Welcome to the UK! Aren’t you excited! After all of the applications, preparations, organisation and finally moving into your room… Take a deep breath and look up to the cloudy skies. Okay, so what’s next? You are probably hungry. It’s been a long journey. You walk into the local supermarket and everything looks cheap, but then you start to convert it into your home currency. Now you will see why this foreign student’s guide to the UK on a budget could be a big help!
Yes my friend, welcome to one of the most expensive countries in the world. Those heavy coins aren’t just for show. Here are some easy steps to help guide a foreign student in the UK on a budget…
1) Stop converting every single little thing to your home currency
I did this. It made me insane. “Oh no it says two pounds but that’s how many dollars again? What I can get at home with this much, I can-” NO. You can’t. Cutting you off there. It will be easier to just do the ‘Big Exchange’ in the beginning. Most banks have websites. Convert it all there and work your way in pounds as much as you can. Believe me, you’ll save more this way.
2) Shop like your Grandma
Stores in the UK run mega sales. That buy one get two free, suck it up and get that one. If you don’t really need something, hold off on it, it may run on sale tomorrow. Also, food is not so expensive. If you have a kitchenette and not a meal plan, make use of it. Meal plans are not really a thing in the UK, most students learn to cook at least a few basics and it is waaay cheaper to cook for yourself or take some sandwiches to class than eat out all the time.
3) Clothes Heaven
Almost every student I know, regardless of gender, had a high street shopping adventure. SO fun. Have you heard of Primark? Go there first, trust me. It’s crowded and smells of farts at times, but it’s worth it. It is the Asda of clothes. They restock every two days. There are also websites like “Everything5pounds.com” that stock daily and have name brand clothing. If you want to be even more thrifty, why not try organising a clothes swap between some friends? At the end of the year you will always have way more stuff than you can take home with you so why not donate it to your besties? They might even cook you a nice meal with a drink or too to say thanks and everyone is a winner!
4) Ryan Air and Rail Cards
If you are from far away, you will be traveling. Ryan air and Skyscanner are great sites to find the cheapest flights. Just pack light! There are many student cards that will get you discounts. Ask your school union. You will be using public transportation, even locally, a lot. So just spend the chunk at first to at least cover you for the first month until you learn the system. There are loads of special offers for students and group travel discounts so ask around and check for the best deals.
Now save little grasshopper and enjoy the best years of your life!