We can help you to make the most of your money, whatever your budget. Remember to claim everything that you are entitled to and seek guidance when needed.
Here are our suggestions for more sustainable living:
1. BYOB… Be your own barista!
Whether it’s for that 09:00 lecture or that you are simply not yourself until you’ve had your first sip of coffee for the day, coffee can be lovely. But, do you know that Londoners spend a staggering average of £2200 a year in high-street coffee shops? It’s worth re-thinking your choices and consider the money you save…
Paper cups with plastic lids are also very bad for the environment. Although they are made largely of paper, disposable coffee cups are lined with plastic polyethylene to make the cups waterproof to contain liquid. This means cups cannot be recycled at standard recycling plants and 99% end up unrecycled. Unrecycled plastic takes hundreds of years to break down.
Consider buying your own coffee machine. You may even consider sharing the price with flatmates/housemates if they are coffee lovers as well. There are lots of varieties to choose from, across of price points. From pod-coffee machines to a French press, there’s something for everyone.
You also want to consider getting a King’s College London KeepCup which are available from all the university restaurants and cafes. This is then both a souvenir and a sustainable, cost-effective and environmentally friendly way to drink coffee.
2. Waste not, want not
Fun fact: Food and drink that could have been eaten but was sent to the landfill in 2015 would fill up 9 Wembley Stadiums, 40 million wheelie bins, 4000 Olympic sized swimming pools…In numbers, this costs every average UK household a staggering £700!
This is obviously unhealthy for both the environment and you bank account. So here are some tips to help you make small changes to a more sustainable and cost-effective living.
Stale baked goods such as bread can often be revitalised with a quick blast in the oven.
Or; prevent them becoming stale in the first place by freezing on the day of purchase. The taste and quality will remain the same once defrosted.
Plan to eat leftovers on a regular night each week.
Check out bargain websites selling food, groceries and other products that are approaching best before dates at websites like CheapFood and ClearanceXL.
Try food sharing – pick up good food from restaurants for free at Olio.
Stay up-to-date with awesome tips on sustainable living at Treehugger.
You can visit BBC good food for more tips on how to reduce food waste.
3. Swap & share
What if it was possible to shop for free?
If you want a wardrobe refresh without spending a fortune, or if you have clothing that you no longer wear but are still good, try swapping and sharing them with friends on your course, or at your residence.
Better yet, get involved in the clothing swaps taking place all over London. To find upcoming events visit Eventbrite – clothes swap.
4. Pre-loved selling and shopping
Consider buying pre-loved items from boot sales and charity shops like Crisis and 10 of London’s Best Car Boot Sales.
Don't have time to walk round the shops? There are lots of online platforms you can try to not only buy but also sell off your old electronics, books, clothing and many other items. Not only can you convert into cash things that are no longer useful to you, you’ll also be doing someone else a favour by giving them what they are looking for.
Websites to try are:
Important to know: Be aware of scams. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Make sure you’re dealing with a genuine buyer/seller before parting with your cash or product, and always report negative experiences. Depending on the site, you might be able to check the seller's/buyer's feedback score and rating, and see comments about experience of the product or seller/buyer.
5. The great outdoors
When the weather, time (and energy) permits, take some time to get outdoors - it’s good for you and the environment. Spending time outside is energy efficient, you can save money and support the environment by walking to your local park instead of using transport.
For tips and ideas on what you can do, check out 101 free things to do in London.
Extra tips for student parents and carers
Maternity and baby clothes, and toys are expensive and only needed for such a short period of time so where possible borrow/share from friends or relatives.
Buying clothes and toys:
- If you don’t have people around you with children, have a look at our suggestions for buying, swapping and sharing above, but also look out for local/community Facebook groups, which have the potential for lots of swapping/sharing opportunities.
- Look out for Mummy’s Gin Fund and local NCT groups.
- You can find details of car boot and table top sales in your local area by visiting stallfinder.com.
- Social media is another great way of sourcing more specific items such as second hand school uniforms.
- Geocaching is a great way to coax older kids into exploring their environment. It is described as the world’s largest treasure hunt and there are over 18,000 geocaches in and around London alone. All you need is a smart phone. find out more about this and other free outdoor activities by visiting Geocaching.
Do you have any information to share with other parents and carers?
Why not share your tips for sustainable living on our Facebook page which is dedicated to Student Parents.
For more helpful tips…
Check out the Money Mentors’ social media platforms. Follow them for frequent updates and tips on the latest and trendiest money saving tips, campaigns, deals and competitions.