How To Have Fun On A Fresher's Budget

The first year at university or college can often be expensive. Here is how to have the time of your life while still watching your finances.
Cheaper Travel
You can make savings on your train travel by buying in advance online or making sure you get a return as two singles are often more expensive.
Be savvy and get a 16-25’s railcard and you could be saving a third off all your train fares.
If you drive a car, make sure your car insurance is up to date and covers you being away at university or college. Shop around for the best deal.
What excess fees would you have to pay if you have an accident? It’s best to check your car insurance before you leave. It doesn’t take long.
A great way to save on petrol costs is to see if there is anyone else you know in college or university who needs a ride in the same direction and who would be willing to share rides with you.
If you drive one week and they drive the next, you can end up using only half the amount of petrol in a year than you originally would have.
Bank Accounts and Bursary
See if you are eligible for a bursary. Many universities offer a bursary scheme for those on a lower income.
Don’t be drawn in by all the goodies that banks offer for student bank accounts.
Instead, look for things like interest free borrowing or those that charge less if you go into an unplanned overdraft.
Try to make sure you pay your bills regularly and on time and budget them into your everyday spending.
After the bills are paid, what else can you afford?
If you find you are more stretched than usual you may be able to get some free advice from your college or university on how to budget better.
Be creative in your savings
Did you know, you could claim back one quarter of your TV licence for the 3 summer months that most students are not in their accommodation?
If you love your stuff, then join free-cycle or have a student swaps event set up, where you can swap clothes or other items.
Buy used textbooks or borrow them from the university or college library for free. If you do get them from the library you may be able to get them on a longer loan.
If a long loan is not possible, then you may have to simply keep renewing them.
Just remember to write the renewal dates in your dairy and not start adding up fines instead.
Pool your food money together and have a shared meal with your college or uni mates.
You can decide what you want together and you can take turns to volunteer to cook the meal and buy the food from a discount food shop.
Party on discount nights at local pubs or bars and join groups or uni held functions that offer free refreshments afterwards.
Be a savvy saver and still have fun. Remember most of your fellow students are in the same situation,
so get together, join as many clubs as you can and have a laugh.

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Reed Rickman writes on a number of finance related topics for a digital marketing agency.