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Thrifty Students

Money - Seeing the future

Many students are preparing for a new year at university or their first year. You have to look at student loans and money for course fees and living expenses if you’re a British student and even more if you’re an international student.  I’ve seen a lot of advice for students this week advising them to make use of overdrafts. I think student loans will be enough debt for most students.

I’ve been helping a international student this week and she needs her CAS uploaded to the UK Border Agency. The CAS is the confirmation for acceptance for studies. That is needed to get a VISA and then there are other things to sort out like accommodation. There is a choice of two halls of residence and also Victoria halls. There is comfort and price to be taken into consideration. The costs range from around 70 pounds to 83 pounds a week. Victoria halls seems nice, but it is the most expensive. It is worth looking at and available in a few British cities.

On arrival at the university, students can ‘hire’ bedding for the year or go out and buy bedding. Asda is close to the halls and so that is an option. Aldi are doing some special lines for students starting next week, including a bedding pack and so that is worth looking out for. Aldi has already done some lines for students. This coloured wok for 4.99 has been on offer and should still be available. I checked them out last week and they are  small, but quite thick steel.  I think they are ideal for one person and can be used to cook a wide range of meals. We think of the wok as only useful for stir fry, but you can cook other things in a wok, even home made soup.

You can also check out the food in Aldi if there is one close to your university. The fruit and vegetables tend to be cheaper and you can get eggs 15 for 1.25. We tend to eat too much protein, but eggs are a cheap source of protein.

Check out this recipe for egg fried rice on the BBC website. Buy eggs for less than 10p each, rice for 40p a kilo and garden peas for 99p a kilo and you can cook a lot of egg fried rice with that! You might be able to cook for a classmate and they cook for you on a different night?

You can also check out Asian shops and supermarkets. The one near where I live does potatoes 5 pounds for 25 kilograms, onions for as little as 20p a kilo and you can also get cheap rice. You can also get cheap beer, but as a student you can’t afford that! It is better to buy cheap beer to enjoy with your mates than go to a pub or club where it’s twice the price though.

You can also consider Giff Gaff as a option for your mobile phone. 10 pounds a month will get you 250 minutes, unlimited internet included and texts.

Many halls of residence have TV in each room, but to use it you need a TV licence. I regard this as a rip off, because most students go out a lot and study and so don’t have much time for TV. Students should at least be given a discount.

You will also need clothes, this is a problem for international students deciding what to bring to the UK. The weather changes so often! It was warm the other evening, warm enough to take a shower without heating; but at 3am I got out of bed to find a blanket. The sky had cleared and it was cold! The severe weather in the winter doesn’t usually last long, but we do have sub-zero temperatures and the dreaded white stuff – snow!

Some students after the first year will share a house or apartment, this can be expensive. You aren’t normally liable for council tax, but will have to pay utility bills (gas, electricity, water) and unlike the halls of residence there is no free internet or phone.

A money saving option for British students to consider is go to a local university and stay at home with mom and dad! There is also the option of doing a part time course, to save on fees, but it will take you longer to graduate.

Most international students can work up to 20 hours a week with a part time job. That will impact on studying for most students. If you have to have a part time job, then try to use your knowledge or skills; gain experience that will be useful in the future.

Think of all the little things you might need at university, needle and cotton, wellies for when it snows, medicines for if you aren’t well, either take something with you to cope with those eventualities or have a plan to buy what you need.

If you’re a student and you have a idea for students to save money or make money, please use the comment box. I have had problems with the comment box, but it should work right now! Good luck to everyone starting their studies next month! Check out the home page for more amazing blogs. If you are studying English or journalism and want experience writing for a website like this, my email address is in the side bar!

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  1. Pingback: Thrifty Thursday | student bargains « Mike10613's Blog

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