Great 'Your Top Tips For New Uni Students' Hunt



  • trudi
    trudi Posts: 86 Forumite
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought Ede and Ravenscroft were the only company that supplied academic robes? Certainly everyone I know who's graduated in recent years had to get theirs from there. I could be wrong of course though.

    My daughter has just graduated from Oxford they all got their gowns from Sheppard and Woodward.
    She never had a job in term time, but worked through the summers. She still has a huge loan to pay off but at least she has a job to start thank goodness.
    My son is still at uni his top tip - Put whatever your budget for the week is into a cash account so that's all you can withdraw, so you can't be tempted to spend more at the start of term when your balance looks healthy!
    Have fun all you freshers, but take care and look after each other (thats a mummy speaking!)
  • minicooper272
    minicooper272 Posts: 2,131 Forumite
    First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    emilyjayne wrote: »
    As to not working during term-time, I work 15 and a half hours a week & find it doesn't interfere with my Uni work at all. Its all about time management haha ! Unless your course is 9-5 everyday with assignments & essays etc due every week, working a few hours a week shouldn't be a problem ;). Try to find a flexible job, I get holidays that i can take whenever & a flexi time allowance :cool:.


    This is a fair enough tip but it really does depend on what course you are doing and what year you are in. I managed to have a job in my first year but there is no way I would have had time in any subsequent years- I barely had time for sleep! Don't go overkill on hours- put uni first!

    My top tips (I hope these haven't already been said)-

    set out a weekly budget. I had one of about £50 a week- ALWAYS take it out on a Sunday/Monday- I know too many people who took it out on a Saturday and spent most of it that night... This year I'm going to divide it up as soon as I get it too (set amounts for food, going out, bills, a treat and for when I'm on campus) so that I don't go overkill buying something and realise that I needed the money for something else.

    Portion out meat when you buy it and before you put it in the freezer- it's a nightmare to separate once frozen and big packs give better value for money. You can also bulk out things like curry with veg and chunks of boiled potatoes. They really fill you up and I've manage to make a meal for one into a meal for 4 this way (another top tip: hold onto chinese carry out containers so you can portion up the leftovers and freeze them)

    Lidl are very good for some of the treats you can't normally afford in tesco- fresh pasta is really cheap here as well as fancy fruits and veg. They are also brilliant when they do the frozen food for £1 deals- its a great chance to stock up.

    If you're into reading, take a trip to a charity shop for some books. Its a really good way to pass your time and some charity shops are really cheap (especially SHELTER from personal experience- most books are only £1)
  • Just wanted to second the people who said to wait before you buy books - I only bought two books throughout the whole of my History degree - everything else was in the library.

    You might need to buy books if you're doing English and need your own copies of certain texts, or the sciences etc if there is one textbook you will use heavily throughout the course - but if you're doing History the chances are you will be using different books every week, let alone every term.
    Sealed Pot Challenge Number 1225
    £365 in £365 Days 2013
    No Buying Toiletries 2013
  • forgery wrote: »
    If you can, find the nearest iceland!! Amazing place for real budget eating!! Spend £5 on 4 chicken pies, 12 potatoe waffles and 6 tins of beans! That with top ups from the reduced isle in other supermarkets you'll never be short of a meal! That's what I do anyway :)

    I know a guy who has a £5 weekly food budget - £1 meals from iceland, one a day, apart from the 2 days we get food in the cafeteria. I still don't believe it. I think he gets most of his nutrients from beer. :beer:
  • Hi all,

    I think most things have been covered! But I just thought I'd add:

    1. You can have good nights in as well as good nights out - and it is so much cheaper. My friends and I save quite a bit by subscribing to We split the cost and it's completely hassle free as the DVDs come through the post. Also, it's worth knowing that many public libraries have a good choice of films which you can borrow for free!

    2. When you first get to uni you'll probably be faced with a bare, cold room and will spend quite a bit on posters to decorate. Instead of buying posters, whenever I read magazines and there are cool looking adverts I rip them out and keep them. A lot of the time you can get adverts for films etc which look exactly the same as official posters released, just in smaller form.

