Living Affordably and Sustainably – 4 Ways to Manage your Money at York

Usefully enough, a lot of these tips to save money also happen to be tips for living more sustainably! We’re killing two birds with one stone in this blog post.

Living independently can be expensive. It’s not just the price of rent, but little extras we never think about at home. Like who buys the shampoo? And the toilet roll? All these little things add up. So here’s a series of tips to keep the cost down and make sure university remains affordable. I’ve tried to avoid the super obvious tips. Budgeting and asking for student discount are key, but here are some tips that you might not have thought about:

Commit to Shopping Second-Hand

I don’t mean shampoo or toilet roll here, even if I’ve been mooching shampoo off my housemate for the last month. I mainly mean clothes and textbooks.

York has had a boom of vintage clothes shops opening recently, but these can be pricier than the charity shops. The size of the student population in York means that there’s a significant amount of young people’s clothes in charity shops, so there’s always something you can find. My favourite t-shirt (it’s a dinosaur pushing a shopping trolley) was found for £3 from a charity shop on Fossgate.

It’s a similar situation for books. There are so many second-hand book shops in the city that there’s a good chance of finding a used copy of what you need.

Buy a Bike/Buy a Bus Pass

There are loads of cycle paths in York

York is fantastic for cycling. There are hundreds of bike racks across the university and the city. Most roads have bike lanes and there’s a series of cycle paths away from traffic that can be used too.

If your accommodation is over thirty minutes from town, you’re not always going to be able to walk into the city. Cycling is a safe, quick alternative which cuts down your carbon emissions and costs less than a bus pass.

4 Ways to Manage your Money at York - buy a bike

If cycling isn’t possible, I recommend buying buying a bus pass. Or downloading the app for the bus service you’re using. There are normally cheaper deals on the apps, especially if you’re not going to be using the bus regularly enough to warrant buying a termly or yearly bus pass. It also saves paper to show your phone to the driver rather than being printed a ticket.

Bring Your Own Lunch and Invest in a Yorcup (or your own flask!)

Even if you are the most organised and time-efficient person at the university, there are still going to be days when coffee is fuelling you. A Yorcup is a reusable coffee cup, one of the university’s sustainable initiatives. By buying a Yorcup, you save on the latte levy, a 20p tariff added to the price of your drink if it requires a single-use plastic cup. You can use whatever reusable cup you want to avoid paying the levy. But conveniently, a Yorcup will be washed for you when you’re done with it.

Likewise, whilst there are loads of options to eat lunch on campus or in town, it’s always going to cheaper to bring your own lunch. Get into the habit of making your lunch the night before if you’re going to be away from your accommodation all day. Make sure you include something exciting in there to perk you up after midday!

Learn to Cook

The best thing you can do here is to invest in a spice rack and Google the best types of dishes that the herbs/spices can be added to. Then your dish can have the most basic, tinned foods but the meal can still taste fantastic because it’s been flavoured. I also tend to eat vegetarian meals at uni because not buying meat really cuts down my shopping bill.

4 Ways to Manage your Money at York - learn to cook

I hope you’ve found these tips useful – it’s four simple ways to save money that work for me and also coincide with living life a little more sustainably.

Read more money-saving tips from our students

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I'm a final year English and History student, aspiring travel writer and avid museum goer. I studied abroad in my second year and haven't stopped talking about it since.