It’s coming to the time where we look back at our pre-reading week shenanigans, having naively spent more than we should, and regretting how we can’t afford to put the heating on.

I’ve been there many times. Now, in my third year, I’ve had plenty of time to figure out a few tips to stretch out the student loan and thrive during the winter months. Not only will they save you money, but they are also great ways to adapt our limited resources to an ethical lifestyle that is both kind to our wallets, as well as to our wonderful world and those living on it.

Food

Here are three simple ways to reduce your spending, and work with what you’ve got in your fridge if your pockets are feeling a bit empty:

  • Cook with a friend – If you’re living in a flat/house share see if you can make dinner together because it costs less and you know you’ve always got dinner covered at home.
  • Reduce your meat consumption – You can spend on average £2.50 on 250g of mincemeat, or pay anything under £1 for a whopping 1kg of Butternut squash which could be used for a number of meals.
  • Leftover veg soup – as a newly converted veggie, ‘leftover veg soup’ has become one of my specialities. This simply requires you to look in your cupboard/fridge at the end of the week and see what concoction you can create.
  • Eat-the-freezer – we are all guilty of freezing and forgetting. So every once in awhile dig through and use up what you’ve got – you never know, it may create something worthy of a michelin star!

Transport

For most of us our university campus is in walking distance, but there are still moments when we continue with our bad commuting habits even though they make a dent in bank account and a detrimental effect on our environment.

  • Lift share – regular commute? or a one off road trip? See if other drivers are going and if they can pick up on their way, or offer to take other people, and then just split the petrol money later. Saving money on transport helps reduce our carbon footprint, which is really important in the age where climate change affects the world’s poorest people the most.
  • Get your bike out – if you don’t have a bike, get one. You can find an array for ridiculously cheap prices on the internet – and if it has two wheels, handlebars and a seat that’s all you need. It can get you to the shops, to uni, and to the gym, all in half the time it takes to walk, and it’s free!

All of the above will hopefully start you on your new money-saving way to a more ethical lifestyle. It’s always amazing to see what you can do with so little, and yet we forget that the majority of the world don’t have a lot at all. The lifestyle choices we make, even when we’re scrapping the barrel for funds and resources, really do have an impact on others! The smallest actions can make a difference.

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