    3. Another handy way to help yourself with the cost of books is to join survey websites. I recently put £20 of Amazon vouchers from Valued Opinions towards university books. This is something you have to plan ahead for though! I'm going into my third year and have been doing their surveys for a while.

    4. For stationery I swear by Wilkinsons. For food it's Aldi.

    5. Remember to keep your student card with you even if you go abroad. Mine was accepted at swimming pools and cinemas in Switzerland for discounts!

    6. Often halls charge for the use of washing machines and tumble driers. Take hand washing liquid with you if you want to just get a couple of garments clean for a night out or something. Take a clotheshorse - saves money and will make you lots of friends as everyone will want to borrow it!!

    That's all I can think of at the moment! :)
  • sugarcultsweetie
    sugarcultsweetie Posts: 27 Forumite
    edited 27 August 2009 at 12:23PM
    karma240 wrote: »

    I don't know how much these apply to non english students but they might.

    First of all books: Everyone will tell you that because your books are cheaper you dont spend as much on them. This is a big fat lie. I am going into my second year and have so far spent over £120 on books, using as many tricks as I can. I havent finished buying yet as I have ten or more books still to get and at least two of them cost £30. So...

    Use Amazon. A lot. It's cheaper, you can buy some second hand as you may end up writing in them anyway (check when buying second hand that the postage doesnt make the price higher than new with supersaver delivery).

    Use vouchers. If you get waterstones points save them for uni books, if you get a voucher because you did surveys save them for uni books.

    I get my first terms books before term starts so I can read them without the time pressure (it helps a lot! trust me I was one of few who managed to read everything) and that means I don't have my loan yet. It's one of the few things I use my overdraft for because I know I will get the money later.


    SO RIGHT :) For English it just doesn't work relying on the library - 120 of you will be studying the same novel, for the same fortnight, you'll need a copy to refer from constantly, and the only English-related books that I've found to be non-loan, multiple copy in our massive library are critical/theory/essays... you need the core books!! Though I think it may be easy to save on books for English, due to them being widely available on wellknown sites -

    Students can get 5% discount on, and as has been said the supersaver delivery is awesome!

    Online surveys/reviews etc often pay out in amazon vouchers - I really can't find the motivation to do these for the sake of saving, but got into the swing of it early this summer for uni, and ended up actually PAYING under £10 on everything on my 2ny year 1st semester reading lists - cutting out around £50/60 expenses. I'm determined to pick it up again at the start of term to save vouchers for 2nd semester books!

    Set novels are often available in several editions etc... my uni reading lists have always been ridiculously specific on the edition, year, etc to buy, and I've been scared to stray - but there are often dirt cheap options of classic texts (Wordsworth classics copies, for instance, are generally all £2-3!)

    To all new students -READ ALL THE BOOKS. Work out a plan to have them all finished before term (I calculated that I needed to read 50 pages a day), it relieves so much stress if you understand fully what you're discussing!
  • gottago
    gottago Posts: 51 Forumite
    I've just thought of one! If you don't have any white t-shirts and pants (or whatever) then try and avoid white underwear and socks. That way you won't have to pay extra to do a (probably) half empty white wash. Still have to do lights and darks, though!

    I'm gonna be great at uni next month!
  • gottago wrote: »
    I've just thought of one! If you don't have any white t-shirts and pants (or whatever) then try and avoid white underwear and socks. That way you won't have to pay extra to do a (probably) half empty white wash. Still have to do lights and darks, though!

    I'm gonna be great at uni next month!

    On this note BUY COLOUR CATCHERS!! I start Uni in September and have been using them for college - just stuff as much washing in as you can and shut the door quick! Excellent investment, wouldn't be without them
    Anyone going to/at Bristol by the way??
  • Weano
    Weano Posts: 7 Forumite
    Take a clothes airer. Totally indispensible. Lakeland do a really good small footprint one. You will really thank me if you take a door wedge to make moving in and out sooo much easier. Look for cheap wire over the radiator airers - on modern rads it might seem as tho you can't use them but just remove the plastic end covers and you should be fine.

