Money Saving Tips

The current cost of living crisis has affected us all as we find our household bills increasing and trips to the supermarket become more and more expensive. The Student Funding team have reflected on what steps they are taking to help meet these challenges in their own lives and thought that it would be useful to share this with you.

The ENSA Website also has some information on how to save money.

Check out the money saving tips below.



When studying at Edinburgh Napier University you will need somewhere to live, this could be university accommodation, sharing a private house/flat with friends, owning your own property or living with parents.  

Accommodation is a student’s largest expense,.  When choosing a place to live ensure that you can afford it, see what is included with the property.  Student accommodation includes most bills like gas and electricity, some include basic Wi-Fi as well.  You will still need to pay for washing your clothes eg. Edinburgh Napier University accommodation has washing machines which you need to pay to use.  In private accommodation, you will need to also pay for gas, electricity and broadband.  If you are sharing a property with someone who is not a student, you may also need to pay council tax.


If you are not living with parents, you will need to pay a deposit.  If you are staying in Edinburgh Napier University accommodation, you will need to pay £500, will go towards your total rent.  If you decide to live in private accommodation, the deposit needed is refunded at the end of your tenancy.  Ensure that this deposit is put into a deposit scheme, the reason for this is if a landlord says you have damaged a property and you disagree with this, a third party will decide if any of your deposit is taken or not.

For information on deposit schemes please visit the following website Tenancy deposits (tenants) -


If you are living in private accommodation with other people, you will need to split bills for utilities.  If one person is making the payment to a company make sure they are paying by direct debit, this will ensure that the payment is on time and no late fees.  If you need to transfer money to someone each month, set up a standing order, this will ensure that you do not forget to transfer money.


You may have your own special coffee or tea, but sometimes doing a food shop as a group who live together can save money in the long run.  Sometimes buying a larger pack of food and making one meal for the whole house can be cheaper than purchasing a smaller pack and making just one portion.   It can also be more sociable to cook and eat together.


There is no denying banking and personal finances are a minefield and can all be very confusing. I tend to follow Martin Lewis and have signed up to receive weekly emails for advice and up to date information on what is happening in the financial world. Martin delivers the information in a clear way, and uses language which is easy to understand.

I use his website to check for the best bank accounts, interest rates and credit card deals to help me review my finances. I tend to do this in January, and at least once a year, to ensure my deals are working for me. I like to hold various bank accounts in addition to my current account, all of which are for a particular purpose such as Christmas, bills, holidays etc. Keeping my money separately helps me organise my money and ensures I don’t dip into these pots unnecessarily”.

Lee Chalmers Student Funding Adviser

Useful Websites for money saving tips:

Budgeting & Banking - Save the Student

Here are some of the other top tips:

  • Look into getting a student bank account if you haven’t already got one.This can give you access to other discounts such as free student railcard, free Tastecard, cashback, free subscriptions and access to an interest-free overdraft if you need/want one.
  • If you are going to be travelling abroad, research bank accounts that allow international transactions when travelling as high street banks often charge a premium for such services whether that is in fees or exchange rates.If you happen to be going to study abroad it is even more important for you to research a suitable account as these transactions will quickly cost you a lot of money.
  • Keep an eye on interest rates and ensure that if you have any savings, your account is giving you the best interest rate you can get. High Street banks tend to like you to have a current account with them in order to get the higher rates of interest on their savings accounts. Make a note once a year to review your accounts so that they are working hard for you, especially when the rates are slightly higher like they are currently.It is usually quite simple to upgrade your account and the interest is money for doing nothing.
  • Utilise bank accounts (or savings vaults/pots etc within accounts) to keep money for different things separately.For example, have an account to hold your rent money and transfer it to your current account when you need to pay it.Or have an account for Christmas savings or holiday savings and put money into these when you can, again only transferring to your current account when you are needing to use the money for that particular purpose.If you can commit to setting up Standing Orders even better, transferring money in to your savings accounts when you can (when you are paid) means that you don’t really miss the money. By keeping these “pots” of money separate you tend to forget they are there until you need to use them.Sometimes it helps make your money work better for you when you categorise it, it makes you stop and think if you are tempted to dip into it!



