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September, 03, 2014

5 Ways To Save Money At Uni


Name: Sophie Bichener
Member of: Student Panellist
Joined: Dec 2010
Sophie's Full Profile

Going to university can be an expensive experience. However, there are (at least) five things you can do to help ease the pain and save money.

1. Don’t buy every book on the reading list.


Photo by Madolan Greene

In the first few months course fees can rack up. As a Fresher you feel buying the course text books is a compulsory part of your degree. However, with the right knowledge and understanding these large costs can definitely be avoided.

Although your course wants to provide a reading list with text books written even in the year you’re studying, this can be extremely expensive. However, they can be found in the library. They will be in high demand but as long as you’re smart and get in there quickly you wont have to buy a text book again.

In addition to this, many older text book readily available online; supplied by graduates who are desperate to make some of their money back from their old books. A brilliant website I was recommended was If the book you need isn’t on here it may be useful to look at your university or course groups through a Facebook search.

2. Don’t buy everything new!


Photo by André van Rooyen

Opening the brown envelope and finding out you have got the grades you need to secure your university place is hugely exciting. One of the first things I did was drive to Matalan and stock pile ironing boards, a 10 plate set, mugs, a kettle and all sorts of cleaning equipment. However, upon arriving at university we quickly discovered that we wouldn’t need 6 ironing boards, 30 plates or even 7 bottles of ketchup. If you wait until you arrive at university, not only will you find you probably have almost everything you need between you, you can club together to buy anything you need on top of this.

3. Stockpile food.


Photo by zenilorac

Over the summer, keeping an eye out for any deals in supermarkets will help with early costs. Unless you’re catered, having a stock of food such as soup, noodles, pasta and other ‘usually found in the cupboard’ goods, can be an effective money saving tool.

Learning to cook efficiently either alone or as a group with your new house mates is essential. There are lots of good student cook books and blogs around and if you pick one up you can learn how to eat on a budget whilst ensuring you’re getting your five a day! (and you’ll keep your beady eyed mother happy by showing you’re at least planning to “eat properly”).

4. Sign up to it all.


Photo by thebarrowboy

There are many companies out there who are willing to help students out in the money department. If you sign up for a student account with Natwest you not only receive an interest free overdraft of up to £2,000, but a 16-25 railcard which significantly decreases the price of rail fares: making the trip home at Christmas a lot cheaper. NUS also provide a card which allows students who sign up various discounts in certain clothes and food shops.

In addition to these well known companies there are other ways you can grab a bargain whilst at university. Most clothes shops allow you to get a discount online by registering with your university or through Unidays.

5. Know your stuff.


Photo by @Doug88888

Little tips and tricks about student living can help you save a lot of money. For example, finding the cheapest but most comprehensive insurance for all of your student essentials such as a laptop, TV or phone can save you buckets full. This means looking around and doing your research. It’s even worth getting you parent’s to check their home insurance policy as it may cover valuable items away from home. I’ve found the best website providing advice on financial tips for students is Money Saving Expert.

Got any tips of your own? Share them with the community and write below!


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  1. Jessica Sanches

    These tips are very helpful. I am not going to buy the books right now. Even if I can’t find the book in the library of my university I will ask my sister to check on her university : P if you have friends that are willing to reserve a book for you don’t hesitate in asking.

  2. Keeran Sagir

    This is so true, some great and useful advice for those about to start university! I know I will definitely act upon some of the advice mentioned! thanks

  3. Hicham Redah

    Thanks, it’s so true.

  4. lusungu

    aah,it seems helpful to me

  5. Anu Payne

    Add a commentamazing, i definitaely will start these. Thanks

  6. Michael Rowarth

    This is amazing, thank you. I will definitely be using these tips when I go to Uni.

  7. Annabelle Greatorex

    Hi thanks for the tips, I think Santander is also giving a student rail card away with their student account as well.

  8. pratik karnik

    wonderful analysis

  9. Hana E

    Great advice

  10. Emily Barrass

    These tips are really helpful. Thank you! :)

  11. Doven Gardon

    i guess all of ’em agreed 😀

  12. Syahrul Alamsyah

    Wow thanks for the tips brother

  13. Giulia Cipriani

    Yeah you’re right! Thank you

  14. Rina Begum

    Thanks for the tips, it’s also good if students try to get a part time job while at uni, especially for first year.

  15. Toivo Pihlak

    Thats so true!

  16. Nikola Zlatev

    Thanks for the tips :)

  17. Connor Robertson

    So true!

  18. Dilan Cader

    that was reallly help ful thanx

  19. Zak Mahamed

    Helpful indeed.

  20. Abbie Scargill

    Helpful tips, thanks.

  21. razzia gafur

    Is insurance neccessary?

  22. Ellen Golton

    This is really helpful especially the student cookbooks as I have seen some that for example shows roughly how much each person would pay if you bulk cook the recipe.

  23. Lauren Kelley

    As a mature student studying Engineering I’m already finding that books are very expensive and with such an intense course I cannot commit to a part time job. So this has been a great guide to spending as little as possible. I have managed to find a job that I can do as and when I have time too. So if anyone is interested, just let me know :)

  24. Billie Martin


  25. Sophie Clarke

    I’m starting uni next week however I’ve chosen to stay at home due to the cost of accommodation where I’m studying. These tips I feel will come in handy throughout the next few years at uni to help me save money in ways I didn’t think of before. Great help!

  26. Nadzia Laskar

    Pretty helpful!

