We are currently trialling our new-look independent.co.uk website - please send any feedback to beta@independent.co.uk


10 things no student should ever waste money on


Somehow, it’s already the middle of 2013. We’ve survived apocalypse scares, generated celebrities who are more influential than politicians, and grown into adulthood without everything we’ve forgotten about Egyptian pharaohs from primary school being a hindrance to everyday life.

That’s not all. Thanks to the invention of the World Wide Web, our bank accounts have the ability to look dandier than ever too. Not only have we waved goodbye to paper statements and physical receipts in place of an easier to manage e-account, but the Internet is proving to be a godsend in making us money too. We don’t just mean that Amazon is cheaper than Argos when it comes to buying the latest Bond movie. Nowadays, there are plenty of ways to save rather than spend, and the costly commodities of everyday life can be made cheaper when you look online. With students among the savviest of WWW-addicts, there are no excuses for flitting away this final student loan instalment.

Old CDs, never-read books and Nokia mobiles

Whilst you might have grown fond of your dust-cluttering books and 90s pop CDs, they are undercover money-makers. Money Magpie, WeBuyBooks and Amazon Trade-In are all good, reputable trade-in companies, and there are heaps of others online if you look. Make sure you do check the reviews of a company that’s giving you a too-good-to-be-true offer. Chances are, it is too good to be true, and you’re effectively just sending your old phone as a gift in the mail.

God knows what these trade-in companies do with all our old B*Witched CDs, but for a cheque in the mail and a smiling bank account on our end, it’s irrelevant. Keep your old VHSs though, for when museums come knocking.

Library fines

Thanks to technology, late fines and library fees are a thing of the past. At least, they should be. Now that everyone has a smartphone and university libraries are getting all techno-savvy with their own apps, renewing books has never been easier.

0845 numbers

The bane of student life. A £5 phonecall that got you no further forward than you were before. Yeah, thanks Virgin. Don’t all squeal at once, but allow SayNoTo0870 to be your new best friend. Click on, search the company that’s doing your nut, and voila, normal priced numbers. Adios 0870. Au revoir 0845. Put it on your bookmarks bar. Now.

Free stuff!

Instead of buying the big bottle of the newest whitening toothpaste, just to prove that Holly Willoughby’s sparkling smile isn’t realistically obtainable, a couple of clicks online will get you a free sample delivered to your door. It’s not just toothpaste either, there’s all sorts. Click on to StudentBeans for everything from coffee to chocolate, to condoms. Told you, all sorts. 


You book a holiday, you sign a lease, and then you pay half as much again on insurance. Swines. Thanks to comparison sites, at least you can take comfort in knowing you’re paying the minimum.

Train tickets

Annoying adverts we hate, but they do teach us a thing or two. It’s true, you really can save £££ when you buy train tickets online. Arguably, venturing anywhere on the train is still pocket-bustingly pricey, especially when most journeys leave you seatless and irate by the end of them, but getting that ‘enjoyable’ experience with 60 per cent off ain’t bad.

Full price restaurant bills

Students shouldn’t be able to eat out as much as they would like, but thanks to the Internet, they can. With the plethora of discount codes, vouchers and free side incentives, eating out can be just as cheap as eating in. You’d be foolish to pay full price at Pizza Express given there is always some sort of deal available. Similarly, All Bar One, GBK, Ask Italian and Zizzi’s are pretty good at basically giving away food as well. You shouldn’t feel bad either. If they’re going to fill our inboxes with incessant spam, yes we will take 50 per cent off dinner. (Thanks though)

Music (with reason)

In no way are we promoting illegal downloads, nor wishing upon the demise of the music industry, but 99p per song soon adds up. Say hello to Soundcloud. (Or, if you don’t mind mind-numbing adverts, Spotify will do.) Stream to your heart’s content and discover new sounds more easily along the way.

Magazines cover prices

Who doesn’t love a good magazine? But for £2.50 an issue, that will probably only end up on my nightstand, I’d probably prefer a vodka. Instead, have a look online, or route out the obscure page in an issue that has a subscription code and pay with a lump sum up front. Save yourself a pretty penny and enjoy what feels like free presents in the post.

Refunds and rebates

As students, we’re blessed with lengthy summer holidays. As if mooching off parents’ cupboards for three months wasn’t joyous enough for our savvy selves, TV Licensing are giving us an even better deal. After realising we’re only at university watching the television for nine months of the year, they’re willing to offer a rebate for the months we’re not using the license. Hello, summer spending money. Before you start spending your £37, check out the TV Licensing website for the inevitable fine print...

Alice Tate is a freelance fashion writer, blogging at www.flashanthology.com and tweeting at @alicetate_