When preparing to begin your studies in the UK, there’s one thing you may particularly be worrying about: it is expensive. Not only are you facing astronomical tuition fees, but high rents in some areas and the costs of living and socialising are all concerns when you’d rather be enjoying the amazing experience of studying abroad. Luckily, there are countless ways of saving money on everything from course-books to meals out and travelling. This useful guide will help you cut costs and reduce your student debt, without forcing you to compromise and live on beans on toast - the poor student’s staple diet! - throughout your studies.
One of the best things about studying in the UK is that you can easily hop on a train and visit towns and cities throughout the country. It’s an inexpensive way of seeing new places and collecting experiences, especially if you sign up for a 16-25 Railcard. It’s easy to get hold of one, and takes 1/3 off the price of al rail tickets. You can save even more by planning trips in advance as the tickets are cheaper, and consider splitting your ticket (buying separate tickets for each leg of your journey, instead of one for the whole trip). Enter your planned trip onto SplitTicketing.co.uk to see if you can make it cheaper.
Coaches are also an excellent and often much cheaper way of getting about, although it takes much longer than the train. National Express run regular services between cities and airports from as little as £5, and can also take you to major events such as Glastonbury and Download. Their sister company, Eurolines, offers affordable travel to over 600 destinations across Europe - so there’s no excuse not to explore while you can! If you have an NUS Extra card you can score 25% off National Express tickets and 20% off at Eurolines.
You may be looking at your booklist with despair, wondering how you can afford all those books when you may not even be able to take them home with you once you’re done with them. First of all - you may not need to purchase each one. Find out from the university library which books they have (and how many copies, in case your course mates take them all first!), and find the rest at second-hand book sales and swaps on campus, book-selling pages and groups on Facebook, and on websites such as alibris.co.uk and AbeBooks.co.uk. Amazon.co.uk often sells secondhand books at reasonable prices. At the end of the academic year, sell your books at campus sales and on social media groups, pop them on eBay or sell them on the Amazon Marketplace (though this last option doesn’t usually make you much money back).
It’s not all fish and chips and stodgy pies - we Brits love our food and there are so many exciting cuisines to explore while you’re here. Many restaurants, especially chains, offer discounts to students, so keep your student card on you at all times and don’t be shy about asking before you order!
Websites aimed at students, such as Student Money Saver, have pages dedicated to food & drink, as well as entertainment, shopping, travel and more, updated daily with the latest offers and discounts.
Chilling out with friends at home is probably the least expensive way to socialise - you can cook up a feast together, buy in some drinks instead of spending at the pub, and put some good music, a DVD or the TV on. There are budget recipes online or loads of student cookbooks, and shopping for your food together and all pitching in for the drinks makes the night much cheaper 9there may even be leftovers for tomorrow!).
If you do all want to go out, you can use the advice in the last tip for a cheaper meal at a restaurant, or how about a cinema trip? Use your student card to get discounted tickets, and find out whether your local cinema offers even cheaper deals during weekdays and on earlier screenings - most chain cinemas including Vue, Cineworld and Odeon do this.
Getting creative and looking for ways you can save will ease the financial impact of studying in the UK. Student discounts, a railcard and buying things secondhand, with the other tips in this article, will all add up so you can concentrate on studying well and having fun.
More information on study in the UK.