When you get your student loan it can seem really exciting having all that money at your fingertips, but you need to be careful. Make sure you have budgeted for rent, food and bills so that you don’t end up living off fish finger sandwiches for a month like one of my old housemates did!
2. Plan your meals
Planning meals saves money as it stops you getting a takeaway or going out and buying food when you’re really hungry. It’s also nice to get home from lectures and not have to decide what to eat. Try and plan a few meals a week to cook with your flatmates. Not only is it a great way to get to know each other but it also saves money!
3. Get a railcard
If you’re travelling by train a 16-25 railcard is a must! It comes free with some student bank accounts, but if not it is only £30 for the whole year and gets you a third off Standard Anytime, Off-Peak or Standard Advanced train tickets. Or if you are going to be travelling in a group by train then GroupSave offers groups of three to nine people travelling together a third off Off-Peak tickets.
4. Don’t bring your car
There are great public transport links to the University of Essex with buses frequently running between the university to Colchester town and North Station. There are also bike paths running to Wivenhoe and Colchester from the university.
5. Sell old textbooks
Don’t hold onto your old textbooks. Textbooks can cost a large amount of money but you can also normally sell them on to future students, helping you to get some of your money back. The University of Essex runs a ‘Hand Me Books’ website where you can sell your old textbooks safely and easily to other students.
6. Don’t buy unnecessary books
You don’t necessarily need to buy every book on your reading list. This can be really expensive and unnecessary when at the end of the year you realise your lecturer only asked you to read a section from the book once. I would suggest getting the book out from the library and if you find that after a few weeks you would actually prefer to own the book then you know you’ve made a good investment!
7. Get Microsoft Office for free
Don’t buy Microsoft Office! Not because I don’t think you’ll need it (you will) but because you get it free when you come to the University of Essex! All students get 5 copies of Microsoft Office to download to their laptops or phones and tablets. You should get an email about this when you start university but if not you can find out how to get Microsoft Office here.
8. Check for student discounts
If you do feel the urge to go shopping, then keep an eye out for student discounts. Discounts can range to up to 20% and this can save you a lot of money on a shopping spree! You would also be surprised at the range of restaurant deals you can get, often 25% off meals at restaurants such as Chiquitos. I recommend downloading the unidays app to see all of the student discount offers.
9. Sharing is caring
Share your Netflix account! If you need a Netflix subscription whilst you’re at uni then you can share your account with 5 other people (this allows 2 people to be watching simultaneously). As Netflix is £5.99 a month you can each just chip in £1! Although be careful, Netflix can very be addictive.
10. Get free postage
Save money on postage by signing up for a free trial of Amazon Prime. As a student you get 6 months free next day delivery which is great for any textbooks or course materials. It’s also great for when you leave buying a birthday present until the last minute, oops.