As part of my yearly review of my finances, I check all my Direct Debits for things such as energy, phone and TV/Broadband packages, car insurance, and house insurance, and check what deals are out there so I can compare these to what I am paying.

 Phoning the suppliers and suggesting you are looking to cancel, or moving to another provider, often comes up trumps as they tend to offer you a better deal to stay with them.  Unfortunately, these days it doesn’t pay you to be a loyal customer, new customers are generally offered the better prices!  It is worth taking a couple of hours out of your week once a year to do a quick review, look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves!”.

Lee Chalmers Student Funding Adviser

Here are some other top tips:


  • There are not a lot of great deals out there right now for switching energy companies as most are charging the same energy price cap. This might change as the energy crisis begins to lessen.
  • You might not be able to do much about changing supplier either as this might be determined by your landlord or included in your rent if you are in student accommodation. However, if you can, The Martin Lewis website is always a good resource for information as it is usually bang up to date with what deals might be out there. Check out the website There are also tips on this website about how to cut your energy use and improve your efficiency.
  • Please give regular readings to your energy supplier if you don’t have a smart meter to ensure they are not estimating your usage therefore charging you more or less. Make sure you give readings as soon as you move in and when you move out so you are not paying for
  • Stay warm for less by turning your heating down slightly and wearing an extra layer or invest in a hot water bottle.


  • Know what you are using your phone for, you might not want or need to pay for free calls/texts if you are not using your phone in this way.Some contracts include these free, others don’t, so don’t pay for something you aren’t going to use.
  • Ensure your data allowance is adequate for your needs and pay for only what you need.Some apps use a lot of data (eg Spotify and Netflix) however, you can set apps like these to only work when connected to a WiFi network so that they are not running away with your data.
  • Set a spending cap with your phone provider so that you can’t breach your allowances, this will help you keep control of your account and ensure you don’t end up with a huge and unexpected bill!
  • Some phone companies have started offering cashback deals with their contracts, however look for these by using a cashback website like Quidco or TopCashback.These generally give instant cashback without the need to send in monthly bills to claim it.
  • Your phone contract may include a handset cost, remember to note down the expiration date of your contract and contact your provider when in the last 30 days of this period.At the end of the of your contract period your handset will be paid off, however, the provider will not contact you to reduce your monthly payment, it is up to you to contact them and request a change of plan to a SIM only deal (or upgrade your handset/contract if this is what you want to do, and remember you can recycle your old handset and earn a few £s).
  • If you plan to leave your current network, be aware that you might need to give them 30 days notice and your phone may need to be unlocked.You can now “text to switch” which makes switching and keeping your number far simpler and without having to communicate with your provider.
  • Finally, if you plan to be abroad or are going to be studying abroad, consider this when entering into your contract and find out what the costs are for using your allowances abroad.It may work out cheaper for you to buy a separate SIM card for using while abroad, but, discuss this with your provider.
  • Remember to haggle with your network provider, they can usually always offer a discount on the first cost they give you.


  • Contact your providers for these services and speak to them as you should be checking you are on the best deal they can offer you. You may be tied into a contract, but, start negotiating with them when this is approaching.Some providers bundle these services together which can work out cheaper.Again, if you suggest you are looking at moving or cancelling your services it often results in you being offered the prices they might offer new customers.Always worth a try!
  • If you have a Freeview TV and a box, viewing is free, if you want specific channels/online streaming services do shop around and ensure that you are only paying for the channels you are interested in watching.
  • Finally, some providers will offer “social tariffs” for customers on certain benefits such as Universal Credit, so do ask the question if this is relevant to your circumstances.

Student Contents Insurance

It is recommended that you get contents insurance for all your belongings to protect them against loss, theft and damage while you are staying away from home.  You should first check if you are covered by your parent’s insurance or checking if it would be cheaper for them to add you to this instead of taking out a separate policy. If you are renting, it is unlikely that you will need buildings insurance as this is the responsibility of the landlord. The furnishings provided by the landlord should be insured by them too.  Do shop around on the price comparison websites such as Compare the Market (, Money Supermarket (  etc to find the best deal. Know exactly what you want to insure and understand what the cover is before you commit. 

