Financial advice to ensure you don't end up skint on your studies.
It’s almost time to pack your things and head off to your new home. Moving away for first-year is one of the most exciting things you’ll do, with a world of opportunity waiting. However, that’s not to say that it comes without its challenges. One of the biggest hurdles you’ll face is managing that student loan. It’s hard to judge the costs of living as a student before you’ve done it, which is why we already brought you the SAS guide to savings.
There’s no such thing as living too frugally when you’re a student, so here are some more top tips to ensure you make it through the year:
1. Pay your rent in advance if possible
This is a big one, especially if you’re living in halls which charge by the semester. Often, you won’t be chased up until the end of term, when sometimes it’s too late. This can leave you in dire straits, particularly if you can’t rely on your family for money. Get the payment out of the way early if possible. We can’t lie, it’s very painful seeing that money leaving your account, but at least you’ll be in a good place to plan the rest of your term if you get it done.
2. Pre-drink as much as possible before going out
This is the golden rule if you’re planning on hitting the town frequently in first-year. Clubs in most student cities will charge you a fair bit for the pleasure of drinking in their venue, so it makes sense to get there with a head start. Assuming you’re not some kind of booze connoisseur, go for the supermarket’s own-brand stuff - if it’s mixed enough, you really won’t be able to tell the difference, and your bank account will thank you for your discretion.
3. Split your shops with housemates
Planning a weekly shop is quite tricky for one person. It’s easy to overbuy the first few times you go to the supermarket, which can often lead to food waste when the stuff you couldn’t get through starts to go off. If you have a housemate that you’re particularly close with, you can mitigate these costs by doing your shops together. Your wallet will thank you in the long run!
4. Invest in a yearly travel pass
This one is particularly necessary if you live a long way from campus. Those day returns can really add up over a long period of time, so it makes sense to buy an annual pass if you think you’ll get enough use out of it. It can seem like a big lump sum to part with initially, but you’ll reap the rewards in the last couple of semesters when you can get around the city for no cost whatsoever.
5. Get some part-time work
Covid has been hard on the job market, but there are still opportunities out there. If your student loan plan is going to restrict your lifestyle, then working is a great way to balance the books a little, especially in first-year when you’ll have a little more spare time. Check out our job hunting guide to see if any of the suggestions suit you.
Have you got any more tips for affordable living at university? Join our panel today and let us know; you’ll get a free £10 Amazon voucher when you sign up!