I’m not sure if it’s a coincidence or not, but one of the most expensive weeks in the student uni calendar – Freshers’ Week – also coincides with Student Finance Day. Have you got any budgeting tips to share?
Student Finance Day gives older generations of students the chance to pass on their pearls of wisdom to 400,000 fresh-faced Freshers, each with the heady responsibility (and excitement) of spending the big lump sum that’s just appeared in their bank accounts.
It’s also an opportunity for universities and colleges to raise the profile of their student welfare centres, where students can access advice and financial support if they need it.
Which? University asked almost 11,000 students about their university experiences, including how they managed their finances. Many of them offered practical and ingenious tips to help stretch the budget and make ends meet when cash gets low.
Buy your books second-hand from former students
A first year geography student from the University of Southampton said:
‘Most faculties run second-hand book sales from past students which can be cost effective, and it also means you can sell on your books when you’ve finished with them.’
Try cheaper brands
A second year psychology student at the University of Portsmouth said:
‘Just because you don’t know a certain brand of food doesn’t mean it’s bad. In fact, it’s usually better than the known brands (and cheaper too!). It’s best to not be afraid of trying new things instead of sticking to what you know from home.’
A rail card is definitely worth it
A first year languages student from the University of Hull said:
‘A railcard is a must if you regularly make train journeys. Mine has paid itself off three times over in one year!’
Looking back on my own uni experience, I can think of two tactics I used to great effect to make my budget stretch, so I could maintain a healthy social life.
- Buy an NUS card. You have to pay a small amount of money upfront (currently £12 for 12 months), but you can save money on lots of products and services all the time that you’re a student.
- Shopping on the reduced shelf in supermarkets. Now, I had this down to a real art. I noticed that regular shoppers at Waitrose tended to avoid the reduced aisle – which made it easy pickings for me when I was a student.
Do you have any top tips from your uni days to pass on to Freshers this week?