Freshers: Here's how to spend less during your first year of uni

save money during fresher's

First year can be expensive, but not if you do it this way!

Moving away from home can be a big and very expensive life change. But don't worry, it doesn't have to be. Here are 11 money-saving tips to help you keep costs down.

1. Make a budget

Use a tool like Student Calculator to get an idea of how much money is going to be coming in and going out of your bank account. Being prepared will help you avoid any overspending.

If you want a little more assistance, then you can read our article about the best apps for managing your money.

2. Stick to your budget

Don’t buy a coffee from Costa every day just because it’s convenient. Stay strong.

3. ALWAYS ask for a discount

You’ll be eligible for a lot of pre-arranged student discounts if you buy an NUS Extra card. Sometimes it’s hard to tell which shops offer discount, but it can't hurt to ask - a lot of places will offer a discount if you simply provide your student ID. If you’re shopping online, then use to receive student discounts.

4. Don't buy a TV license

You can watch on-demand platforms (like 4oD or Netflix) without having to pay for a TV licence. However, you do have to pay if you plan on watching live TV or using iPlayer.

Remember that TV licences are per household, so if you're in a shared house and one person is watching live TV then you will need a license for the entire house. 

You can read our article on whether or not you need a TV licence at uni if you're still unsure.

5. Buy used books

Try to assess how often you're going to need any books before you commit to buying them. There's no point in buying an entire book if you only need to read one chapter - you could just borrow it from the library.

If you absolutely need to buy a book then it's probably best to just buy a used copy online. This could save you hundreds of pounds over the duration of your course.

6. Sell your old books

Once you’ve finished reading your books (if you bought any), you could then free up some extra cash by selling them online.

7. Buy a printer

Despite the initial price tag, buying your own printer can actually save you a lot of money in the long run. If you’re printing more than 1,000 pages a year then a laser printer will probably be more economical than an inkjet. You can pick up a cheap laser printer for about £40.

However, most universities give you free printing credit at the beginning of the academic year. You should make the most of this before you buy a printer!

8. Never pay for condoms

You can pick them up for free from NHS sexual health clinics and some students’ unions. Find your nearest sexual health clinic here.

Shop off-brand

9. Don't waste food

It's useful to know the difference between use by, sell by and best before dates. You should also plan your meals in advance to make the most out of your food and stretch your budget as far as you possibly can.

10. Download free software

It can be tempting to spend money on a lot of apps if you've just bought a new laptop for uni, but this could end up costing you hundreds of pounds. Instead, check out our guide to the essential free software for students.

11. Shop off-brand

It's ridiculous how much money you can save by just shopping at discount supermarkets like Aldi and Lidl. But keep an eye out for 'value' or 'basics' ranges if your accommodation is closer to a more expensive supermarket.

Do you have any other money-saving tips? Let us know in the comments below.

Related on TSR

Not sure what to pack for uni? Take a look at our list of unknown essentials

Struggling to organise your funds? Check out our guide to student bank accounts

Find out everything you need to know about Freshers Week


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