The Price and Pride Of Manchester Student Life
When you’re a new student in Manchester, money is suddenly everything!
Especially when you’re 18 and fresh out of college, quite abruptly because of your student loan you find you have more money than you’ve ever had before in your whole life… and a lot more things to spend it on!
Now, some of these aren’t much of a choice. You’ll need to pay your tuition and you’ll need to pay your accommodation rent (and potentially bills if you’re in a student house with bills not inclusive) and, ultimately, you’ll kinda need to eat!
Now, whilst institutions around Manchester student life exist to help you with this, such as your Student Union, NUS and student bars, the truth is that after all of that, there’s still a lot of other things that will tug at your purse strings - and if you try and accommodate all of them, you can very quickly find yourself flat out broke and struggling.
For that reason, we’ve provided a quick breakdown guide of the different things you can expect to need to fork out for in your new life as a student… and how you can manage each of them to make savings and have as much in hand as you can for those memorable student nights.
Depending on your course, you can sometimes be in for a nasty shock when your tutor hands you the year’s reading list of material and you find there are 5 books on there and all of them go at £40 a pop new! That’s £200 already out of pocket and the semester’s barely even started!
Top Tips For Saving On Textbooks
Not every item placed on a reading list is necessary. Check with your tutor which materials you will most definately need and if there’s any you can skip over.
Check the student library and the main Manchester libraries for what materials you can loan. It’s helpful to own the core necessary materials but if you can loan the less important ones as and when you need them, it will save you a lot of money.
Enquire on the uni intranet and on ebay. Often, you may find previous students selling them at discounted rates from their study the year before.
Travel - particularly around a big city - can become a frequent and costly endeavour at university, especially as it’s usually difficult to buy, maintain and manage a car whilst on a student budget.
Top Tips For Saving On Travel
Take advantage of special student rates. Weekly, monthly or yearly travelcards are offered at a discount rate by suppliers like System One and when bought in bulk for a good period of time, can save you hundreds and hundreds of pounds.
Don’t allow your routes to become more expensive by using multiple forms of transport, unless your travelcard is one of the super-helpful kinds which covers trains, trams and buses.
Plan your routes in advance and understand the best and most cost effective methods to get where you need to go.
It goes without saying but - especially during Freshers’ Week - nightlife is the only life! We appreciate that and we’re never going to be the type of company who says “don’t go out” and “you’ll regret it”, because we know University is all about freedom.
That being said, our greater thought will always go towards your safety. Nightlife is a fantastic life when planned and considered properly. Enjoy yourself but always:
- Make sure you’re clear in your mind how you’re going to get home. If you don’t have a Designated Driver and you’re out past the end of the bus services, have a taxi number at hand - and make sure to spread the cost out amongst friends if you can.
- If you’re trying out new places, go with a big group of friends instead of just two of you.
- Be mindful, set some ground rules and stick to them. If you get that flutter of excitement of meeting someone you like on a night out, keep a level head, enjoy the flirt but remember you’ve just met this person. Don’t leave with them that night. Rather, exchange numbers and find each other on Facebook. Have a look to see how (s)he comes across when you’re sober and get the advice of your friends, who can always see things you can’t. Enjoy the excitement, but keep to your rules.
Top Tips For Saving On Nightlife
Keep to the student bars; especially during Freshers’ week these bars will offer the cheapest drinks. They’re called student bars for a reason - they’re the best places you can be.
Take advantage of the offers - student bars are always pumping out new offers to entice the crowds. Whether it’s Freshers, Hallowe’en or any weekly student night, capitalise on what’s out there.
Spread the cost! Your friends are there for a reason and it never hurts to lean on each other for a little nightly financial support when you need it - so long as you return it in kind of course!
Cooking & Food
Students can sometimes get a bit of a bad rep for being liberal with their cuisine, relying on ready meals, fast food and an assortment of canned food. However, this tends to be a very poor way of budgeting. To the point, integral parts of a meal such as rice, onions, tinned tomatoes, pasta, garlic, lettuce and so forth, cost next to nothing and can be used many times over.
Top Tips For Saving On Cooking & Food
Buy in bulk. You could buy 6 onions for just over a pound. You could buy a pack of rice or pasta for around the same. You can get many, many usages out of these and, especially when living in halls when your gas and electricity is paid for, cooking these, as opposed to things like ready meals will save you a tonne of money.
Take advantage of offers; this is a life skill you’ll use for the rest of your life. Recognise offers provided by supermarkets and convenience stores and find (or invent!) meals and recipes to suit the items on offer.
Buy produce from discount supermarkets. You will find the quality of food is far better than the stigmas that sometimes get attached to them and can ultimately save you so much money. Shop smart and selectively!
More Tips For Saving Those Precious Pennies and Pounds
1. Buy An NUS Extra Card
For only £12 a year, an NUS Extra card grants exclusive discounts with the likes of Amazon, Spotify, ASOS and a whole host of companies students often use, and can save you money every day.
2. Have A Sensible Mobile Phone Tariff
Whilst it might be tempting to own the latest pristine iPhone or Samsung Galaxy model on release, these deals can set you back £50 a month, as standard, if you have them on contract - which is a vanity expense you don’t need, particularly when you have to keep your expenses in check.
3. It’s The Thought That Counts With Gifts
One of the beauties of university life is that you can get to know a lot of really cool people in a really short space of time. One of the downsides of that, though, is that you have a heck of a lot of new people to gift for, during Christmas and the (endless!) birthdays. No matter what your friends end up doing, remember that the thought behind a gift is far more important than its monetary value. Trying to buy valuable gifts for everyone and keep up social appearances is a sure fire way to hit your bank balance!
4. Don’t Turn Away The Part-Time Student Job
It cans seem a little daunting, if you’re a student, to think you might need a job to help support yourself when you’re already knee-deep with your studies. However, student jobs are notoriously flexible in hours, allowing for you to fit them in as and when you can best do so. Get in touch with your student union, as they will post new jobs very frequently, that most of everyone can land, with a bit of enthusiasm and attention to detail.
5. Shop Around For Interest Free Overdraft Bank Accounts
Many banks offer interest free overdraft student accounts, and whilst it’s never a good idea to rely on your overdraft willy nilly, it’s a huge help to know that the cushion is there without charge if you ever need to make a one of payment. Just please beware, your overdraft is really there for emergencies and you shouldn’t be exhausting it in any way for the sake of another night out or a really expensive shopping spree.
6. Invest In Loyalty Cards
Loyalty cards are a good way to slowly accumulate money. Services such as Tesco, Nectar and Quidco effectively pay you to shop and it helps particularly when you invest a lot of your day-to-day funds at one particular haunt for shopping.
The temptation when you first become a student, with all the sudden freedom and adventure at your fingertips can be to blow out a tonne of steam and go all out Genghis Khan with your social life… and we’re far from saying don’t do this!
However, as a student you’ll find life hands you new responsibility on a plate. The difference between people who live a highly fruitful and fulfilled Uni life and those who are constantly stressed by the plague of bills they can’t pay and final notice letters is those who manage their money well.
Being at University is often the best time of your life and the institutions around Manchester are in place to ensure that is true! Following the advice on this list, you can take advantage of what’s already around you to ensure your time at any of Manchester’s universities is one you’ll cherish fondly for the remainder of your days.
Find the balance between fun and functionality. Between adventure and responsibility. Find your happy place between society, studies and security and you’ll soon see that life around you fits into place as the second chapter of your life begins.