Moving away to university is the first time that many will be fully in control of their own finances. Whilst it may be tempting to blow a full years allowance on a huge shopping spree and fancy clothes, it is important to budget and plan for future months.
The first few weeks of university life will be filled with a variety of alcohol fuelled parties, nights out and social events. Although it may seem that you have lots of spare cash to throw around, there are other, more important things that need to be accounted for. Of course a few nights out here and there are acceptable but a certain amount of planning is required to prevent you from eating left over dinner and pot noodles every day of the term.
Essentially, a student will need to arrange and pay for three things to ensure that they are well prepared for their year of study ahead:
Accommodation and Rent
Choosing where you will live during the course of your study should not be a decision that is taken lightly. The majority of universities and colleges will provide a variety of accommodation for students, including halls, private rented homes and house shares. The standard of property will be reflected in the price. Whilst Wi-Fi, en-suite bathrooms and on site gyms are all ideal, they may not be practical.
Shared accommodation remains the cheapest option for students. Additionally, those properties situated off campus generally tend to be much cheaper. Before making a decision, weigh up the pros and cons of each place that you view, both financially and personally, to ensure that the accommodation is right for you.
Buying necessary learning materials
Whilst at university you will be required to purchase a number of books, journals and learning tools to help you with your studies. This can take up a large chunk of your student loan. Browsing online retailers for offers on second hand books and software for pupils is a great way to save money on much needed study material. Many student stores offer significant discounts to students on products such as Office University 2010 and Office Home and Student 2010.
One aspect of student life that is often forgotten about is the amount of travelling that is required. Those who decide to travel home at the weekends will find themselves faced with huge train fares and expenses. Rail cards and passes for buses can be purchased which provide students with significant discounts on their travel. However, it is still highly advisable to plan and book journeys well in advance to take full advantage of the cheap fares available.
Getting to and from lectures can also be an issue, especially for those who are situated off campus. However, one way to save on travel expenses is to invest in a bicycle or enquire with fellow students about car sharing schemes.
Your time at university should be remembered as a happy and enjoyable part of your life. Make sure that you aren’t one of the few that are only faced with extreme debt afterwards.