January and February are tough months for students.

You have spent all your money on nights out and presents during silly season, and you trudge back to your student house, dismayed to find a tin of beans and gone off milk are they only food you have left.

RAG week will also be coming up, and this will cost you at least €50 when you take into account outfits, drinks and tickets. How can a poor student save money? Here are our top tips:

Stop Buying Lunch And Dinner

Buying your lunch and dinner on campus is a major drain on your funds.

Buy the ingredients for a packed lunch in your weekly shop and bring a salad or sandwich with you to college in a lunchbox. Most sandwiches and soups cost at least a €5, and they really are only worth €1.50 at most.

The same goes for dinners, instead of scoffing your leftovers while vegetating in front of the TV with your housemates, put these in a lunchbox and bring this into college with you if you are planning on staying in the library late. This will eliminate the temptation to splash your cash in the college’s canteen.

Be Smart About Your Weekly Grocery Shop

If you are a student, chances are you are strapped for cash.

Therefore, dearer grocery shops like Marks and Spencer’s are out of the question. Aldi and Lidl are ideal for students, they don’t offer brand products but you can’t afford to be fussy.

Aldi are very good for fruit and vegetables, and most students would be able to get a week’s worth of groceries for under €20. Try to buy in bulk- go for multipacks as they usually work out cheaper.

Make a list a stick to it- don’t needlessly buy some snack fad like healthy protein bars just because everyone else is eating them.

Sign Up To Loyalty Cards

If you are going to be spending money, you may as well get some reward.

If you are a coffee addict, make sure you sign up to all the main chain’s loyalty cards. A lot of grocery stores also offer club cards, and it is easy to rack up the points and get money off your shop.

Some companies also offer prizes like holidays or gadgets for their loyal customers, so make sure you avail of as many of these as possible!

Stop Drinking So Much

It’s taken for granted that the majority of students spend a large portion of their money on nights out.

The entry into pubs and nightclubs isn’t that dear, it is the price of soft drinks, pints and spirits that is. Try cutting back on the amount of alcohol you consume on nights out, your body and your bank account will thank you for this!

Limit the amount you spend by leaving your card at home (tapping a card at the bar is a dangerous game, one that often ends in overdraft). Bring a small amount of cash, and swap some of your drinks for a pint of water.

Join Clubs And Societies

If you are finding it hard to come up with ideas for activities to do without spending money, try joining clubs and societies.

It will cost on €3 to join, and in some universities, it is free. These societies usually get funding from the college to host events, get free food and discounts on trips.

If you still want an active social life without spending a lot of cash, becoming a society or club member is the way to go.

Áine Kenny