I get FREE CHICKEN. You can sign up for free and save each time you do something. It’s a life saver.

3.       Stop being a snob about Aldi and Poundland.

It’s 2017 and budget shopping is ~cool~. Own brand cereals are the same as legitimate brand ones. At Poundland you can get a whole multipack of Pom-Bears for (you guessed it) £1. What a time to be alive.

4.       Open a savings account.

Savings accounts are quite possibly the best things since sliced bread. You earn money for not spending money. If that isn’t an incentive to spend less, what is?

5.       Don’t buy things because you think you’re healthy.

The amount of vegetables I have wasted is shameful. I’ve bought probably millions of peppers and lettuce bags and carrots thinking ‘YES! This week I’ll be the healthiest person alive!’ but then I don’t eat any of it. This will save not only money, but it means you’re not being wasteful and that’s probably good karma.

6.       Samples/ trials.

Why would I spend £20 on foundation when I only wear it around 10 times a year? I could just as easily pop down to my local MAC counter and get a sample FOR FREE. This doesn’t just work for make-up. Over the last year, I have got so many free Graze boxes. That’s a lot of food. Also, if you’re ever at Bluewater, keep walking past the free pretzel/ pancake/ chocolate/ frozen yogurt people with various disguises. If you get enough free food, that’s dinner sorted.

7.       Don’t be afraid of spending money.

This probably sounds counter-intuitive, but what is even the point of saving if you don’t occasionally go on an ASOS binge and buy things you know you’ll never wear, just because they’re on sale. Seriously though, if you really want to buy something that you know you can’t live without, go for it. The beauty of saving is that you have money for things you ACTUALLY NEED.

So, that’s everything.

Enjoy spending around £300 on NCTJ exams.

How to save all of your money only to spend it all on NCTJ exams