- Find a job
I know you'll probably hear this over and over again from your parents before you leave home, but it is so true. It's all well and good having student finance and thinking you have all the money in the world, but trust me when I say that it will not tide you over for three months. In the UK it may be hard to find a job, but there are still plenty out there if you look hard enough! Websites such as Student Beans and Universal Jobmatch are great for part time job searches whilst you are studying. Big fast food companies such as McDonald's and Subway are also brilliant to work for. Not only are they flexible with hours and pay regularly..you also get free food. Bonus!
- Supermarket own brands are your friend
Being a snob when it comes to brands of food whilst at uni is going to get you no where. Most of the time, you will notice that cheaper brands of the same products are very similar to the expensive version. Why waste your money? Things like dilute juice, bread, milk, ready meals and cleaning products work exactly the same but are cheaper. Better still, if you use price comparison sites such as My Supermarket, you will find which supermarket has the cheaper priced value products. It just makes sense.
- Take advantage of student nights out
Most students like to party in their first year of uni, it's pretty much a well known fact. A combination of new found freedom and student finance is bound to end in boozy madness. However, whilst on a night out, it may be useful to be aware of all the drinks offers at the clubs and pubs you might visit. Take a look on their website to see if they have any student deals on, or even ask the bar staff themselves what sort of deals are on, as they may change on different nights. As mentioned in my previous post, it's definitely worth checking out which night of the week is student night. It'll save you a bunch of cash and you'll find that loads of other students will be out too!
- Attend lectures
I can't stress enough how important it is to attend your lectures. I went through a stage where I didn't think it was that important to attend lectures and I can find the information out online. How wrong was I! I ended up missing out on so much useful information that I really needed for one of my coursework pieces, and I had to beg a fellow class mate for the information that I had missed. It doesn't make you very popular and it isn't great for your grades. Even if you're on deaths door with the worlds worst hangover, it is so important to drag yourself out of your pit and just go!
- Make friends with your house mates
9 times out out of 10, your accommodation for your first year at uni will be spent in student halls of residence. For me, this was one of the best bits about going to uni! Meeting new people and enjoying the university experience together is lovely, and it's made even better if you've made some great mates out of it too. Luckily for me, I became very close to 2 girls who I lived with in my first year. We got on so well that all three of us are living somewhere new together next year - I can't wait! Not only will making friends make you happier in general, but it is also very useful. When I'd forgotten to buy milk for my morning brew, it was so useful to be able to ask a good friend to lend a splash of theirs. Of course, don't make a habit of borrowing things and make sure you return the favour, if not you will probably lose friends very quickly. Another thing - don't force friendship. It'll either happen or it won't. If you try desperately to become best friends with someone in a small space of time, you'll either scare the living daylights out of them or be thought of as a high class weirdo. Nobody wants that.
- Be money savvy
It is so easy to get carried away and spend all of your student finance in the first few weeks leaving you skint with no access to cash (unless you have very generous parents). There are a few easy solutions to stop you from over spending. As already mentioned, cheaper grocery brands and getting a job are almost compulsory. Another tip is to plan ahead. With everything. I know it sounds like more hassle then it's worth, but trust me it helps. For example, if you're planning a night out with your friends, make sure that you withdraw your cash first and leave your bank card at home. (It is also wise to make sure you have emergency taxi cash too, this doesn't mean you have to spend it on extra booze). I've found that on a typical student night out, £20 is more than enough to cover entry fees to my favourite clubs, and a few cheeky drinks to get me merry with my friends. Planning meals for a few days ahead or even up to a week can really help save cash too. When you do your supermarket shop, have a list or an idea in your head of what sort of meals you'll be cooking. Multi purpose ingredients are also very useful. For example, a own brand carton of passata can be used for spag bol one night, and a chilli con carne the next. See? Simples.
Hope these tips have helped you! They certainly helped me, even though most of them took a while to click. Post below any tips you guys might have!
Ciao for now .x.