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Catered Vs Self Catered

edited 30 November -1 at 12:00AM in Student Money Saving
36 replies 11.8K views
jimmy_gjimmy_g Forumite
40 posts
Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
edited 30 November -1 at 12:00AM in Student Money Saving
A general question - can catered accommodation be worth the money?

I'm hoping to start at Manchester in a few weeks (it's still not definite, it's a slightly complicated situation, thus I still haven't got my accommodation finalised), I can cook a bit, but I don't want to waste time doing things I can avoid.

What are the pros and cons of each? What are your experiences?

I'd be grateful for your thoughts...


  • jr666jr666 Forumite
    247 posts
    I cooked for my first year and was glad i didnt go for a catered plan. If you go for a catered plan then its rather like eating in a canteen EVERY DAY. There is little choice and many nights its something you dont want, so you end up eating crisps and chocolate.

    I liked the fact that i could decide 10 mins before i was to eat what i was going to have. YOu obvioulsy get more choice and can be a good way to save money as you can eat cheaply and even more cheaply if you cook and shop with a freind.
    Come to my garden in South Bucks and i'll find you a wasp...
  • fruityslhfruityslh Forumite
    123 posts
    As per jr 666 and the fact that catered usually means set meal times, so if you miss them (ie breakfast after a particularly heavy night down the SU) then you don't get fed but you've paid for it anyway. Self catered is the way to go if you can manage to cook and have decent facilities
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  • nearlyrichnearlyrich Forumite
    13.7K posts
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker Hung up my suit! Mortgage-free Glee!
    My daughter is going into a "part catered" contract in her halls, basically they load £30 per week on a swipe card which can be used for the main snack bar (decent food we've all tested it) the students union for food and soft drinks and the campus shop. The snack bar has won awards for healthy food, there is a lot of choice and it's open from 8am till 8pm every day, bit less on Sundays. She gets a decent ensuite room which works out cheaper than my son paid in the student village in manchester last year for a 4 shared flat.

    The alternative is pay about £15 per week less for no food and a shared bathroom so it makes sense to go for the catered deal.

    Students in Manchester have lots of choice and lots of places to cheaply eat out, buy food from. where my daughter is going the campus is a bit remote from the town.
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  • sockospicesockospice Forumite
    551 posts
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    The catered halls in manchester aren't great (food not good, rooms worse). If you can get in a self catering one, do it.
  • I'd definitely go for self-catered if I did it again because as previouly mentioned you can vary your food as you want over the year and not eat the same food on a monthly cycle, also I found that it worked out cheaper for me in comparison to my friends in catered halls especially once cost of take aways etc is taken into account from when they missed meals.

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  • tr3mortr3mor Forumite
    2.3K posts
    Yeah, dont bother going catered at manchester, especially not owen's park tower or anything, the rooms are crap and the food is worse. Saying that, if you haven't got your accomodation sorted by now, you're not likely to get a decent self catering room.

    Self catering halls - Oak House (rooms are shoebox sized), Richmond Park (nice, but probably full by now), Grosvenor Group (decent sized rooms, a bit out of date, lots of foreign students), Whitworth Park (Probably the best cheap SC halls, and a really good bar!), Other smaller halls are probably full.

    I was in Canterbury Court, which is really nice, and not very studenty at all (fairly posh, ensuite SC hall) but i think this was mostly filled with people who had taken a gap year and were guarenteed a place early.
  • I went catered for my first year along time ago and hated it. It was a real bind having to keep going to the canteen all the time, the food got real boring and predicatable, and half the time we didnt bother going as we couldnt be bothered, and ended up surviving on pot noodles and instant mash and ketchup! Lol...stick to self catering!
  • jr666jr666 Forumite
    247 posts
    so jimmy_g have you made up your mind?
    Come to my garden in South Bucks and i'll find you a wasp...
  • I'd say self-catered. Even if you don't want to cook all the time, it's usually not that much more expensive to eat in a campus restaurant.

    You'll constantly be thinking, got to be back by 6pm (or whatever it is).

    Some people would argue it's more sociable, which can be true, but that's the only good 'for' argument IMO.
  • Catered does have the luxury of not making it! so more time for other things,my daughter is a healthy eater so the meals were not to her tastes, everthing fried etc, but you do make friends easier with your neighbours which will come in handy when you need to find somewhere to rent in the second year to share the costs. Think the cost is cheaper to rent though, rather than stay in Halls of Residents, roughly its going to cost you £3000 for the year in Halls.

    Coolsteel :cool:
    A fool and their money are easily parted.
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