Graduate Blog

8 Things Not To Waste Your Money On At University


Being skint at university is inevitable. There will almost always come a time where you’ve overspent and are left eating beans on toast for a week. To stop this happening, sit down and read this before you ‘treat yourself’ for the eighteenth time this week.

Here are 8 things not to waste your money on at university:

1. Branded products
Brands are a luxury now. You’re going to have to get used to the idea that the Smart Price/Basics/Value ranges are your new best friends. So put down the Heinz ketchup and Fairy liquid and stock up on 30p pasta. You’ll need it.
EXCEPTION TO THE RULE: Shampoo and conditioner. Shampoo that costs less than a Freddo is never a good idea.
Are You Here To Solve My Ketchup Problem?

2. Takeaways and excess food
If your cupboards are full and you’ve got enough ready meals in your freezer to sink the Titanic, going out for lunch or ordering a Chinese because it’s ‘effort’ to stick a pizza in the oven is shameful! Not to mention incredibly unhealthy. Earlier this year students in the UK were actually diagnosed with scurvy due to a lack of fruit in their diet. Bet those grapes in the fridge are looking better than a Nandos now.
EXCEPTION TO THE RULE: Acceptable in moderation or on special occasions like dates or birthdays.

3. Nights out
Obviously as a student, you’ll have nights out. But going out every single night won’t benefit your liver or your wallet. Take advantage of cheap ‘student nights’ in clubs near you and only take out what you’re willing to spend – NOT your debit card! ATMs are almost seductively tempting once you’ve had a few.
EXCEPTION TO THE RULE: Fresher’s week. During this time, going out every single night is definitely acceptable.

Just when I started enjoying the weekend...
4. Fancy dress costumes
At Halloween, on student nights and at freshers week, you may need a fancy dress costume. But even if that Ann Summers outfit is to DIE for, and that hilarious Spongebob costume will be brilliant at the 90s night, you can’t justify £30-£40 on something you’ll wear once. Try sites like ebay or amazon, or even raid pound shops or local charity shops for cheap ideas.

EXCEPTION TO THE RULE: No exception here!
TGIF! Let's party!!

5. Full price travel
Many students will be attending a university far from home, and will therefore have to hop on a train or a coach to go home. NUS cards, National Express coachcards and the 16-25 Young Persons Railcard are ABSOLUTE MUSTS. Likewise, look at cheap buses or bus discounts where you go to uni to avoid crippling travel costs.
EXCEPTION TO THE RULE: Taxis home on a night out. You can’t put a price on getting home safely.

6. Heating

Yes, during winter it’s cold, especially for us poor students up North. But with gas/electricity companies putting up prices this year, central heating and portable radiators are yet another expensive luxury. Just put on a long-sleeved t-shirt. Then a jumper. Then a dressing gown. Maybe some fluffy socks… or just buy a onesie.
EXCEPTION TO THE RULE: If you can see your breath IN your house, permit yourself a timed heating allowance.
Central heating isn't on yet

7. Clothing

I think this is more of a girls issue but buying clothes at university, especially the day your loan comes in, is a real temptation. Plus there’s the pressure of not being seen in the same outfit twice (thanks Facebook). Avoid overspending by taking advantage of sales, student lockdowns, NUS discounts, and never underestimate eBay.
EXCEPTION TO THE RULE: None. Would you rather pay full price?
MFW I Go Clothes Shopping With My Mom

8. Home décor & appliances

Most students decorate their rooms at uni, and want to make their rooms their own. But instead of John Lewis or Cath Kidston, cheaper sites like Etsy, Amazon (and eBay…again) are great for cheap posters, bedding, rugs and fairy lights. Car boot sales and charity shops are also great resources for little things to brighten up your living space.
EXCEPTION TO THE RULE: It might be wiser to pay a little more with electrical appliances, in terms of safety and warranty. Our value kettle turned into an electric shock hazard… just a thought.
Almost struck by lightening

Faith Blumberger is a guest blogger at StudentVine. She’s a 21 year old literature student. A lover of writing, slave to social media and keen cosmetics enthusiast. “The pen might be mightier than the sword but I’d rather have a new lipstick than a new fountain pen.” You can follow her on Twitter at @faithhhX0X.
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StudentVine is an invaluable source of student and graduate advice. Powered by GradQuiz, we aim to help prepare prospective, current and past students for every facet of university and graduate life. Originally designed as a sister site for GradQuiz in 2013, and partnered with The Independent, StudentVine strives to tackle the key issues facing students and graduates in their push to develop their lives and careers.

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