Here, we’ve outlined everything you need to know about how much you’ll spend when starting uni or college:
Starting uni or college is an exciting time. You’re meeting new people, maybe moving to a new city, or maybe it’s your first time away from home, so making a budget might not be top-of-mind.
On the other hand, budgeting might be all you can think about. And maybe it’s taking away from being able to get excited about this new start. Knowing what to expect money-wise during Freshers' Week and the start of term will help you not only feel more financially prepared but allow you to create the mental space for the best parts of uni and college life.
Moving away from home for uni comes with a variety of expenses. Here's a breakdown of some of the essential items and costs. Overall, you can expect these to be somewhere between £250 and £1000.
Depending on the location, accommodation costs can vary significantly. On-campus halls and uni/college-owned accommodations are often cheaper, while private rentals may be more expensive. Student halls are also often all-inclusive, so you can save on bills like heating, water, and internet. You can estimate between £115 and 175 per week
Textbooks, stationery, and other course-related materials are inevitable expenses as a student. These costs can range from £100 to £300 per academic year, depending on your course and whether you buy new or used books. Using second-hand book sites like World of Books, Amazon, or joining course groups on social media are a good idea, as students might be selling books from previous years.
If you're living in self-catered accommodation, you'll need basic kitchen supplies like pots, pans, plates, and cutlery. Budget around £100 to set up your kitchen.
Allocate around £30 to £50 per week for your food shop, but this can vary depending on your eating habits and whether you cook at home or eat out. Try to make food at home as much as possible and learn what you can easily cook on a budget.
If your campus isn’t within walking distance, consider walking, cycling, or taking the bus. You might want to look at options like a 16-25 Railcard
to save on transport, or an Oyster Card
if you’re in London. Budget around £20 to £40 per month for travel expenses.
Freshers' week costs
Freshers' week is there to set you up for the start of term with social events, info on societies to join, and more. Here's what you can expect to spend during an average Freshers' Week. We'd recommend budgeting up to £350.
Freshers' week pass
Unis and colleges often offer a Fresher’s Pass that provides access to various events throughout the week. The cost can range from £30 to £100, depending on the uni and the number of events included.
Nights out and socialising
This is definitely the time to go out and socialise, but you also don’t want to break the bank in your first week. On average, students spend around £50 to £100 on nights out during Freshers Week.
Societies and clubs
Most unis and colleges have a big range of societies and clubs you can join. Membership fees can vary from free to £20 per year, depending on the society's activities.
You may have additional expenses during Freshers' Week, such as paying for casual events outside the Freshers' Pass with your housemates. Allocate around £50 to £100 for these.
Being financially prepared for the start of term will help make the transition to uni and college life much easier. Be sure to outline a financial plan for the year based on these average spends to have an idea of what you’ll need to start your term.
If you're struggling financially, you might want to seek advice from Citizens Advice or StepChange, a leading debt charity.