Fresher’s Guide: Part 2
Welcome to the next part, our Fresher’s Guide: Part 2! In the first part we spoke about going out, staying safe and how budgeting will be a lifejacket throughout university and help you survive with your student loans! In the Fresher’s Guide: Part 2, we’re discussing food, money saving tips, reading lists and Fresher Fairs!
Food for thought
It can be really hard to establish what is considered communal or personal when you move into Halls. Even if you’re new housemates seem wonderful, in three months time they could be stealing your milk! We advise not going ‘all in’ on essentials, meaning don’t split the bill for household essentials as you could be paying for something that you never use! In Halls, you will have your own room, and if lucky, your own bathroom- so it won’t be worth it! Buy in bulk, and only essentials that you need. Don’t buy 4 pints of milk if you only have one cup of tea a day – it will spoil and turn into a waste of money.
Avoid going shopping when you are hungry, because you’ll find yourself buying unhealthy food, or too much which you won’t get through! Try to go for dry goods, canned food and tins – stuff that have a really long shelf life and can stay in your cupboard all year! Own brands, like, Asda, Tesco and Aldi are suitable enough; you don’t need to travel to Waitrose to buy something decent!
Some universities have market stalls, if you don’t still visit your local town market for fresh goods each week, because these will most likely be cheaper than supermarkets. If you don’t share with your housemates, invest in tupperware so you can cook meals and freeze them for later on in the week, making cooking and eating easier. Ready meals and fast food seem easier but they actually cost a lot more than making it yourself, and they’re not good for your health!
Christmas , birthdays and public holidays are expensive so include a ‘recreational or leisure’ section your budget planner, so when these times have arrived you have put money aside to still have a great time but not dip into your bills or food budget! Saving a few pound a week will accumulate to great amounts throughout the year, and make holidays a much better time!
Watch out what you spend your money on, electric or gas heaters can rake up a lot of cash that you don’t have! Don’t leave the lights, or certain appliances on at all times especially if you hardly use them! Think before you use something – do you really need to dry your clothes in the tumble dryer, or can they dry naturally?
Look for cheaper versions of the decent brands because you don’t have to limit yourself on everything! You can get toiletries and bulk from pound shops or on offer. If you buy when there are offers, or look around, you will save yourself a lot of money in the long run!
The written word
Every student bought all of the books on their reading list – said no one ever! You won’t need every single book off of your reading list. Wait until you get to university before spending so much money on textbooks that will only end up being door stoppers! Check out your university library when you get there, because you can probably get them from there, or look at secondhand websites such as Amazon, eBay and Gumtree. You can end up saving yourself 75%, and textbooks are pricey!
When you are buying your books online or secondhand, just make sure they are the right version! Textbooks will have certain version, editions, writers, editors and covers! Don’t jump straight into buying them without ensuring they’re the right copy! When you have finished a module and feel safe in knowing you’ll never ever use the book again, sell them online and get some money back!
To fair or not to Fair?
The Fresher’s Fair/Fayre will be full of societies, events and tickets and have so much information about where you should go and where to spend your time. Sign up to lots of societies and activities, because you’ll never know what one will tickle your fancy! You can try out a few sessions and pick the one(s) that appeal to you most!
When you see second or third year students during these fairs ask them questions about anything! They have been there before you, so if you unsure where to go on a night out, or don’t understand how signing up fees work – ask! University will be one of the best times to try something new especially with what they have to offer, you can try a new hobby, sport or wacky society that catches your eye.
Arrive early, and unpack whilst keeping your door open and try to say hello to everyone that you walk past – this is the hardest bit meeting new people! Getting there early will help you sort out the essentials, like your bed and toiletries and a few sets of clothes, because you’ll be busy with Freshers’ such as going out and attending events!
Home sweet home
Look out for new people who are doing the same course or lessons as you, especially during induction lessons. Exchange numbers or add them on FB and Twitter, so you can arrange to go to the first few lectures together.
Personalise your room with pictures and sentimental keepsakes from home, so if you do need to seek refuge or are feeling homesick, you have somewhere to go that feels familiar. Set up weekly Skype sessions with your friends and family from home because talking about all the new things you are going through will help during Freshers’ week and the next few weeks of term.