There are plenty of ways you know you're wasting your money. You buy branded goods, you smoke way too much, and you love to drink but refuse to make your own moonshine in the toilet.
Here are six ways you don't even realise you're wasting money.
1) You're throwing away money every time you send it abroad. And it’s completely unnecessary
If you're an international student, you're probably used to sending money abroad. You’ve likely accepted the obscene bank fees to be a sad fact of life.
Enter TransferWise, the new, smarter way to send money abroad. There's none of the bank fees, or the hidden markup snuck into the rate. In fact, when you send money with a bank, you lose somewhere around £50 for every £1000 you transfer. TransferWise does it for £5. That's huge when you think that on average international students need to send over £30,000 a year to cover tuition alone!
How do they beat the bank fees? Banks aren't involved at all in the process.
How does it work?
Just pick the currency you've got, and what you need it converted into. You pay for it with your card or send the money to them from your internet banking. TransferWise then matches you with people sending money in the other direction, so the currencies get swapped at the mid-market rate. It all happens seamlessly in the background, and saves you big time.
Should I trust it?
TransferWise use the real mid-market exchange rate, that’s what you see on Google or XE. It’s also what banks use internally, but hide from their clients - no commission? No chance.
Everything on TransferWise, is upfront and there's no nasties in the rate. They're transparent about what they do and even have a live feed on their website showing transfers being made inreal time. It's backed by some big names like Sir Richard, and all it's kept in check by the FCA and HMRC, so you know it's as safe as houses.
2) You’re paying too much for phone calls and texts
Most mobile plans are still priced like it's the 1980s. You'll pay based on how many minutes you're on the phone, or how many texts you send, paying more if you want more free minutes or extra texts.
If you ask, they probably have a limit on how many faxes you can send (yet another way you can tell people about the latest Wham songs).
"Could we cut this mobile telephone conversation call short? I have 80s guy stuff to do."
The only thing you should really be looking at, if you live in an area with strong 3G signal or are rarely without access to WIFI, is how much internet data is costing you. There are plenty of plans out there that will charge a lot for texts or phonecalls, but relatively little for data. What does that matter if you mainly communicate through Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, Apple Messenger or Snapchat? These are all services that use your data but not your text allowance.
It’s cheaper to use Facetime (or Skype, for Applephobes) and put your thumb over the camera. Now you’re paying much less, but can still secretly use the phone whilst you go to the toilet.
You're much better off finding a package that gives more data, and fewer texts and calls. Services like Giffgaff (which uses the O2 network) offer relatively cheap packages for unlimited internet (though recently their price for unlimited data increased from £12 to £18 per month).
3) Your parking space should get a job
Engage any member of staff at your university for longer than three minutes and they'll start complaining about the parking situation.
Student houses often come (unnecessarily) with a parking space. Rent yours out with services like Just Park and earn money from it. Or think of an alternative use for your space.
Is it worth it?
If you live in a city or near a commuter line it's probably worth looking at. You can set your own prices and length of stay and won't have to do any of the hassley bits, such as taking payments etc. Long-term lettings are also an option.
4) Not getting money back with Prime
If you ever use Amazon, you should take advantage of the Amazon Prime trial for students. It's free for six months. The best part is that if you don't need your purchase to arrive the next day, you can select a slower delivery and receive £1 off your order. That's a free pound (if you were going to purchase the item anyway, without using Prime).
5) Mouthwash makes your breath worse
Mouthwash sounds great. It promises to be the only alcohol (except for Creme de Menthe) that actually freshens your breath.
However, all alcohols dry out your mouth, leading to worse breath throughout the day, and mouthwash is alcohol-based.
The cheaper alternative is to not buy mouthwash at all, but there is also the option of using non-alcoholic alternatives to mouthwash.
6) If you can wait an hour for TV you don't need a licence
If you don't watch live TV, but instead catch up online, you don't need a TV license.
There are so many streaming services out there that if you have an internet connection it's not really necessary to have a TV license whilst at uni. If you are willing to wait half an hour most TV channels will now upload their shows to their streaming service in this time. With the right ad-blocking service on your computer you won't even have to watch their adverts.
Watching TV a little later than everyone else won't exclude you from conversations as much as it used to back before the internet. Unless you have a friend who likes to directly send you spoilers during the live-airing of the show, you'll probably barely notice the difference and will save a lot of money, which you can then throw directly at Netflix.
For money making ideas, see our 99 ways to make money article...
This article was sponsored by TransferWise.