Car Insurance

  • You will normally receive a renewal notification from your current insurance company around 30 days before it is due to renew telling you what your new cost is. At this point you should start to look around at what prices other companies can offer you. Again using price comparison websites as mentioned above can help simplify this, but, do bear in mind these do not cover the whole of market, companies such as Direct Line are not on these comparison sites and need to be contacted directly. If you get a cheaper quote elsewhere, tell your current provider as they might match it in order to keep your business.The best time to start negotiating is about 3 to 4 weeks before your renewal date.
  • Other tips to help reduce your premiums are adding additional drivers (such as your parents) and haggle with your insurer!
  • You can also check cash back sites such as Topcashback ( and Quidco (, but always check the price against the price comparison website results to ensure that it is in fact a good deal!

Music Streaming

  • Most streaming platforms/apps offer student discounts so make sure you tell them you are a student to ensure you get the best price. You might also be offered free subscriptions through taking out a student bank account, or your mobile phone contract, so always be aware of the offers before you make your decision.You can also usually try free before you buy so worth utilising this benefit too.

Council Tax

Students are eligible for an exemption/discount on council tax, but you will need to check your local authority’s webpages for more information on what you are entitled to and how to apply.


“I regularly have a close look at my monthly budget to ensure that I am maximising my income and reducing my expenditure where possible.  It’s not a task that I enjoy, but I know that it helps me feel less anxious about money.”

Letitia Friary Student Funding Team Leader

It is often uncomfortable to have an honest look at our monthly budget as we all have a tendency to overlook some of our expenditure like take-aways, weekend treats and impulse buys.  The most effective way to ensure that we keep on top of our finances is to be realistic about what money we have coming in each month and what we tend to spend. 

At the end of every month I add up all of my expenses and categorise them to see how much I spent on what. This allows me to spot areas where I can cut down and makes me feel on top of my finances.”

Zsuzsanna Toth, ENSA Head of Events and Campaign 


Find a Fund - The Student Funding Team paid out £1.3 million in 2022/23 to eligible students from 10 different funds. We can also advise on other external funds available to eligible students. Our new Find-a-Fund application system uses your student record and application questions to match you to the available philanthropic funds you may be eligible for: 

Student Finance - If you are ordinarily resident in the UK, you should be able to apply for a Student Loan.  Depending on household income, or if you are a Scottish nursing student, you may be entitled to a bursary.  Check out the Money pages:  If you have a health issue or disability that requires extra support that results in additional costs, you may be eligible to apply for Disabled Students Allowance.

Part-time job - It is not always easy to anticipate your monthly income as not all jobs offer regular working hours.  If this is the case, you should ensure that you are realistic when anticipating your monthly pay.  You should also familiarise yourself with, and make use of, any staff discounts or concessions available.   

Benefits - Some students are eligible to be considered for benefits from DWP.  If you have a health issue, disability or look after dependent children, you may be entitled to some benefits.  If you think that you are eligible you should contact DWP,  Citizens Advice or ENSA Advice

Other income - If your receive any other regular income such as an allowance from family members or sponsorship/scholarships, you should remember to include this as income available each month.  You can also boost your income (and help the planet) by selling unwanted goods on sites such as EBay, Vinted or Depop.

The Student Funding team are able to help you to set a realistic budget and can suggest ways of helping you to increase your income or source extra funding.  You can make an appointment using My Future: myFuture (


The best way to accurately assess what you spend each month to have a look at your bank statement.  That way, you can ensure that you are not missing anything. Don’t forget to include less regular expenses such as haircuts, car repairs etc.

You should consider what you need (essentials) and what you want (luxuries).  Everyone is different, so someone that you need may be someone else’s want.

When you have written down all of your monthly expenses and compared them to your income, you should be able to see what your financial challenges are.  You may choose to cut down on some luxuries to ensure that you can afford all that you need.  You may also decide to ask the Student Funding Team for some help and advice:


We appreciate that students may require childcare whilst completing their studies.  In the first instance you should ensure you are using the full government childcare allowance.  Funded early learning and childcare is free to parents, but funded by the Scottish Government.  You can get up to 1,140 hours of funded early learning and childcare a year (around 30 hours a week in term time) if your child is 3 or 4 years old. Some 2 year olds are also eligible.  

Click here to find out more and details about what is available in your local council area.

