Freshers week is one of the best, most exciting periods of your life. You’re in a new city surrounded by new people and are (finally!) free from your parents to do whatever you want whenever you please. Most importantly, however, for the first time in your life you have a hefty stash of cash from student finance to see you through the semester. As tempting as it may be to hop on the first bus to Urban Outfitters and treat yo’ self, it’s important to budget from the get-go so that you don’t find yourself -£1000 come December. So, here is a list of handy hints to help you save that sweet, sweet dollar and ensure that you enjoy your first term free of financial hardship.
1) Do not buy the Freshers wristband
The moment you arrive in halls you will become swept up in a whirl of friendly introductions and impromptu nights out. The deal of a £70-100 (minimum) wristband guaranteeing entry into the “biggest and best” events might seem tempting, but act with caution. More often than not these events become so overpopulated that you spend half your night queuing, only to discover that Jagerbombs are a fiver and the DJ is not much better than the one they hired for your Year 11 prom. A simple Google search will help you to find the best nights out in your new stomping ground- saving you time, money and a lot of disappointment.
2) Try free sports clubs before joining any societies
Sports societies are great fun, but they also come at great expense. With joining fees starting at around £20, signing up to tennis, basketball, rugby and football is just not plausible for your average Fresher. Most universities offer some form of free trial, or even free weekly fitness schedule, so do your research before becoming £100 less well off.
Clubs in a 5-mile radius of any uni are notorious for upping their prices during Freshers week. Whilst second and third years will be well aware of this fact by now, young and innocent Freshers may not. In this instance, pre-drinking is your new best friend. Often acknowledged as the best part of the night anyway, pre-drinks can cost as little as a tenner- the equivalent of two single vodka and cokes in your local clubbing hotspot and get you a decent buzz.
4) Get a bus pass (and save on Ubers)
Unless you’re a born and bred Londoner, chances are that your new uni city will be significantly larger than your hometown. This makes it very tempting to Uber your way here, there and everywhere- especially at 4am after a solid night of partying. In a drunken haze this might seem like a great idea, but you will absolutely regret this in the morning. Student bus passes are available nationwide and although they do require a large initial payment (about £200) they will save you a lot in the long run. Plus, buses to and from town will be filled with equally enthusiastic students looking for a good time, making the bus ride one of the highlights of student life.
5) Find the nearest Aldi/Lidl and avoid Sainbury’s like the plague
Let’s be clear- Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Co-op and Morrisons are a disaster zone for the student budget. Even the basics ranges are often marked up in highly populated student areas to entrap naïve Freshers in a web of overpriced comfort and convenience. However, fear not as there is never an Aldi, Lidl or Asda too far off the beaten track. The average weekly shop of a student can be as much as double the price when undertaken at Sainsbury’s versus Aldi. Shop smart and you’ll be thankful in the long run. Plus, pizzas and garlic bread are consistently less than a quid at Lidl meaning that you can invite all your new pals back after a night out and make friends by nourishing them with your culinary goods.
6) Don’t buy rounds in clubs
This may seem like a great way to prove to your new flatmates how fun-loving and carefree you are, but in reality, no one will remember you buying that round of ten Jagerbombs in the morning. Your bank balance, however, will. Being yourself is absolutely enough to make friends, so refrain from flaunting the cash and dazzle everyone with your killer dance moves instead.
7) Don’t spend loads of money on clothes before you go to uni
You will change more than you ever thought possible once you arrive at uni. The most obvious way will be through your style. All universities have a distinctive look, with the only guarantee being that it will be the total opposite of your hometown get-up. Therefore, splashing the cash on a fresh set of Freshers garms is pretty pointless as by day three you will want to incinerate 90% of your previous wardrobe. Instead, wait until you get to uni and then hit the vintage kilo sale and/or charity shop crawl and source your new wavy threads from these sources.