Managing your money at university

It’s September, you arrive in a new university town full of parties and freedom and you’ve got hundreds or thousands of pounds of student loan in your bank account. Are you tempted to go on a luxury shopping spree, followed by cocktails and a slap up meal? Why stop there? Splash out on an Xbox or a new phone and join the swankiest gym in town.

Fast forward to November… you’re living off a diet of value pasta and tinned tomatoes, you’re involuntarily teetotal, student nights are spent in your bedroom trawling through Netflix trying to find something you haven’t watched yet. You’re lonely, hungry and you can’t afford a new winter coat so leaving the house is an arctic experience.

If only you’d gone for 2 for 1 cocktail student nights and bought two new dresses instead of sixteen full-on outfits.

I know it might seem boring, but planning your spending at university in advance can really help you avoid a financial black hole half way through the term.

We’ve put together a few tips for managing your money at university.

Eat cheap

Whether you’re partial to kale or a kebab, your food shop doesn’t need to be expensive. There are lots of budget supermarkets around where you can do a weekly shop for under £20. Find your nearest Lidl, Aldi or Asda and buy fresh food rather than prepared food to make your pennies go further. Searching for recipes on a budget online will give you plenty of ideas for tasty and cheap meals like curries and bolognaise – they’re often on supermarket websites. Look out for deals and own brand cheaper versions of the same product.

Try not to lose stuff

We know it’s not always easy to keep all your belongings together, especially when you’re sharing a house and studying in different locations and campuses. But each time you lose a thing, you have to replace that thing, which usually costs money. Whether it be a jumper, bag or something more valuable like your wallet or your over 18 ID, this is cash down the drain. If you have cheaper versions of the item in first place though, it’s not so bad. For example using your passport for over 18 (and losing it) would cost you around £80 to replace. A PASS ID card like My ID Card is official over 18 ID and only costs £15 to replace if you lose it. That’s a little easier to come to terms with (and to apply for) than a new and expensive passport.

Student nights

Student nights are always cheaper than your standard nightclub entry, and arguably more fun. They’ll most likely include some deals on drinks too. You could cut down the cost of your night out from £50 to £20. Remember your over 18 ID so you don’t get turned away.

Spreadsheet

You might have spreadsheets coming out of your ears depending on what you’re studying for your degree, but planning your finances in Excel is the key to being richer! Try and work out what you’ll spend each month on bills, food, going out and clothes and split it so you have enough to last you until your next chunk of money comes in. It’ll make life less stressful and you won’t go hungry after the first two weeks of being at uni.

Fashion

It can seem like a bit of catwalk at university, but you don’t need to buy designer labels to look fabulous. Try and catch all the seasons sales for half price or less items, or find cheaper alternatives of  the latest trends in shops like H&M and Primark. You can look amazing without spending a fortune! Use Pinterest and Instagram for fashion inspiration.Charity shops are always worth a look too. One mans’s trash is a hipsters vintage treasure.

Exercise 

Keeping fit doesn’t have to cost money. Save yourself £30-£60 on gym membership by making up your own exercise regimes to do at home or the local park. Running, HIIT workouts and yoga are all things you can do to keep in shape without needing any equipment. Check out YouTube for free routines too. Some of the university sports clubs will be cheap or even free to join, so check those out when you’re at the freshers fair.

And hey presto, you’re still rolling in it by Christmas so you can afford a new party outfit or a festive night out! Maybe even a Christmas present or two.  

Uni Friends

Making friends at uni

For those of you who decided to go to university this autumn, you might be thinking about the art of making friends. Of course, the truth is there isn’t really an art – just be yourself and you’ll be great at making friends, right? But hang on a minute… when you throw in the excitement of a new town or city, possibly a new house, new studying responsibilities and new nightlife to explore, maybe making friends at uni could be more of an overwhelming idea than you first thought.

Here’s a little guidance if need inspiration for bonding with your fellow students.

Going out

Many students make friends on a night out on one of the hundreds of freshers events that happen in the first couple of weeks at university. This is certainly not a bad place to start, so get to the freshers fair or student union to find out what’s on. Don’t forget to take your proof of age card wherever you go out, so that you don’t get turned away in front of your potential new mates. My ID Card is an official proof of age card accepted by doormen, bar staff and supermarkets. It only costs £15 so it suits your uni budget and it’s also less risky than carrying around your £80 passport. Read more

Freshers Week

What happens during Freshers’ Week

Heading off for your first year at University?

