Student life should be fun. It’s the time when we flee the family nest, break out on our own and find our identity – making friends, exploring and learning new ideas. Yet it can also be expensive. Socialising doesn’t come cheap and neither do textbooks and materials you need to get through your study. The least said about fees the better.
So how do you live well and keep the cost down? Here are five top tips…
Food: You quickly need to become a savvy shopper, especially when it comes to groceries.
Test your new new-found kitchen freedom and rustle up some tasty meals – without spending too much on ingredients.
Find some good recipes and work out how to make creative use of cheap and cheerful items such as pasta, rice and frozen vegetables.
Being a student doesn’t mean eating poorly – it just means learning the skills of eating well on a budget. Experimenting can be fun too.
Transport: Cars are expensive. From driving lessons, to the tests to purchasing a vehicle and paying for a licence, insurance and then fuel it just doesn’t come cheap.
Yet, it’s pretty handy to have your own transport as a student – especially when public transport isn’t exactly a cheap option either. The NUS reckons more than £700 of the average £10,133 a year cost of full-time higher education (including fees) is spent on travel.
For an option that will help you live well and save money – and be cool at the same time – consider a moped. CBT courses are fairly cheap and will get you ready for the road on a mode of transport that can save you time and money in the long run.
Student discount: You’ll grow to love student discount. So many places offer it and it’ll really help you to live well on a budget, as you study.
Consider whether somewhere offers this discount before every purchase and read up online to keep up to speed with what you can save as a student. Cash in now (and enjoy the free McFlurrys at Maccy D’s), you’ll miss this when it’s gone.
Drinks: There’s no point denying it, you will want to have a few (quite a lot of) beverages with your buddies while you’re a student. There’s nothing wrong with that but drinking out can be a big drain on your finances.
Try not to do it too often or you’ll be super-skint, save money and target the nights when pubs and clubs have student offers and start your night off at your flat with friends – that way you can share a cheaper round before having to dig deep into your pocket.
Don’t overload before you go out though – you won’t enjoy yourself properly and the cash you spend on a night out will be wasted if you don’t remember most of it.
Sell: The textbooks you need to buy for your modules are expensive for a reason – they serve a relatively niche market.
It’s important to remember that there are plenty of people in the same shoes as you and they’ll gladly buy your second or even third hand books. Even a few quid back for a book you won’t need again is better than nothing.
With some careful planning and self control you can make it through University just on your student loan, without ever begging Mum and Dad for a hand out when they pop up to visit.