    Lakeland do a fantastic product called "Clean shower". Just spray and walk away after showering to remove soap scum etc - no need to rinse. If your shower/ bath gets too skanky use Lakeland's "Scrub Free". I used it to clean son's flatmate's shower that hadn't been done for a whole year so we could get the deposit back - couldn't have done it without that product.

    When I was at Uni I kept a separate account that I put my food budget in at the beginning of term. Took out the money every Monday and kept it in a separate purse so never went hungry. Son thought I was being too prissy when I suggested he do the same. Funny, in his second year he did....I wonder why?! :A
  • 1. if you use the dryer in the laundrette be careful not to leave stuff in too long, i was seconds away from shrinking stuff and since used an airer in my room. as above, colour catchers are a god send, and if you have the odd white top or whatever, ask a mate to put it in there wash.

    2. save money on accomodation my not having an ensuite, it really doesnt matter and you wll probably have to share a bathroom when you move out of halls any way. the toilets & showers in my accom. were cleaned daily except for weekends and i only had to wait once for about 5 mins to use the shower which was shared between 6 of us. if it is a problem, have showers at funny times. i would keep a toilet roll in your room tho incase someone decides to dress up as a mummy!
    2. wilkos and similar stores are great, as are relatives and the loft for finding stuff to take with you. i worked in debenhams in the holidays and bought a whole 16 piece dinner set for £3 when it went 70% off + staff discount- this way i keep spares at home and replace as they brake.
    3. last year i got an NUS extra card, at my uni affiliation with NUS is optional. the card cost £10 but got me 10% discount off amazon (and other places but i used it most there)
    4. its nice to get presents at xmas, so do secret santa. i was short of an idea for my housemate's b'day pressie so i went to my local wilkos equivalent and bought a 1.5l glass kilner jar and filled it with sweets that were on offer in the co-op.
    5. don't use convenience stores for everything, but co-op often does chicken and other meat on offer but not all at the same time, so have an idea of what to cook but dont be afraid to change ideas if something else is cheaper.our local green grocer was cheap anyway but gave 10% student discount. markets are good too
    6. if you think you can't cook then try harder- pasta sauces from jars or packets can be expensive. cook your pasta and drain it, put it back in the pan with some cheap tinned tomatoes and a bit of grow your own basil and garlic puree- better than any packet!
    7. take things other people might not have, i have a small multitool thing that has fixed numerous things over the past 2 years, and being a girl it always suprises the guys! stuff like that helps people remeber you. just make sure you remeber who you lend stuff to! far as books are concerned, try seeing if your local library has anything before you go, so you know what to expect. you dont always need the most recent editions of text books. some chapters may be missing but you could nip to the library to read those bits. invariably people all want the same books. i always work through the reading list from the bottom up as most people just read what is firt on the list. this also means you might have something more original to say in seminars. also as tutors for peripheral reading which may not be on the list, especially from tutors who teach the course but have not compiled the reading list as they might have a slightly different slant on things.
    9. buy a cheap barbecue in the summer, invite mates round and either charge them for the food or get them to bring stuff, bbq food is really cheap and goes a long way. (we had an unused bbq in our shed when we moved in it was from b&q and i think was about £15)
    10. when sharing a house have a kitty for cleaning products (like shower spray, toilet roll and bin liners because people (boys :p) dont even think to by toilet roll so it always gets bought by the ones who know, which gets to be a pain and you sometimes forget to ask for the money.

    before you set a budget, see how much you are likely to spend by writing everything down that you spend in a week. but dont do this in freshers week as thats the most money you will spend in a week at uni

    good luck freshers! (see you in York?!)
This discussion has been closed.
Meet your Ambassadors


  • All Categories
  • 343.2K Banking & Borrowing
  • 250.1K Reduce Debt & Boost Income
  • 449.7K Spending & Discounts
  • 235.3K Work, Benefits & Business
  • 608K Mortgages, Homes & Bills
  • 173.1K Life & Family
  • 247.9K Travel & Transport
  • 1.5M Hobbies & Leisure
  • 15.9K Discuss & Feedback
  • 15.1K Coronavirus Support Boards