Broke Students Survival Guide in the UK

With the rising tuition fee and living expenses, as an international (malaysian) student in the UK I'd like to share a list on money saving for broke students lol. I'm no pro and if you have more ideas on alternative living please share in the comments! :-)

Apart from buying food or groceries at reduced / discounted prices, which most students obviously already know, here are some apps / websites that might come in handy.

Facebook buy & sell groups

lots of things being given away / sold at a really cheap price
look for "free to collector" groups to find items in your area and save the delivery money!

you can sell your items that arent wanted / needed anymore for cash too

* if you go to uwe bristol - UWE - STUFF FOR SALE, SWAP OR FREE
* if you're a malaysian in the uk - Malaysian Students Goods Exchange - London

Facebook Marketplace

similar to fb groups
there is a "free" button and lots of free stuff will pop up

read the description carefully though some are not free but the seller just doesnt know what price to put / wanna get attention lol

BISC (Bristol International Student Centre)

really friendly and welcoming bunch of people
id say theyre very helpful for new students in the UK

nice free meals and events will be organised for international students (you can be from the UK too) to get together
they also give away free kitchen and household stuff which are probably donated by other graduates

really generous people giving away things, from scraps (useful for art students) to household items like tv, fridge, or bikes!
quite shocking for me when i first found out, no one would give things away for free in malaysia lol

posts are sorted by location and then by "wanted" or "offered"
it's easy to search by keywords too


a rather new app focusing on food-sharing (also non-food items)

so much food is wasted each day and this app is a life saver (both for humans and food!)
opened items are allowed to be given away so if you have bought something you find not suitable for you
put it on olio for others who might find it useful!

also they have food banks in some areas that you can drop off your item for someone who requests it, so you dont have to wait around for them to pick up

my favourite website yet! makes you feel like humanity still exists

offer, receive or exchange help for free, you get to collect "karma" points for fun

house moving, proof reading, language exchange, advices in different areas, you name it!
as long as you are being respectful and it's a good cause

submit your post and it will be on the timeline after approval


it's all about timing

"watch" different items and compare
save your searches and get email notifications

starting price as low as 99p
bid only when you decide you really want it
bid a price youre willing to pay and if you're outbid, bid again before the time is up

dont worry if you didnt win the bid
a lot of sellers use ebay even tho you have to pay when an item of yours is sold

in fact i tend to not bid if someone has already bid first, and pray that i win the bid on another listing of the same item

no extra charges for buyers!


obviously popular for selling clothes / apparel (both new & preloved)

sell your items / filter your search by category / price / size / keywords

you will have to have a paypal account to make / receive payment
listing is free but for every item sold you will have to pay 10% commission to depop and dunno how much to paypal

to avoid the fees you can ask buyers to pay outside and gain their trust by using royal mail signed for / offer refund / link your facebook profile

very handy website to compare prices across the major supermarkets like asda, tesco, aldi, etc! there are other nice features too but i haven't explored much 

a cashback app that allows you to get food in grocery stores for free!

only selected items and in selected stores

you buy an item and check out like you normally would, then you scan the barcode and take a pic of the receipt in the app, wait for one day for approval and you get your money back! how awesome is that :-)

on these sites you can find drivers / passengers who are using the same route as you so it's ideal for regular carpooling as well as one-off impromptu journeys


blablacar is the most well-known site and allows you to search for a ride quick and easy, it shows you the driver's ratings, their route and ride details, and you have to book your seat online

liftshare has a more sleek interface and works pretty much like blablacar except it requires you to sign up in order to use it, even just to look for a ride

gocarshare has festivals as desired destinations and you need to have paypal to book your seat


just make sure to check prices on all transport sites including megabus (tick the NUS card option if you have one) and national express (tick the coachcard option if you have one), sometimes last min megabus with regular fare can still be cheaper than blablacar!

The pasty connection

if you cant be bothered adding your card details or whatever and still desperately want a ride, this facebook carsharing group (or search for your local group like Bristol: Need A Lift?) might save your life

TPC is quite active, posts can get overshadowed quickly within hours so use the search bar for best results!


if you are a train person instead of buses or carsharing, try split ticketing if you haven't already!

as far as i know it is similar as getting a transit flight so it works cheaper rather than a direct journey. but of course it requires more time and more legwork. for more explanation view here!

updated 17/10/17

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