Great 'Your Top Tips For New Uni Students' Hunt

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  • JoE
    JoE Posts: 85 Forumite
    Here are my top tips for saving money at Uni:

    1) Buy the essentials before you go - or better still get Mum or Dad to pay! Remember to include things to make your room feel homely, a rug, pot plant and posters can go a long way (don't fall for the overpriced "poster sales" in freshers week).

    2) Do your research - a little local knowledge goes a long way. Where are the cheap shops? (don't assume supermarkets and chains are best, check out markets & local independent shops too). Where are your nearest bus stops? What student discounts are available?

    3) Save on textbooks. Don't just buy the whole reading list before you get there, be selective. Look for second hand books (I got loads of mine off e-bay) but check they aren't out of date. Use the library, and see if you can reserve popular books; if you keep needing the same one then it might be worth buying.

    4) Cook your own food, you'll save money and eat better (ok, so value ready meals can be cheaper, but do you realise how unhealthy they are?). Don't forget basic store-cupboard ingredients.

    5) Make the most of freshers fair: decide before you go which societies you're interested in so you don't pay to join too many. Collect as many goody bags, discount vouchers and freebies as you can carry!

    6) Make a budget and stick to it. You're bound to meet people with more money than you, but don't be tempted to try and keep up.
  • * Not really a moneysaving tip, but take a door wedge - most halls of residence now have big heavy fire doors which won't stay open, so you'll end up sat in your room on your own behind a closed door - not very sociable when you've just moved in and haven't met anyone yet! If you wedge your door open, you'll meet people as they're walking past and probably make some great friends.

    * If you are moving into private rented accommodation in your 2nd year, DON'T believe the hype that you have to sign up for a house as soon as you go back to uni after the Christmas holiday in your 1st year. Everyone gets in a panic trying to find somewhere, and you end up signing a contract in March and having to pay rent all over the Summer holidays to secure the house - while you're not even living there. We made the mistake of doing this, but when we went back in September there were still loads of decent houses for rent on our street and in the surrounding areas - many more houses than students. We could have just signed up for one on the first day that we went back, and saved ourselves £500 each in summer rent! (this was in Manchester - but do check with older students what the housing situation is like if you're going to take a gamble on doing this).

    * Don't think your overdraft is 'free money' - it's not! I had a great time in my 1st year and had maxed out my overdraft by the end of the first term. I wouldn't say I regret it, because I had a bloody brilliant time...but with hindsight I might not have gone quite so over the top :p It wasn't so much fun when I graduated and found myself having to work all summer to pay for all those nights out or pairs of shoes I'd enjoyed 3 years previously and couldn't even remember :rotfl:

    * Get a mini fridge to keep in your room, if you can find a cheap one. People steal things from communal fridges, and they NEVER get cleaned! You can get a mini fridge for about a tenner, which is much less than the cost of replacing all your food that will get pinched!

    * Always lock your bedroom door when you go out, if you're living in halls. People think that their fellow students won't steal from them, so they feel quite safe leaving the door unlocked when they pop to the shop, go for a night out or whatever - and they're probably right. But professional criminals know where the student areas are, and they will dress up as students themselves in hoodies and backpacks, get into the halls and try doors until they find one that's unlocked and empty. Better safe than sorry!

    * Some of the Christian student groups and organisations provide food if you go along to one of their talks - one of our lectures was in a chaplaincy building just before lunch, and I'm ashamed to say when we were really skint we used to stay afterwards just for the free food! They were lovely people though and didn't seem to mind feeding a load of hungry law students who they knew fine well hadn't even been to their talk! A lot of careers talks also provide food, so might be worth going along even if you're not interested in the talk to save you buying food that day!

    Attempting to pay off our debts! Balances Jan 2018 -
    Family member £3,700 - Virgin CC £1,000 - MBNA £1,700 - Barclaycard £2,500 (was £2,700) - Halifax CC £1,280
    13
  • Thanks for all these guys. Even though I've been to uni once before and dropped out, these are still useful for my return to uni. I'm not living in halls this time so a lot doesn't apply but it's a great thread. :T
  • MrsManda
    MrsManda Posts: 4,457 Forumite
    lilian1977 wrote: »
    At the freshers fair, you will be offered many many credit cards. DO NOT GET ONE unless you are very capable of paying it off every month and not ending up with a huge bill like I did. Oh and don't then take out a graduate loan to pay it off and then keep spending on it.... :rolleyes:

    Completely agree with this, BUT if they are offering you something immediately for applying that you want, fill in the application form, take the freebie and IMMEDIATELY fill out the cancellation form and post it. I got a disco light this way :)
  • libertino
    libertino Posts: 217 Forumite
    bc3000 wrote: »
    The best thing to do is to make sure you know how to cook!

