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Budgeting for Welcome Week

Have a Feezible Fresherz

Welcome Week is such an exciting time for students; a new city, new freedoms and an exciting experience to make the most of! However, the Freshers period is often a time when a lot of students will splash the cash, meaning this exciting time can become quite expensive. For a lot of new students, it's hard to know how much you should budget, what sort of costs you might find and how to plan ahead.  I'm Lauren, your Welfare and Community Officer, and I've put this quick guide together to help plan your budget for Welcome Week so that you can have a Feezible Fresherz.

Receiving your student loan

Normally when you start university, you'll receive your student loan within the first few days. As tempting as it might be to buy everything in sight, it's important to remember that the amount you receive has to last you for the whole term. During Freshers, it's wise to set yourself a budget for the first week or so and try and stick to it as best you can. You don’t have to work out every little thing you've purchased, but having an idea of how much you've spent so far and how much you have left can easily help you work out the costs. Budgeting and being money-smart will mean you'll have more in your bank account to last you until your next student loan comes in.

What can it cost?

When it comes to the costs during Freshers, this all depends on various things; the area you're living in, the places you go and obviously, the things you purchase. During this time, most students tend to spend their money on similar things such as drinks, taxis, takeaways and food shops. Below is a table of the typical costs which students will most likely spend their money on during Freshers.

 

Item One-Off Every night
Fresher's Events/Club entry £4.70 £33
Pre-Drinks £6.30 £44.10
5 Double Vodka Mixers (UK Average) £20.70 £114.90
Taxi Share £2 pp £28 (both ways)
Takeaway £5 £35
Food Shop £28 -
Fancy Dress £16 £112
Gym (Offers Available) £160 (per annum) -
Total - £555
*The costs above are based on estimated UK averages

 

How to save money during Freshers

Looking at the table above, it's clear that the costs can soon add up if you're going out every night, using taxis and buying takeaways. However, there are many ways you can save those pennies which doesn't involve not participating in Freshers…

Make use of student discount

Wherever you go, especially during Freshers, find out if you can get student discount. Most of the time this involves simply showing your university student card, however you can also sign up to the UNiDAYS app or apply for a Totum student discount card. It might only be a small discount that you can get but in the long-term, you'll probably end up saving quite a lot if you use student discount everywhere you can.

Avoid expensive supermarkets

Sometimes food products, toiletries and home essentials which are stocked at well-known supermarkets can be fairly pricey without us even realising. For food cupboard items such as tins of baked beans, tuna, packets of pasta, biscuits etc, toiletries and household items, a lot of home bargain stores and smaller supermarkets stock these things for a small price. If you do visit a big supermarket for your weekly food shop, you may want to consider the supermarket's own branded products for a cheaper option. For fresh fruit, veg and meat, try heading to the market as the price also tends to be fairly cheap.

Don't use card on a night out

It may seem easy to just take your card on a night out or use Apple Pay or Google Pay, but by doing this you can't really keep track of how much money you've spent. Taking out cash is the best option so that you know exactly how much you went out with and how much you're bringing home (if you have any cash left!) This way, you won't have to avoid looking at your bank statement the next day.

Get some freebies

Take advantage of the freebies you'll be offered as a student and get your hands on a load of freebies! The Students' Union will be holding the annual Freebie Fair on Tuesday 1 October at The HUBS, where you can bag yourself some amazing goodies from local businesses and national brands. Some of our previous guests have included Spotify, Amazon and Domino's Pizza, so make sure you don't miss out!

Split the costs and share with your mates

If you're heading on a night out for Freshers, try going halves with your mates on pre drinks and share what you buy between you. You can also try doing this with food shops as it works out cheaper than buying for yourself. Also if you can, get a big group together to share a taxi on a night out as this will cost a minimal amount for everyone if there's a few of you.

Check out some of these useful resources that may help you when it comes to budgeting at university:

SHSU Budgeting Planner

University Budgeting Guidance

Student-friendly Recipes

 

Remember: Self-Care is Free!