The best student life hacks

The myth of the ‘savvy student’ is explained by Grace Dean, along with ideas for stress-free student life

Grace Dean
6th November 2017
The myth of the ‘savvy student’ is explained by Grace Dean, along with ideas for stress-free student life



Image: Wikimedia Commons

As a student the perfect balance between termly loan instalments, rent payments and oh-so-tempting trebles can be difficult to find. Any opportunity to save pennies, therefore, is of vital importance to the savvy student.

It’s vital to know the basics of budgeting, even after you’ve survived freshers week without declaring bankruptcy. The savvy student knows to go grocery shopping at Grainger Market; they also know to always bring a plastic bag with them to avoid that pesky 5p charge. They see central heating in November as a luxury and not a necessity; they also keep tabs on the sales of their favourite high street stores to enable them to flirt with fashion without paying a high price. However, these typical student money-saving tricks alone are not what make this student so “savvy”. The savvy student indeed exploits a number of life hacks to make every penny go that little bit further.

After enjoying a tub of ice-cream during a romantic Netflix date with their duvet, they know better than to throw the tub away. Tupperware can cost an arm and a leg, and all you need to do is wash the tub out to have a wonderful and completely resealable container perfect for packed lunches, stationery and Haribos alike. It’s also key to recognise that, as a somewhat fussy eater, the average recipe book will just be a waste of them. They therefore are sure to take home the new issue of the Tesco, Asda or Morrisons magazine when they go shopping, so they can instead compile their own scrapbook-style one featuring only the recipes they definitely like. Additionally, alongside containing money-off coupons, these magazines also often feature useful calorie information, and also state the cost per portion of the recipe using that supermarket’s groceries.

One little known fact is that full-fat milk is the way forward in life. Even though it is higher calorie than skimmed, they need to use less to achieve the perfectly-coloured cup of tea or coffee, despite the two types of milk costing the same. If the taste of full-fat milk is too strong, the savvy student can simply water it down, thus using less milk and spending less money to achieve exactly the same taste.

A smart student also knows better than to throw away groceries that look past their best. Mushy bananas make perfect banana bread, sprouting potatoes are still delicious in soup, and stale bread is ideal for making breadcrumbs for burgers or meatballs – or even bread and butter pudding.

Another key to being savvy is the ‘egg trick’. Whilst it is particularly important to be careful when eating grocery products, the savvy student accepts that supermarkets can sometimes just be overly vigilant with regards to use-by dates, for want of protecting themselves against potential complaints. To check whether an egg is still edible or not, the savvy student places it in a bowl of cold water – if the egg sinks then it is fresh still, if it floats then unfortunately it is one for the dustbin.

The savvy student isn’t just aware of how to save money, however – they also know that’s important to be conscientious and mindful in other aspects of life too. The mantra they chant every time before leaving the house for a night out is “purse, keys, phone, plans to get home”, and in this way they never get stranded, locked out or strapped for cash.

The savvy student, despite having the smallest room in the house, never runs out of storage space, as they use rings from cans of student staples such as Coke and tinned tomatoes to double up their hanger space in their wardrobe. They also understand that the burrito method is sometimes the most efficient way to change a duvet cover without having someone there to help you (see YouTube).

Furthermore, the savvy student utilises meal-planning apps and online recipe websites such as to ensure no time, money and food are wasted during the cooking process. They even colour-coordinate their keys using small dots of nail polish to tell them apart – this is also easy to remove at the end of the year should you need to give your keys back.

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AUTHOR: Grace Dean
Editor-in-Chief of the Courier 2019/20, News Editor 2018/19, writer since 2016 and German & Business graduate. I've written for all of our sections, but particularly enjoy writing breaking news and data-based investigative pieces. Best known in the office for making tea and blasting out James Blunt. Twitter: @graceldean

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