You’re going to rely on your phone a lot as a student. These smart hacks will definitely make working and playing loads cheaper and easier.
You’re going to rely on your phone a lot as a student. From organising nights out and Googling low-budget recipes, to sharing notes and keeping in touch with mum, you’ll definitely spend more time on it than you will in front of the books. But forget tired old advice about recording apps and making speakers out of toilet roll tubes – these smart hacks will definitely make working and playing loads cheaper and easier.
Grab a sweet deal from the get-go
Let’s start with a cheeky brag about our amazing student SIM-only package, where £16 a month gets you All-you-can-eat minutes and texts and a massive 30GB of data (which you can stretch even further when you use Snapchat, and stream Netflix, TV Player, Soundcloud and Deezer without eating into that allowance with Go Binge). So now you’ve got your mobile sorted, let’s see how it’s going to transform your student days for the better.
Take photos of everything
Yes, obviously you’ll already be dutifully snapping new term antics at the students’ union. We’re talking about all the bits of paper you somehow manage to accrue in the first weeks of the year – schedules, timetables, documents from the loans people. The boring stuff. Take pictures of it all so you can refer to it whenever and wherever you are (chances are you’ll have your phone on you more often than a big binder of induction notes, after all). An app like Office Lens (free on Android and iPhone) will also make these pictures easily searchable and lets you create specific folders. Plus you can share your files really easily to WhatsApp groups and social networks, which is great for helping out your less organised mates.
Try a Pomodoro app to beat procrastination
Settling down to do some serious studying is hard. There are too many distractions in real life (another cup of tea?), never mind the internet. So once you’ve made peace with the fact that, yep, you’re probably going to procrastinate for a bit, make it work to your advantage. The Pomodoro Method is a time management technique that breaks work into manageable chunks of 25 minutes. Once you’ve done your 25 minutes, you can spend five minutes doing whatever you want (looking at doggos, then). There are loads of apps that’ll help you with this. Try Focus Keeper on iOS, and Clockwork Tomato on Android (Pomodoro means ‘tomato’ in Italian, btw).
Make your phone easy to return if you lose it (which you probably will)
Type your contact details into your notes app, screenshot it, then save it as your lock screen. This means that if you leave it in the library (or, let’s be honest, a bar) whoever finds it can get in touch with you without having to wait for someone to ring your phone first.
Charge it super quick
It’s a nightmare scenario. You’ve either forgotten to plug your phone in overnight and now you have to hotfoot it to an early lecture, or someone’s suggested a cheeky pint at your local but you’re down to a precarious 15%. Either way, you can give your phone some much-needed juice quick-sharp by switching to airplane mode while you charge it. Without all the applications running in the background, it’ll charge loads faster than normal.
Get rid of nagging notifications
You’ve got enough going on in your life already without feeling like your phone is nagging you. If every time you turn on your screen you’re faced with a barrage of those little red flags hovering over your apps, demanding your attention, it’s going to be easy to feel stressed out and overwhelmed. The solution? Get rid of them – check your apps on your time, not when your phone says you should. Learn how to bin them off on iPhone here, and Android here.
Completely customise your phone in seconds
Can you believe that once upon a time you had to pay for ringtones? Now you can have whatever notification sound you want for free as long as you download it to your phone. But sometimes that involves paying for whole tracks, or fiddling with editing apps to find the right bit of a song. It’s all too much effort, really, which is why Zedge is great. Through this free app you’ve got access to hundreds of current tracks and pop-culture soundbites, plus wallpapers and icons, which you can switch in and out whenever the mood takes you and with absolutely zero faff.
Save money without even realising it
Student life is definitely not synonymous with a flush savings account, but you know what they say about pounds and pennies. You look after the pounds and the pennies… well, sometimes you also need a hand looking after the pennies, and that’s where Moneybox comes in. This ingenious app connects to your bank account and rounds up your purchases to the nearest pound, depositing the extra pence into a separate savings account. So, if you spend £1.85 at your local café, Moneybox will round it up to £2 and squirrel away the extra 15p. It doesn’t sound like much, but it all adds up and you’ll definitely be glad of it come Christmas.
Get some seriously cheap eats
Beans on toast kind of loses its appeal after a while, but regular (and oh-so-tempting) food delivery apps are just going to rinse your already modest bank balance. So what to do? Too Good To Go is a food ordering app with a difference. Here, local cafes and restaurants sell the surplus food they have leftover at the end of their breakfast, lunch or dinner service (which would otherwise go to waste), for super low prices starting at just £2. Everyone wins!
Shout your student status
Whether you’re after a phone upgrade, want a cheaper monthly plan or fancy going SIM-only for the duration of your studies, make sure you tell everyone involved in the process that you’re a student. Sing it from the rooftops! Not only will you bag yourself a nice student discount, you might also get a bunch of other freebies and perks thrown in, such as cashback (handy for the pub) or tech such as headphones or tablets (handy for the hangover after the pub). After all, if you don’t ask, you don’t get.