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.
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 www.abebooks.com. 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!
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.
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.
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.
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!