If the government allowance does not cover your full childcare costs, UK student (excluding nursing students) can check their eligibility for the childcare fund here.

Lone parents who are SAAS eligible (excluding nursing students) may also be eligible for the SAAS Lone parent grant, click here for more information.

Nursing students can claim a childcare allowance from SAAS if they are eligible for the NHS bursary. Student parents from the rest of the UK should refer to the awarding body relevant to their country of ordinary residence.

Unfortunately we do not offer childcare funding for overseas students.

Tax Free Childcare 

Make sure you use your Tax Free Childcare entitlement!  

You can get up to £500 tax back every 3 months on the cost of childcare for each child and up to £1000 if your child is disabled. To be eligible you must use a approved childcare services (e.g. childminders, private nurseries, out of school club)


Some students are eligible to be considered for benefits from DWP.  If you have dependant children, you may be entitled to some benefits.  If you think that you are eligible you should contact DWP,  Citizens Advice or ENSA Advice

Scottish Child Payment

If you live in Scotland and are already receiving benefits you may be eligible for the Scottish Child Payment.  This helps towards the costs of supporting your family and it's a weekly payment of £25 that you can get for every child you look after who's under 16 years of age. You'll get the payment every 4 weeks if your application is successful.  Click here to check if you are eligible and how to apply.

Free School Meals

All children in primary 1 to 5 get free school meals.  Check below if you are entitled to free school meals after primary 5.

School Clothing Grants

You may be able to get financial help with your child's school clothing and shoes. This help is called a 'school clothing grant'. You apply to your local council.

It's normally a cash grant paid directly to your bank account.

Who can apply and the amount of money you'll get depends on your local council. Everybody who gets a school clothing grant will get at least:

  • £120 per child of primary school age
  • £150 per child of secondary school age

Best Start Grant and Best Start Foods

Best Start Grant and Best Start Foods are payments that help towards the costs of being pregnant or looking after a child. They’re part of the 5 family payments you may be able to get from Social Security Scotland, along with Scottish. Child Payment.

Best Start Grant is made up of 3 one-off payments:

  • Pregnancy and Baby Payment
  • Early Learning Payment
  • School Age Payment

Best Start Foods is a prepaid card that can be used in shops or online to buy healthy foods like milk or fruit.

The payments you can get now will depend on:

  • how far along in your pregnancy you are
  • how old your child is

Clothing and Beauty

We all want to look our best and it is possible to do so on a budget.

Hair and beauty

  • Most Further Education Colleges offer course in beauty and hairdressing and the students need to practice their skills.Often, they offer members of the public the opportunity to receive hair and beauty treatments from students, supervised by professionals, at a fraction of the cost of high street salons.Check out what your local college has to offer – you can save yourself some cash and help fellow students.
  • Free period products are available on each campus in public areas for students to help themselves.
  • Take advantage of your student discount – your student card allows you to save money on toiletries, cosmetics and beauty products so its worth checking with a retailer before you pay if discount is offered to students.
  • Many stores and retailers offer loyalty schemes which can also help reduce the cost of toiletries and cosmetics.

There are lots of ways to dress for less.

  • Charity shops around Edinburgh have a huge range of preloved clothes.Have a fun afternoon looking for that perfect item at a bargain price.You can save yourself some money and are contributing to a good cause.
  • Join the circular economy by selling your unwanted clothing on sites such as Vinted, eBay or Depop.You can make yourself some extra cash or use the money to buy items on offer at a fraction of the original cost; all while helping the environment.
  • Make looking for new clothes into a social event by organising a clothes swapping party with your friends and fellow students.You can have some fun, get rid of items you no longer need and bag yourself a new outfit.
  • If you want to buy new, don’t forget to ask about student discounts and sign up to loyalty schemes.
  • Parents on a low income and resident in Edinburghmay be able to access free clothing for children at the Edinburgh Clothing Store



“Every week I write a meal planner for my family, this means I don’t have to think about what to have for dinner every night.  I often batch cook so I have prepared meals in the freezer for the nights I can’t be bothered to cook.  This helps save money and time!”

Katrina Lindsay, Student Funding Adviser

We all need to eat and buying food is a necessity.  However, with increasing prices this is becoming more of a challenge, especially when it comes to eating a healthy and well balanced diet.  Here are some top tips on how to spend less when shopping or eating out.

