With results day fast approaching, thousands of 18 year olds will be off to University in September. For the majority, it will be the first time being completely independent and living away from home. Pretty daunting stuff, but here are some top tips to remember when moving away.
1. Know your limits
This is for budgeting and also the notorious student lifestyle of drinking. Prior to starting at University you will probably have been accepted Student Finance and so can sit down and work out a realistic budget. Take into consideration food, nights out, laundry, other expenses such as bills (most Halls of Residence have these included in accommodation costs but double check) or travel such as buses to and from university.
If you haven’t done it before, sit down with a parent or friend and create an excel document as your budget. To start with, you won’t always get it right but make sure you update and adjust it accordingly.
2. Get a hobby
Being away at University and not knowing anyone can be daunting. But during the first week there are always plenty of activities to get involved in, for example fresher’s fair. This is where all societies get together to showcase and recruit new members, a great opportunity to get involved in a passion whether that be in sports like yoga or climbing, or other interests and passions such as debating, vegetarianism or even political parties there is always something for everyone.
A hobby can include a part time job. Student lifestyle can be difficult on a budget, so this is a great way of making new friends and earning a bit of extra pocket money on the side! Everyone knows how sparse university timetabling can be sometimes so you can find yourself twiddling your thumbs a lot and earning a few pennies is a great way to spend the time.
3. Learn to cook
Cooking for one doesn’t need to be expensive especially if you learn to shop in season! Yes, of course strawberries are expensive in December and that’s nothing to grumble about, buy them when UK strawberries are in season, or buy frozen ones.
Going to shops in the evening and having a look at the ‘Reduced’ section is always a winner, usually the best before dates are soon but if you plan to eat them the next day or freeze things – they’re good to go.
Plan your meals in advance too, if you know you’re in lectures all day then you will want to take along some lunch. By preparing it at home, not only are you saving some money but also your waistline and prevent you popping to the nearest McDonalds! Meals from scratch with simple ingredients is a better alternative price and nutrition wise to branded pre-packaged alternatives. Purchase yourself some Tupperware, so if you cook too much, you can always freeze it or save it for leftovers for lunch the next day.