There’s a bunch of things that must be great to know before you start University; like how to cook 85 different dishes for under £10 and exactly what your alcohol limit is. Or how to juggle friends, boyfriend, a job and studies while still maintaining contact with friends from home. Or how to know which society is going to be right for you from the very start. Unfortunately, most of the stuff I’d like to know for my University life still evades me drastically. But hey, there are a few Freshers Tips I can give, safe in the knowledge that these are good things to know and things which I have learnt the hard way.
- You can’t shop and cook like your parents do. You just might have to give up Heinz beans in favour of Basics Beans and salmon is probably off the menu for a while. You can get really creative with cooking though, and basic meals do not have to be micro-waved or taste hideous. Meat and fish can be pretty expensive too so I usually opt for a veggie pasta dish – for me at least, it’s the tastiest thing there is. Learning to cook cheap and healthy is definitely an art form.
- How to clean a toilet…ain’t nobody gonna do that for you. Thou shalt learn.
- It’s cheaper to hang your clothes to dry inside than to pay for the drier – they may end up smelling of burnt waffle, or whatever the of the day may be, but it’ll save you a couple of little pounds. I never used the tumble-dryer is first year and it also saved me the pain of shrinking all my clothes too. My sports clothes I needed so often I just hand washed and it’s better for the material too. For some reason I never seem to be able to hand wash socks satisfactorily though.
- The fast food isn’t as cheap as it looks, it’ll fool you for a while but not for long.
- Tupawear is your friend. Since cooking for one can be pretty tough to judge maybe don’t even try, scoop up the remainder of that bad boy and stick it in the fridge. And if you’re not hungry, you will be later – never chuck food. Smart students like tupawear in their fridges and freezers. (Chinese takeaways have the best boxes, save those, you can microwave them). The tupawear is also great for pre-packing lunch and snacks for the day, which brings me too…
- Pack your own lunch and invest in a flask. Plastic boxes, cute lunch boxes, sandwich bags; whatever you care to transport your lunch to Uni in during the day will definitely save you a lot of money. Yes Uni canteens and shops are subsidised, some more than others, but the Star Bucks opposite your lecture hall sure as hell isn’t! Sad times. A flask full of coffee could save you over £4 a day and homemade sandwiches are always a billion times cheaper than supermarket ones and definitely have less salt content.
- Now is not the time to be a cosmetics snob. Maybe it’s just me, but I find that especially my favourite hair products can be damn expensive. Uni taught me to buy what was on offer. And if that’s not working for you Wilkinson’s is an amazing shop for the cheapest hair care, personal hygiene products, perfume and cleaning products for your flat. You’ll end up loving it! (Oh, I also bought a hand mixer from there this year and it was super cheap – I am loving it!)
What would you tell yourself if you were to go back to first year of Uni or College now? Any tips to add to mine? I’d love to hear them – Let me know!