  27. Nadzia Laskar

    Add a comment

  28. Safina Mahmood

    During a Uni tour, I found out that buying books from a book store ON the uni site is so much CHEAPER than buying the SAME book from the SAME book store off site, thought i’d share :)

  29. Abi Connors

    Very helpful!

  30. Sandra Pawlowska

    These informations are very helpful as many students will not know about all od these things

  31. Nyaradzo Mafunga

    Very helpful thanks

  32. Christopher Webb

    This article is very helpful, as a fresher my self one place I found helpful for getting books was getting them second hand of amozon. my reading list cost about £150 for the books new, but of amozon I got all the books of the list for £45

  33. samantha marshall

    I have done just that with my books ready for uni, a friend has just finished the degree that I am doing and I bought her full book shelf off her for £100. Some have already been highlighted in and notes….. Added bonus probably same bits I need.

  34. Anojan Vigneswaran

    Really good article, very useful for freshers.

  35. Suad Farah

    this is very helpful thanks

  36. Jake Hart

    Good read! I’m already going to be really tight this year despite me wanting to go abroad next summer. Going to try and get a job I think- Gotta be the best way to save money as a student! =P

  37. Karley Chadwick

    i am so worried about money at uni :/ especially freshers, like it seems mandatory to get drunk every night and i’m really not interested in doing that and i’d quite like to spend my money on something more important than alcohol

  38. Sitara Zaheer

    This is soo true, I always advice my friends the same thing and follow it myself. Trying to save as much money from loan so that I can pay for my further studies rather then wasting it on clothes, food and partying which applies to some people.

  39. Danny Walker

    Thanks for supplying some good websites to look up!

  40. Mohamed Ahamad

    Thanks for the tips, I will definitely be using these tricks to help me out this year!

  41. Melissa Davey

    I’m starting uni this year and my halls are really far away from my campus and I was wondering what the cheapest options there are for travel. Is the bus cheaper? Or is there a Oyster card you can pay monthly? I’m not from England so it’s all different from what I’m used to so I’m really confused!! Haha

    • Rebecca Grogan

      For travel you will have to look at your individual uni and find which is easiest. Some cities have efficient tram or underground systems while others offer great student bus or train passes. It may even be worth investing in a second hand bike while you are here if the distance is close enough. Try contacting a facebook group from your university, they should be able to help.

  42. Darrell Iceton

    Very helpful tips there, I shall take them on board.

  43. lucy lavelle

    Really useful tips here, thanks. I will now wait before buying books, which as I have £27/month to live on will ease the burden a lot!
    I recommend buying things when they are in season and/or reduced, and then cooking in bulk and freezing. Take it out the night before you need it and defrost it in the fridge. There is nothing better than coming home after a long day of lectures to good home-cooked food (done on the cheap!).

  44. Anita Klich

    First of all: cook for yourself. I can spend a lot of money on Starbucks and restaurants… And it’s much cheaper and more healthy to cook something on my own.

  45. John Wadeson

    If it is food that can be stock piled jsut keep it in your room as it wont go out of date for a while so only you have access to it.

    Also if you are buying books look at second hand books on Amazon

  46. Saarah Ibrahim

    Excellent article! Martin Lewis Money Saving Guide is very useful ! Especially the one on student finance

  47. Charlotte Flanders

    Good article.
    I’d better hope no one nicks my food when I get some. If they do, I’m willing to take matters into my own hands. hehehe

  48. Anna Currington

    It’s all very well to stockpile food, but the real question is how to keep other people from eating it!

    Here’s a question, is it worth getting a mini fridge and keeping it in your room? and does uni campus accommodation even allow that?

  49. Jade Harvey

    Does anyone think it is outrageous that universities demand deposits of 100s of pounds with as little of 2 weeks notice. I have recently got my tenancy agreement, although I knew id have to pay a deposit. I am expected to pay £250 by the 19th of feb!!

    • Rebekah Regan


      As a first year uni student I do find it outrageous about the 250 quid deposit, but you will either getnit back at the end of the year if there are no damages or if it is a retainer it will come off the rent itself.

      I had a £100 retainer for my accommodation this year and it camw off mu first rent payment, I have put £225 down for a house for my second year and 150 of it is coming off my overall payment, the rest in safety net insurance.

      If you are starting or wanting to start uni this year in September, I would recommend going to the accommodation themselves and aaking for information, I would also recommend looking into private registered accommodation (thats accommodation that isn’t uni run but it is registered to the uni so you will get the same protection) as this can be a cheaper option, thisnis what I personally found great!!

      As I said I paid 100 for a retainer which came off my first rent payment, the only other costs I had to worry abput was an eztra weeks rent dur to the fact I had to move in before my contract started, this was less than 90 quid, and a permit for my car but this may differ from everyone else.

      Do your research, you won’t regret it

  50. Charlotte Wilson

    This is amazing advice for people worried about the expenses of university!

  51. deonne kendall

    good advice! I was worried about the price of book’s so I will deffo note that website down thanks

  52. Jacob Brooks

    Taking as much advice as I can get at the moment :) thanks.

  53. Riana Juma

    I can’t wait to go to university. The tips are very helpful. Thanks

  54. Rebecca Jones

    Really looking forward to going to uni, but as I’m pretty poor already these tips will be a great help! Thanks

  55. Lena Adams

    Thanks a lot for the advice! will come in handy when I start in September :)

  56. Alyssa Dean

    Cheers, this will help.

  57. ANIEKA

    my sister an brother do the stockpile food….. where they are studying is really expensive so every time they come home they pile food up…. great way to save money and spend on other things and not go broke or go hungry

  58. Ruth Adu-Boahen

    This really helped me alot

  59. Zainab Zaim

    Great info (Y)