Plan Meals and Write a Shopping List

Its is a good idea to plan your meals for the week ahead, thinking about what food you already have and what food you will need to buy.  Write a shopping list and stick to it when you go to the supermarket. 

Batch Cooking

When planning your meals you may want to batch cook.  This involves making more than one meal at a time, so you can eat one and freeze the rest.  Then you have your very own healthy ready meals.  Recipe ideas can be found here and check You Tube and Tik Tok for batch cooking meal ideas.

Supermarket Shopping

Consider which supermarket is cheapest, budget supermarkets like ALDI and LIDL tend to be the cheapest option.  However, a lot of the main supermarkets now price match these stores.  It is worth trying stores own brands or value products, they often taste just as good and sometimes even better!

Always sign up for store cards, to ensure you are getting the best prices e.g. LIDL plus, Tesco Clubcard, Sainsburys Nectar, Morrisons more card etc.

If you are shopping in store, don’t shop when you are hungry and don’t be tempted by offers that you do not need.  Remember your shopping list and stick to it! 

You may want to consider online grocery shopping, as this may stop you overspending and not be tempted by deals in store.

Locate the discount section in your supermarket, food will be reduced at the end of the day for a quick sale and there can often be great bargains (but remember its only a bargain if its something you will definitely eat!)

Takeaways and Eating Out

We all need a break from cooking and deserve a treat, but it can be very expensive and not very healthy to eat takeaways and eat out all the time.  Consider how much can you save by avoiding takeaways and eating out in this cost calculator

Also, try these money saving tips:

  • If you like a takeaway coffee, consider making your own at home
  • Use a refillable bottle instead of buying drinks, water fountains are available on campus and in different locations across Edinburgh
  • Instead of a takeaway, use some of your frozen meals in your freezer, consider this your very own fakeaway!
  • Check out the Too Good To Go app – supermarkets and restaurants sell their food in surprise bags at certain times of the day at discount prices
  • Make pack lunches instead of buying your lunch every day, this is also a good way to use up leftovers from the previous nights dinner
  • When eating out, check for vouchers or offers in restaurants

When food shopping, always think…

  • Do I need it?
  • Can I afford it?
  • Will I use it?
  • Is it worth it?

Part-time Work

Earnings from part-time work that fits in with your studies can help you manage your finances. 

Student Ambassadors

Edinburgh Napier University is committed to providing you with the opportunity of meaningful work experience while you study. Part of the way we do this is by giving you the opportunity of paid part time, casual work across the different areas of the University via our Student Ambassador Schemes.

This is a great way to not only earn as you learn, but also to develop and reflect on the skills and competencies required to be successful in the workplace after you graduate and to network with both staff and other students across the University.

There are a number of Student Ambassador Schemes available and you can apply for all schemes in which you meet the eligibility criteria. Being part of these schemes will give you experience of working in a wide range of university roles including helping with open days, employer events, start of trimester activities, international airport welcome days, graduation days, data entry, professional social media activity, telephone campaign work and much more!

You can find more information about the various Student Ambassadors schemes on myNapier. The recruitment processes for these schemes will vary but information and recruitment dates can be found here


Student Futures are your dedicated group of employability experts, here to support your professional development and prepare you for the world of work. All our services can be found on our digital platform – myFuture.

myFuture allows you to search for a wide range of opportunities including part-time roles, internships and graduate roles. Student Ambassador Schemes are also advertised through myFuture. You can also book one-to-one appointments with our Career Development Consultants or your School Placement Coordinator. You can also register to attend our fantastic employer events.


I like to have a good time, and spending time with friends and loved ones is important for your wellbeing. But it can be difficult to resist the peer pressure that comes with having a busy social life, but there are options that won’t leave you out of pocket.

