Freshers on a student budget: How to have the most fun, even when your bank account says otherwise

Freshers Week 2022 is coming up and we’re absolutely buzzing, we bet you are too!

If you’re worrying about spending too much money during this busy period, then don’t stress, we’re here to help you with your student budget! Within this guide we’ll be discussing how you can have a good time even when your bank account says otherwise.

Trust us, you don’t need tons of money to make good memories, there’s plenty of free or cheaper options available so you don’t blow your student loan in the first few weeks.

Carry on reading for some tricks and hacks to help your student budgeting…

Student budget freshers

1. Plan Your Spends

Freshers’ week is an exciting time where you just want to have as much fun as possible and make the most of the amount of money that’s in your student bank account.

However, your student loan is divided into three instalments each term, so it’s important to plan your money week by week with how much student loan you can spend each week and stick to it.

It’s quite easily done to blow your month’s budget in one week from going out during freshers. If you know you’re going to be reckless at spending, then create a spending plan and write it down or download budgeting apps like Monzo or Squirrel Money.

You don’t want to end up having no money for the rest of term. You will find planning ahead and having an idea of your essential expenses will help you out in the long term!

That being said, you definitely do not need tons of money to have a good time during freshers. If your bank account isn’t looking great after planning all of your outgoings like food costs and travel costs then that’s okay, there’s plenty of ways you can still have fun!

Planning your spends

2. Go To Free Events

During fresher’s week don’t buy tickets to every single event that’s advertised and try to avoid buying the freshers’ wristbands, as chances are you won’t even end up going to them and you will have spent the money on entry fees.

There are free events to make the most of too, so you don’t have to buy a ticket and instead just have to buy your drinks! You definitely don’t have to buy too many drinks in clubs or bars either, if you pre-drink beforehand.

You can even go to your campuses student’s union for a cheaper night out, check out our blog on simple hacks to going out here.

Free events

3. Have A Flat Party

Nights-out during freshers’ week can be expensive, so why not opt for a party in your student accommodation instead?

Whether it’s hosting a party in your flat or seeing what other flats in your accommodation have planned, we’re sure it’ll be super fun and you only have to spend money on drinks.

Club nights and events can be great, but it can be hard to get to know people and talk when the music is booming and there’s so many people.

So, sometimes this alternative is better for not only your bank account but for making close friendships!

Flat party

4. Cook With Your Flatmates

We know it’s tempting to turn down a takeaway or a meal out with your new besties, but all of these food costs will add up and before you know it, you’ve spent half your weekly budget on UberEATS or JustEat! The money left from not buying a takeaway or a meal out can be used to spend on other things.

You can suggest a cooking night with your flatmates and show them some home cooked recipes and vice versa, this will be a great bonding session and chances are, much cheaper than ordering a takeaway or going for a meal.

It’s especially cheaper if you head to Aldi or Lidl to buy your cooking bits, you can even split some groceries or cupboard essentials with your flatmates.

If there’s any leftovers, save them for a meal for another day!

Cooking with flatmates

4. Pick Up Freebies

There will be lots of freebies handed out during freshers’ week which you should pick up. Each university goodies are different and can range from the likes of free dominos to mugs to stationery to toiletries to USB sticks, the list is endless!

It’s not just freshers fair’s that have free goodies available either, many places offer some free items for students whether its free entry cards to nightclubs or a free drink or side in a restaurant!

It’s worth seeing what you can pick up as you never know they may come in handy at a later date, or if you get food, you’ll save money and who doesn’t love free pizza?!

Just make sure to bring along your student ID so you can get all the good stuff.


5. Make The Most Of Discounts & Deals

Sign up to discount student sites like UNiDAYS where you can receive thousands of student offers on a daily basis both for online and in-store. Currently, there’s a 6-month free student prime deal on so check it out!

Student Beans is another free app with over 10,000 discounts, deals and competitions for students.

You can also sign up for a TOTUM card for £14.99 for the year or get a free digital pass, there’s tons of different discounts for each so it’s worth having a look what money you can get off and what deals you can use!

These apps aren’t just to use during fresher’s week, but they’re super helpful for when you’re going out and about. Whether it’s going for some food or looking for an outfit for your next social gathering, it’s worth discovering the best deals to get all the money off with your student status.

Student discount and deals

6. Visit Free Attractions

If you’re keen to visit attractions and places within your uni city or town, then opt for the free places like museums and galleries that don’t have an entry fee.

You can go on a sightseeing day with your new pals without spending a penny, especially if your student accommodation is in the city centre you can just stroll to these places from your doorstep!

Some attractions may even offer a student ticket so you can get a reduced ticket price, it’s worth mentioning you’re a student to see.

Remember, you don’t need to break the bank to explore your new home, you can explore green spaces or search for places that are free to visit.

Visit free attractions

7. Use The Cheapest Transport

A great hack to saving money during freshers is by using the cheapest public transport options, rather than getting an Uber or Taxi out and about, opt for the bus or train instead.

Buying a railcard is a good idea, you can spend up to a third on train costs and its super helpful if you’re going to be travelling home or visiting your friends in other cities or towns. It’s £30 for the year which works out as £2.50 per month, its nothing really is it?!

Some student bank accounts like Santander offer a free 16-25 railcard when you sign up with them, which is just amazing and will mean you’ll save some extra cash on train journeys!

Public transport

8. Earn Extra Income

As much as you may not want to get a part-time job during the first few weeks or months of uni, if you have the time, it can be a good idea to earn some spare cash for your student budget.

There may be jobs available at your university within the student union whether its working at your campus bar or shop, so it’s worth checking on your university’s website to see what positions are available.

You can speak to the SU about your availability and for example if you worked two shifts a week, you’ll still have plenty of time to have fun! Getting a campus job is also a great way to meet people at uni, as they’ll be plenty of people in the same boat as you.

There are tons of casual work available for students who want to earn extra income like nightclub ambassadors and representatives, it’s worth searching about to see what’s available.

Earn extra income

9. Research Bursaries

University students can apply for money directly from their university as well as receiving student finance and you don’t have to pay this money back.

Even if you don’t think you’ll qualify for any bursaries at your university, it’s worth checking out anyway as they can be super helpful for your finances and student budget.

Most universities have different bursaries, scholarships and awards available, and the criteria can vary, so do your research and see if there’s any you can apply for!

University bursaries

10. Spend Time In Your Accommodation

You don’t have to go out and about during fresher’s week, you can have just as much fun chilling and having a games night with your flatmates – monopoly time!

You can even head to the social spaces within your student accommodation and meet people who are living in the same building as you.

Within some of our properties we have games rooms so you can show off your skills! Even just sitting outside in your accommodation courtyard or outdoor space can be a good way to have fun and meet other students, without spending lots of your student budget.

Spending time in student accommodation

As we’ve discussed, you don’t need loads of dolla’ to have a fab fresher’s week so, follow these 10 tricks and hacks to freshers on a student budget. There’s still loads of things you can get up to and meet new people. Money doesn’t buy happiness after all guys!

If you do find yourself struggling with money during the first few weeks of uni, then speak to your university and Students’ Union who will have advisors to help you with financial support.

Find your new home with us at Universal Student Living, check out our student accommodation properties today.

Read next: 10 Daily Success Habits To Adopt At Uni And Become Your Best Self.

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