Student who saves £1,800 a year with pay packet hack shares money-saving tips

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    Are you a student looking to save money?

    One savvy third year university student revealed how she saves an eye-watering £1,800 a year. Emma Cutler adopted some cost saving measures to prepare herself for the future.

    The 21-year-old gets three student loan payments a year and separates the money into pay packets when it drops into her bank account. She's studying Media and Communications at Loughborough University.

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    She has a packet for bills and rent, then splits the rest between food shopping, nights out, self-care and miscellaneous spending money. Emma uses online saving pots and cash to stop herself from overspending.

    As well as dividing up her money, Emma batch cooks all her meals and completes online surveys to top up her income. She claimed she's probably saving a good £150 a month.

    Emma, who does content creation for the university's social pages, said: "My rent and bills are £550pcm and then I put aside £120 for food shopping, £30-£50 for going out, £30 in my miscellaneous spending money pot and £50-£80 in self-care.

    "It stops unnecessary spending and it makes you think twice before you buy something. I've definitely gotten better at it over the span of three years.

    "In first year it was more about making sure I could afford rent but now I'm thinking about the future and longer term plans. I've developed my own way of budgeting and knowing how to save for things coming.

    "I always look at what in my income is going to be for the month from the loan and my work as well. It can be difficult as you get it in three instalments so I work out what the average will be for each month.

    "University throws you in at the deep end and you have to start paying for things. At that age, a student loan is a big sum of money for the first time."

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    After working out how much she can spend a month, Emma, from Birmingham, splits up her money, allowing her to carry it over to the next month if she doesn't spend it.

    She added: "I prioritise bills and rent and then break it down into the four categories. After that I have longer term things like luxury items and holidays.

    "It gives me a budget on what I'm spending on and even for things like Christmas I know I can put £10 away for that and it doesn't feel like I'm spending a lot when it comes to buying presents.

    "It takes away the pressure and guilt of spending a lot of money if I know I've saved for it – it's more controlled spending. I used to use cash more often but now I use Monzo and put everything into pots and it rolls over to the next month."

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    Emma also cooks all her meals in batches, something she's learnt to do throughout university. She'll make two or three portions at a time so then she can freeze and reheat.

    When it comes to a night out, the student doesn't buy much booze at the bar, instead she chooses to pre-drink at home beforehand.

    Aside from her content creation, Emma also does yearly surveys and sells her clothes on Vinted.

    She revealed: "I do the content creation every few weeks when the uni have a project on – they pay me around £10.40 an hour.

    "I haven't thought about investing but I've got a help to buy ISA and have one main savings pot aside from the little ones and that's for a house deposit or something to fall back on if I'm renting."

    Emma's budget each month:

    Rent: £400 a month

    Bills: £150 (incl. subscriptions)

    Food shop: £120 a month

    Going out: £30-50 a month

    Spending (misc): £30

    Self-care: £50-£80

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