Claire Donnelly Student Funding Team Administrator

Deals on days out / eating out / getaways

Keep a look out online for meal deals and offers.  If you’re looking for last minute fun activities, check out Groupon or itison or sign up to mailing lists / apps for local pubs, bars and restaurants

  • Eating in - Too Good To Go is an app that lets you rescue unsold food from an untimely fate at your favourite spots
  • Buy food in bulk and plan your meals to reduce food waste
  • Use retailer loyalty points - Tesco - use Tesco reward partners and enjoy 2x your voucher value with 100+ Reward Partners 
    Asda - offer an Asda Rewards app which builds up a cash pot as you spend. Purchase Star Products for an instant Cash pot boost equal to 10% of the product's price.
  • Make the most of special offers - Save with big retailers and sign up to unidays for offers

TV deals

Tesco rewards offer a subscription to Disney - Turn £12 of Clubcard vouchers into a 3 month Disney+ Standard subscription.

Take advantage of Amazon’s 6-month free student Prime subscription, you can get access to tonnes of movies on demand.


Cineworld offers you a monthly membership card where you pay a low fee and you can go to the cinema as many times as you want in a month!


Spotify offer student deals and offer packages on a rolling month plan

Get YouTube Music - Hit 'save money with a family or student plan' and choose the student option. You'll get a 1-month free trial before paying.


Use your student card for discounts when shopping

Nights out

Check out this guide to student nights and deals for pubs and clubs

Top tips

  • Leave the bank cards at home or open a basic bank account for going out which will not let you go overdrawn - if you’re planning a night out with some of your friends, the first thing to do is come up with a budget limit. This will mean that each person has a limit of how much they can spend so you have more money to spend on another occasion.Then to stop you spending extra, withdraw your budget in cash (including taxi and entrance fees), this will mean that once your cash is used up you can’t spend anymore.
  • Drink before you go out, or join events late - it’s cheaper to buy a bottle of drink from a supermarket than it is to purchase a pint of drink at a bar so propose pre-drinking in the comfort of your own / your friends home! This way you won’t have to spend too much when you’re out.(Please drink responsibly).
  • Just remember that to socialise and have fun with your friends you don’t have to constantly spend large amounts of money. There are always ways for you and your friends to save money whilst socialising.
  • Make the most of freshers - Freshers is that once a year occasion that brings endless opportunities to meet people and form lasting friendships. It takes place in September time and is usually a week filled with events specifically aimed at socialising and meeting new people. Although, usually attended by those starting their university journey, we would recommend going along if you’re already in university and just want to make a few more friends.



'You can still travel, even with limited money! Last year (while I was a student) I visited 5 countries and went to Dublin for a day trip for under £50 - so it's definitely doable even as a student if you prioritise it in your budget. Ryanair regularly offers really good flight deals of £15 flights within Europe. I also often check Skyscanner and select the 'worldwide' option for it to show me the cheapest destinations for my chosen dates. If you then stay in hostels or with friends, traveling can be cheap.'

Zsuzsanna Tot, ENSA Head of Events and Campaign 


If you are 22 and under you can apply for free bus travel, this allows your to travel anywhere in Scotland by bus. Under 22s free bus travel | Transport Scotland

If you are over 22 and living in Edinburgh you can purchase a ridacard from Lothian Buses.  This can be cheaper than buying a ticket every day if you use the bus or trams regularly.  If you only use a bus a few times a week, then perhaps using your debit card and taking advantage of Lothian buses Tap Tap Cap can save money.

Contactless - Lothian Buses

Ridacard - Lothian Buses


If you are travelling from further away and need to use a train, you can purchase a 16-25 Railcard, this will give you discount on off-peak and anytime rail fares in the UK.  You could also use it to go a little further to explore parts of the UK or visit friends and family.  Just because the card is called 16-25 does not mean you have to be between 16 and 25, students who are older can also purchase this card, you will just need to download a form from the website below and get it completed at the iPoint on campus.

Student Travel Card - 16-25 Railcard


Sometimes you may need to drive to get to campus, this maybe quicker and sometimes there can be free parking close to a Sighthill or Craiglockhart, but at Merchiston you have to pay for on street parking, this can get very expensive if you do this regularly.  There are a few park and rides close to the city, where you can leave your car and catch a bus, a bus ticket will be a lot cheaper than paying for parking.  There is a park and ride near the airport, where you can catch the tram from, this can be quicker to get to Sighthill, Haymarket station which is a short walk to Merchiston or if you just want to get into the city.

Car sharing with classmates from your area is a good way to save money on petrol. If you are driving to University, look for students you can trust who have similar commute.