Students heading to university in the U.K. should plan to pay as much as £9,250 a year for tuition alone. That doesn’t account for all of the other expenses, including rent, meals and schoolbooks. Even if you have scholarships or bursaries, you’ll likely want to keep your living costs as low as possible. To save money while in uni, the first step is to outline a plan that will help you keep food and accommodation costs low.
As a student, you’ll get discounts not available to others. Your first step should be to purchase a National Union of Students card, which grants you discounts on food, student union tickets, travel and more. You can purchase one-, two- or three-year cards, with prices starting at £12. UniDAYS also offers student discounts on services like Grubhub and Postmates, as well as at retailers like Apple, Samsung and Adidas. Another service to consider is StudentBeans, which offers substantial discounts with numerous major retailers.
Live on Campus
Many universities offer on-campus living to first-year students. In some situations, these halls include catered meals, which is a great option if you’re trying to determine how to save money on food in university. Halls and houses generally offer accommodations at lower prices than you’d pay for an off-campus flat but in most cases, this is possible only for your first year. During that time, though, you’ll hopefully be able to find flatmates to help with the cost of rent.
Buy Used Textbooks
As you search your budget to determine how to save money in college, don’t forget about the cost of textbooks. Each class will likely assign at least one book for you to buy, and many are conveniently located in the university bookstore. Before you shop, however, consider searching used bookstores, either online or locally, for the books you need. If you have a friend taking a class you know you’ll take the next semester, offer to purchase the book once your friend is finished with it.
Use Campus Amenities
As a student, you will have access to benefits specific to your university. At Oxford, for instance, students can set up a website, purchase discounted software and take free classes through Lynda.com. Your campus may have fitness facilities or tennis courts that can provide hours of entertainment. Instead of paying for a night out at the cinema, consider taking advantage of your university’s theatre performances. You’ll support your fellow students while also enjoying a student discount on tickets.