This is often the first time, you have been away from home for any length of time.  Freshers’ Week can be very daunting however, with so much to look forward to it is also very exciting.

It’s worth remembering that all Fresher Students are in the same boat – it’s their first time at this University too, so if you don’t know anyone –  be friendly and helpful and try to be confident as this will help you make friends quickly.  Aside from school, most long term friendships and even relationships start at University.

Use the week wisely to find your way around campus.  Discover what else goes on in your department and remember where your main lecture halls are located. Begin filling in your academic diary with your rota and collect campus maps and useful information sheets from main reception.

Ensure that your personal property is always safe i.e. laptops IPad’s, gaming stations etc. should always be put away out of sight. Ensure that all windows on lower floors are shut and doors are locked when leaving your accommodation.  Arrange insurance or ask your parents to check their household insurance as it may cover such items.

 

 

Meetings with your tutors and lecturers are important, be sure to attend. First impressions last – so get a full 8 hours’ kip in before these meetings – a hang over and bedhead is not a great look!

Register with a local Doctor and Dentist and explore the extracurricular clubs or join the gym to keep those pangs of homesickness away.

If you are in Halls of Residence, then you have probably packed some snacks, but take a good look around campus and find the bars, shops and restaurants.  You will need energy food, especially if you are going to burn the candle at both ends during Freshers’ busy social calendar!

On campus, you will have your student pass but this won’t be good enough as proof of age if you are enjoying a night out on the town. My ID card is widely accepted in bars, clubs and restaurants.  Accredited to the PASS Proof of age scheme, it is nationally recognised and supported by the Home Office, The National Police Chief Council and the Security Industry Authority.  Assurance to Landlords and club owners that you are old enough to buy alcohol.

With so many products with age restrictions for example, your emergency first aid kit – Ibuprofen or Paracetamol and of course re-hydration products, MY ID Card is the safest choice for the chemist, supermarket, petrol station, local pub and just about anywhere requiring a Photo ID to prove your age.

Of course, money is going to be tight so you will want to save a penny or two wherever possible.  If you lost your Passport or Driving Licence on a night out, you will have to stump up £86.00 to replace it with up to a three weeks for it to arrive.

My ID Card from just £15.00, is a much cheaper option with delivery usually within five working days.  Furthermore, you will receive 12 months’ membership to My ID rewards, enabling you to buy shopping cards with discounts from 3% to 15% across the leading supermarkets and many top named high street stores.

Most of the cards are re-loadable too – How great would it be if Mum could load credit onto your supermarket card so you don’t go hungry or even worse… thirsty!

Uni FriendsIt is not compulsory to drink yourself under the table every night, after all it’s not one big party, you chose University so that you could broaden your academic knowledge and gain those all-important qualifications for your chosen career path.  Don’t waste this fantastic opportunity but do make sure you have lots of fun along the way.  Freshers’ Week only happens once – ENJOY!

Uni packing list – don’t forget your photo ID

Well done! You got your grades and you’ve got yourself into university – fun times ahead. Once you’ve finished celebrating (although that doesn’t really have to end, does it?), the reality of packing up and leaving home might be beginning to kick in. Where will you live, who will your housemates be, what happens in freshers week, will you need photo ID to get into student nights and what practical things do you need to pack? It might be a little scary and exciting all at the same time, but if you can plan in advance then it’ll make your transition into university life that bit smoother.  We’ve made you a handy uni packing list so that you won’t be scratching around for shower gel or trading cutlery for saucepans when you get there. Read more

Make the most of university nightlife with a proof of age card

If you’re one of the many UK students waiting for your A-level grades, you’ll be counting down the hours until results day. Whether you’ve aced it and secured a place in your top choice or ended up going through clearing, you’re going to have a lot of questions on your mind about your soon-to-be ‘home’ town.

One question you’ll almost certainly want some answers to is, ‘Where’s the best nightlife?’ (and how to get in to all those amazing bars, pubs and clubs. Tip: you’ll need a proof of age card like My ID Card). We’ve looked at the results of the Which? Student Survey (including the opinion of 11,000 students from 115 universities) to give you the lowdown on some of the best university cities the UK for nightlife.

