It’s no secret that university is expensive. The controversial increases in tuition fees a few years ago have started to make people think twice about getting a degree. You shouldn’t let the cost put you off too much because getting a degree is useful if you need it to pursue your chosen career but you do need to be prepared for the cost. I recently received a statement from the student loans company; I went to university before tuition increased so it cost me £3000 a year for 3 years, yet the statement said I owed around £25,000. That’s because the tuition fees are only part of the cost, there are all sorts of other things you’ll have to pay for. This is the real cost of university and how you can try to reduce it.


The second largest expense for students is their accommodation. When you’re choosing somewhere to live, you need to find a good balance between quality and price. If you choose the cheapest possible place, you’ll end up living somewhere horrible with a bad landlord who won’t fix any problems that you have. You’re much better off spending a bit more on a place form a reputable company like Fortis Student lettings. The other thing to look out for is the bills; some places will have bills included in the rent which is always better than paying them separately. It’s easier to manage your money if it’s all rolled into one payment and you don’t risk racking up huge energy bills because you’ve been using too much. This is especially important if you’re living in a house share with quite a few people because your usage can easily get out of control. Don’t forget to consider the location either because if you live somewhere that is far from the university campus, you’ll have to pay all of those travel costs on top of your rent.


When you’re living at home with your parents, you don’t realize just how much it costs to fill the fridge every week. You just go and grab food when you’re hungry without considering the price. When you start living on your own, you’ll get a big shock when you realize just how expensive all that stuff is. Budget supermarkets like Lidl and Aldi are an absolute must. You can find some great deals and you’ll spend way less than you would at other supermarkets like Tesco or Sainsbury’s.


Travel is the cost that is most often underestimated by students. During the summer you’ll save a lot of money if you go back home to live with your parents for a few months, but don’t forget to factor in the cost of getting there. The cost of rail travel is rising year on year and if you’re a long way from home, you could end up paying upwards of £100 for one trip. You need to get yourself a 16-25 railcard which gets you a third off all rail journeys. It costs around £30 for the year but you’ll make that money back after one or two journeys.

When you’re budgeting for university, make sure that you remember everything, not just the tuition fees.