    That's the first tip I thought of too. It's easy to eat out at the pub all the time but it's so much cheaper not to. If you don't know how to cook you can still buy your oven meals from Iceland for a quid and it won't be any worse for you than the more expensive fast food. Also venture into your cheap supermarket like Lidl where you can get really cheap tins and packets of food. See if there's a fruit and veg market as well, they can be cheap.

    It can be difficult doing proper cooking when you share a student kitchen but it pays off if you do. If you and your flatmates are close, pitch in together for the ingredients and share the meal.

    University of Lincoln "Of course" alumni 2004-07 (give me a message if you want specific info on Lincoln!)
  • libertino
    libertino Posts: 217 Forumite
    Grab as many discount vouchers as you can. There will be lots of these available at Freshers' Fair

    Sorry to reply twice, just seen this post. Really reminded me of the stack of voucher books I had! It had a buy one pint get one free voucher for the local pub, don't remember buying a full price pint on its own!

    Talking of cheap pubs, I'm sure you'll come across Scream bars. Very cheap, especially with their Yellow Card (discount on most drinks and food, get one immediately), or buying a pitcher with your mates. At the freshers fair we could buy a £1 Yellow Card which came with a voucher for a free pint... so I got a few Yellow Cards that year!
  • * Get a mini fridge to keep in your room, if you can find a cheap one. People steal things from communal fridges, and they NEVER get cleaned! You can get a mini fridge for about a tenner, which is much less than the cost of replacing all your food that will get pinched!

    Or alternatively, hanging a bottle of milk out of your window in a plastic bag works well if necessary (I was informed of this by my older sister when I didn't have a kitchen for the first few weeks in halls). I don't recommend doing it with ice cream though.
    "A mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge." - Tyrion Lannister
    Married my best friend 1st November 2014
    Loose = the opposite of tight (eg "These trousers feel a little loose")
    Lose = the opposite of find/gain (eg "I'm going to lose weight this year")
  • catkin00
    catkin00 Posts: 23 Forumite
    edited 24 August 2009 at 9:37PM
    1) Very happy I'd opened a student account with Natwest - purely for the young persons railcard each year

    2) Don't give any money to socities until you're sure you're going to stick with them! You might join 5 societies in the first year and think that their reduced membership rate for early payments is worthwhile, but realistically, you'll probably only stick with a couple of those.

    3) If you want temporary holiday work, apply very early! Boots hire in August for Xmas temps.

    4) Expect Freshers' week to be expensive, but budget realistically for the rest of the year.

    5) More a safety warning, but Freshers' week is the most dangerous time in the Uni calender - criminals know that there are vulnerable Freshers' walking about, so crime is at its highest on campus at this time of year.

    6) The mystery shopping visits discussed on MSE are excellent for students - get paid to shop, eat and evaluate the service.

    Enjoy = )
  • laura16_2
    laura16_2 Posts: 625 Forumite
    I haven't read them all so I'm sorry if I have repeated what anyone else has said, heres my tips:-

    Shop together - when you first move in just take the bare mimimum foodwise and dont take big things like a kettle coz what will you do when you have 6 in a flat its just mental. In the first day I went shopping with my new flat mate and we put together for things it works out cheaper for everyone so don't be affraid to suggest it. In second year we shared food as well because things like milk and bread you won't use all of and it will get thrown away.

    Rail card - if you are going to be getting the train to go too and from uni even if its just to visit home a rail card will save you a small fortune (more beer money)

    Take a bottle of wine - I no thats not a responsible point but what better way to really get to know everyone than by having a bottle of wine and a chatt before the freshers nights out.

    Free stuff - get all the free stuff and voutures at freshers fayre its worth it

    Student card - if your uni has a student card dont buy the nus one because you can use the one you get for free in most place, ask everywhere

    Cooking - you'll pick it up dont worry but try to eat properly at some point.

    Things not to forget - bottle opener, plate (2x), mug, knife and fork, sweets, booze, sissors.

    when you move in it won't look like home or feel like it, this is more a point for the girlys because i dont think lads mind as much. Get some wall paper samples or some cheep pretty wrapping paper to cover your notice board, take some pictures (i didnt then had to sit and print loads off) and put them up, get a pretty lamp and a rug. It will feel like home in no time.

    Swap number straight away on the first day so you have someone to call when you get lost.

    Most importantly enjoy it, you have to do some work but theres so much fun to have. oooo and i bought letters for the fridge sooooo much fun

    Good luck xx
    Sealed pot challenge 1875
  • laura16_2
    laura16_2 Posts: 625 Forumite
    Another thing, I know im rambling now but I'm in lincoln still, third year now so if you want to know anything just pm me
    Sealed pot challenge 1875
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