The Central Taxis Guide to Savvy Student Savings

2 September 2013

We've all heard the horror stories about the dreaded poor student lifestyle but don't be daunted by the prospect of living on meagre means. Read our student guide to just some of the things you can do to save your pennies and make your time as a student as comfortable and baked bean-free as possible. 

And remember, Central Taxis will save your time as well your pennies when you avail of our exclusive student offer. Quote 'SURVIVAL' when you phone for your taxi and we will waive the call-out charge!

ACCOMMODATION

Council Tax – Living only with other students means you won’t have to pay. If you share your accommodation with one or more non-students council tax will apply to your property. Your flatmate may get a discount of 25% due to sharing with a student and many people will choose to split the remaining cost equally but if there is more than one non-student resident the full amount of tax applies. Your presence will not have increased or decreased that amount in any way so state your case with your flatmates if you want to save money on your accommodation. See http://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/info/701/council_tax for further details.

Utility Bills – If you pay your energy company directly then take charge! It’s worthwhile checking if you can save money by switching your gas or electricity to another supplier. You may even find it cheaper and more energy efficient to switch to a pre-pay meter. You can also save money by cutting down on your overall energy usage. Make small changes like ensuring appliances and lights are off when not in use and not simply on standby. Grab some extra layers rather than turning on the heating, wash your dishes by hand and avoid using appliances like energy guzzling dryers. Remember that garments that are delicate are better off hand washed than delicate washed and when getting those all-important assignments done, get yourself into the uni computer lab or library where it’s always warm and save on charging your laptop at home! For further info see http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/scotland

TV – Do you need a TV licence? If you are watching live TV then, yes. Consider the saving that could be made by not having a TV provider and only streaming TV after it’s been broadcast via sites like BBC iPlayer, 4OD and Netflix. It is illegal to watch TV without a TV licence except where the content is not being broadcast live. So save yourself the cost of a TV provider and licence by using your laptop or PC to catch up on your favourite shows instead. You may also be entitled to a part refund on the cost of your existing TV licence if your property has been vacant over the summer break. Check out the details at http://www.tvlicensing.co.uk/

FOOD

Waste not, want not - Educate yourself about the difference between the sell by, best before and the use by date. ‘Sell by’ is a guide for the supermarket or grocer. Past this date food can still be consumed but the consumer has less time to do so before it spoils. The best before date is for guidance only. It is ‘best’ to use these items ‘before’ the date on the packet but more often than not food is still perfectly edible after that time. The ‘use by’ date is the one you need to be careful about. Never cook food that is past its use by date or risk making yourself or others ill. Find out more at http://www.food.gov.uk

Share and share alike - Google is not only a great resource for checking the warning signs on ripeness and freshness of various foods but for recipes to turn leftover food into a delicious meal too. Making big batches of economy meals and freezing portions for later is also a handy way to save money on your food shopping. Pool together with your flatmates to cook family-sized meals rather than meals for one. This is a sure fire way to get more bangers for your buck. 

Don't be a supermarket snob - At the supermarket don’t be afraid to opt for the value brands. Plenty of research money and time has been committed by Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s et al to ensure these products can compete with the well-known brands on taste. While it won’t always be a winner, more often than not you’ll be surprised at the quality you can get for less pennies. It’s also worth looking to Lidl and Aldi to make savings when buying fresh produce. Not only do these companies offer great savings on meat, fruit and veg but often can’t be beat on the variety of fresh produce they offer. 

BLAG, BLAG, BLAG

Take advantage of being a student while you can! Many companies offer student deals and discounts with traders in Edinburgh only too aware that a staggering one fifth of the population is a student in pre or post graduate study. Vote with your feet and give your valued business to those companies that have put something special in place for students. These savvy companies are all too aware that one day you too will be a full price-paying customer and are eager to build brand loyalty. Check out the array of student discount cards that are available to you including NUS and Student Recommended

Be sure to attend your campus Fresher's Fair and why not pop along to the fairs of the other colleges and universities? These trade fairs are always teeming with companies clamouring to give you all kinds of great freebies and discounts and they're not just for freshers either! 

LAST BUT NOT LEAST...

Learn to haggle, blag, bargain to get yourself through the lean years and be cheeky - shy kids get no sweets! And always remember that your education is the key to future financial success.