A 20-year-old student from Coventry has shared her top money-saving tips after managing to buy her first home for £180,000 without any help.
Sujaana Jeyaratanam, a second-year biomedical science student at Coventry University, bought a three-bedroom house in Nuneaton back in August, having been able to save up the deposit for the property all on her own.
Jeyaratanam is now sharing her frugal tips to help other students wanting to do the same, whether it's having a side hustle or simply taking advantage of discounts.
She works part-time as a tutor teaching science and maths to youngsters, and also started her own online skincare business on Etsy, where she sells herbal face masks and toners she makes at home using all-natural ingredients like turmeric.
The budding entrepreneur worked up to 30 hours five days a week and used the extra income to go towards her house deposit.
She said: "My parents were a big support for my business and always motivated me since I was a child.
"They never said my dreams were too big when others said it was unrealistic."
Jeyaratanam believes students don't necessarily have to work part-time to save up for a house, saying she used the bulk of her student maintenance loan towards her deposit while living at home with her parents.
She said: "I stayed at home and saved up the maintenance money I got.
"If you save up two years of your maintenance money, you would have enough for a whole house deposit.
"You can buy a house with just maintenance money and you don't have to work full-time.
"I also saved my tuition money and my side Etsy business.
"There are a lot of things you can do from home to make money, and tutoring is a really easy thing to do as a student.
"It doesn't cost a lot to set up and there is a demand for private tutors.
"Sometimes people get scared of starting their own business and they think they need a lot of money to do it, but that isn't the case."
Jeyaratanam has always had a huge passion for real estate, and was determined to buy her first house by the age of 21.
She said she was inspired by her late uncle, Alexander Lawrence, a successful businessman in Sri Lanka who taught her everything she needed to know when it came to investing.
Jeyaratanam continued: "I always wanted to get into real estate since I was young, I was inspired by my uncle.
"He started businesses in Sri Lanka at a young age with just a bicycle to get around.
"He became really big in the region, and I always wanted to become like him.
"I had the goal to buy a house at the age of 21 no matter what.
"I did whatever I could and thought of different ways to achieve it, and I did."
Jeyaratanam encourages other students to make the most of all the discounts available to them, such as through sites like Uni Days and Student Beans, and also avoids shopping at major groceries - opting for cheaper local mini-marts instead.
"University students think it's impossible to buy your home," she said.
"But this is the time in your life where it is possible to gain income and buy a home early.
"There are so many student discounts that students don't use such as Student Beans and Uni Days.
"People don't tend to use them because they can't be bothered to look for the discount codes, you save so much on clothes and shoes - and get freebies sometimes.
"Try and cook yourself rather than buying takeouts."
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