Newcastle

There’s a reason why those Geordies are so cheerful; they’ve got access every type of nightlife you can imagine. From clubbing in Digital, to cocktails in Madame Koo, to craft beers on the Quayside, to comedy at The Stand – this north-eastern city will not disappoint (as long as you remember your proof of age card).

Priced at only £15, My ID Card is an official proof of age card. It’s accredited by PASS, the UK’s national proof of age accreditation scheme, and fully endorsed by official organisations such as the Home Office and The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO). Because PASS carries these endorsements, the security industry trusts our proof of age cards, meaning the door staff at venues, clubs and bars across the whole of the UK will recognise the authenticity of your My ID Card. My ID Card will also be recognised as valid ID by leading ID scanning machines. Read more

BBQ party essentials list, including your PASS ID card

The season of sizzling sausages, mojitos and late balmy nights is happening right now, and you want your BBQ party to be one of the best nights of the summer, right? So we’ve made you a handy list of things you need to prep for your tropical party. From boozy ice buckets, to your PASS ID card to take to the supermarket, we’ve done the thinking for you so that all you need to concentrate on is having fun.

Meat and salad (don’t forget the buns!)

Keep it simple with burgers and sausages, or experiment with marinated chicken legs and spicy ribs if you’re feeling more adventurous. You could even try a seafood barbecue if you fancy giving your party a Mediterranean twist. Stock up on charcoal too – the self lighting bags are the easiest.

Ice bucket for drinks. Oh, and the drinks of course

There’s nothing worse than a warm beer, or worse still a tepid wine (sick mask emoji). Be kind to you and your guests and fill a bucket with ice and very cold water to keep your bottles in. Let’s be honest, there’s never enough room in the fridge for all that meat and booze. When you’re buying your drinks, don’t go without your PASS ID card, which you’ll need if you’re asked to prove your age. PASS ID cards are easy to apply for and are accepted in supermarkets, bars, pubs, restaurants and clubs.

Sun cream

Pink isn’t a good look, and you want to preserve that beautiful skin don’t you? Add a bottle of factor 30 to your trolley so none of your friends rock that late night lobster look. Read more

Camper Vans

Do you have safe ID for Festivals?

Festival Fever – Save the Date.

You could take your passport to the festival – or your driving licence.  But that’s risky.  Where are you going to keep it safe?  Is it worth leaving it in your tent for a not so-friendly visitor to take?

May Bank Holiday is set to be scorcher, what better way to chill out than planning your Festival calendar and your ID options.

Read more

camping

Fun and cheap UK holidays – remember your ID for pubs

It’s almost the summer holidays – hallelujah! The books can go back under the bed, the uni or college work folders on your computer no longer need to be clicked – you have done the hard work and now it’s time to have some FUN!!! A well-deserved holiday with your friends is in order, so let’s get booking. The purse strings can be tight when you’re a student or young person, so if flights are too pricey the you can always look at UK holidays.

When you’re holidaying on your own turf, another bonus is that you know you’ll never be too far from a traditional British pub – one of the things us Brits do best. So explore the far corners of the country to find some of the best boozers in the UK. Although if you don’t want to get refused at the bar, remember your ID for pubs.

If you need inspiration for your budget UK trip, then here’s our roundup of the best fun and cheap UK holidays.

Camping and caravans

For one of the cheapest holidays ever, you need to try camping or caravanning of you haven’t already. You’ll find a campsite in almost every area in the UK, whether you fancy falling asleep to the sound of the sea, going back to nature among the sheep and cows, or camping close to a lively and vibrant city. With this type of holiday you can take your own food and booze as there are self catering facilities at most campsites, so it’s big saves on that front. Disposable barbecues are always handy to use for a quick and summery al fresco dinner. It’s unlikely you’ll be far from that traditional country pub, so if you do run out of provisions and you’ve got the cash, go and get a beer and a burger in the local. Remember to take your ID for pubs – My ID card is accepted in pubs, bars, clubs and shops for when you need to prove your age. Read more

Planning the Perfect Hen Weekend – What Happens with the Hens Stays with the Hens

“What Happens with the Hens Stays with the Hens”

Yes that final big party weekend away with the girls before you sweetly say “I DO”

Some choose to go abroad but the falling pound and rising air travel charges can often make the overall cost unreachable for some and we all know that the bride, wants as many of her “Besties” with her as possible to really make the party go with a swing!

The UK has some fantastic cities and towns which can really set the scene for making a most memorable and explosive Hen Weekend.

Read more