Coming to university is a step towards a new way of living, being more independent, taking care of yourself and last but not least doing the laundry and the cooking on your own. Sometimes budgets can be tight, especially if you have to buy some of the textbooks. It might sound a bit scary, but in fact it is not and I am sure you’ll find the right formula to do it and live like a boss…just like me in the photo, haha.
I made a list of my top student must-haves, which will make your uni life easier and will save you some money.
1. NUS card
Paying only £12 a year and receiving over 150 special discounts – yes, this sounds like a good bargain and is definitely going to save you some money for a year. The number of discounts you’ll have is pretty big from Amazon,to Miss Selfridge or National Express – you’ll enjoy student life at its best! Perhaps, you’ll want to see a full list of the offers? Just visit the NUS website
2. Loyalty cards
No matter if you want to buy food, cosmetics, or clothes, loyalty cards always do the work.
Get a Nectar card – every time you shop at Sainsbury’s you’ll collect points (Amazon and Ebay give you points as well). Moreover, you will get occasionally bonus points vouchers which can give you double points for example. The other card you could get is a Superdrug Beauty card or a Boots Advantage Card and you’ll start collecting points from your purchases.
3. Travel card
This is where the big saving begins – getting a coach card and a rail card is an investment, which is worth the money paid for it. Usually the 4th or 5th time you use it either to go home, or some shopping at the Bullring in Birmingham, you will have saved the money you paid for the card and then you just save, save and save. And guess what? As you are a student, there is a special discount that you are entitled to when you buy the card. I would definitely advise you to get one of these.
4. Smartphone/Tablet apps
Samsung, iPhone or Sony, the brand doesn’t really matter, there is a handful of applications for your smartphones, which will make your student life easier. Plus the new University app!
- Dropbox – no matter where you are, what device you are using, you can store your information in your Dropbox account. This virtual cloud storing app can be installed on any device and can be accessed online as well. Forget about losing, dropping, breaking your USB flash memories, Dropbox will simplify your student life. Upload your assignments there, go and print them from the library! Furthermore it synchronizes all files on all devices that you’ve installed it! No more copy and pasting or e-mailing something to yourself. 🙂
- Vouchercloud – yes, another thing that saves you money. Regularly updated, this app gives you a wide range of special offers and discounts. What is great about it is that it tailors the vouchers according to your location. London, Birmingham, Worcester, Manchester – wherever you go, you’ll have the latest deals in the town!
- Remember the milk – this app will remind you about everything – not only what you have to buy, but also what you have to do! Very useful for those of us, who tend to forget some meetings sometimes. 😉
- Everpaper – great app which will safe any pages that you was looking at for later and review them even if you don’t have Internet access
In case you are not a fan of the smartphones or you don’t find them that helpful with helping you organise your time and remember things, the good old little diary is a well-known friend. Especially having an academic one helps a lot with writing down all important exam dates and assignment details.
I know that the tablet is easier and lighter to carry around, I love tablets too, but a good laptop is going to help you a lot, especially when it comes to writing your assignments and preparing your PowerPoint presentations. A laptop or desktop computer is a must, depending on your needs and preferences. You’ll need a large screen where you’ll be able to see all the journal articles you’ll use to write your assignment.
I think that having your own printer is the best, just because you don’t have to depend on library’s opening hours, how crowded is in there, are the printers working, etc. Invest in an all-in-one printer and you can print, scan, copy anytime you want to and is going to save you some money as well.
It is all about food! If you don’t want to end up eating only fast food and frozen ready meals, it’s a good idea to learn how to cook. I am not going to lie, your first student meal can be one big “Yuck”, BUT your second one will be a success, I promise. Get some nice recipes from your mum, buy one of the “Cooking Gods” book (Ramsey, Jamie, etc.) and try to cook the meals.
9. Social Networks
Yes, I am talking about Facebook and Twitter, but I also want to tell you about LinkedIn and Pinterest. You can use Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest to browse for all different type of information and infographs, which will give you some inspiration and ideas on how to do your assignments and help your studies. In my case, I am following a wide range of PR and Marketing related Twitter accounts, tweeting loads of articles, which I can actually use in my uni work.
LinkedIn is the social network that can help you find a job when you graduate or find a placement while you study. Make sure that you have a good and professional-looking profile page, because some companies recruit via your LinkedIn profile. It is your digital CV, it is selling you and your expertise.
These are my top student must-haves. I am curious to know what you think we can add to this list. Please put your suggestions in the comments below. Thank you! 🙂