How your bank account can survive freshers’ week

Rebecca Rutt's picture

I remember this week as a bit of a blur traipsing from one hall to another, signing up to far too many societies and spending way too much money on novelty items to decorate my room.

On day two I opened a student account, with an agreed overdraft of up to £2,000, got my first loan instalment of £1,000 and opened a Barclaycard with a limit of £1,000. This was the biggest amount of money I’d ever had available so instead of budgeting from day one and being sensible, I spent way more money than I should have done.

There were fancy-dress themed parties nearly every night and I ended up buying several different outfits for each. Over the next two years I also squandered a lot of money visiting friends around the country and it was only in my third year I discovered the joys of the Megabus. As a student it’s ideal because you have the flexibility to travel at more unsociable hours and journeys start from £1.

When I arrived in my halls, my flatmates and I ended up with far too much kitchen stuff, forgetting in the excitement of starting uni that we wouldn’t need eight different saucepans or cheese graters when sharing a kitchen. If you can, try and hold off buying anything other than the bare essentials (plate, knife, fork and spoon) until you’ve seen what your housemates have.

In my flat we got into bulk buying at the supermarket and cooking large pasta bakes and hearty meals together which saved a lot and helped us to get to know each other better.

Just like Megabus I also didn’t realise the numerous offers available on the internet. Websites like will show you deals for almost any night of the week and make sure you only go to the cinema on discount days and avoid heading out on non-student nights. It’s also worth heading to the second hand bookshop or checking Amazon when you receive your reading list.

The best advice I could have been given was not to feel pressured into spending more money than you have. It’s easy to forget in all the fun and excitement of the first term that there will be a further three (or in my case four) years and this time is about making mistakes and learning how to budget. However, by avoiding a few easy pitfalls you can make sure you don’t end up living off baked beans alone for your student life