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Five Top Tips From Students On Managing Their Money

03/06/2014 10:53 BST | Updated 03/06/2014 10:59 BST
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With tuition fees now averaging £8,500 a year, university is undoubtedly more expensive than ever before.

But there’s a long list of things that students need to pay for besides tuition, which won’t be covered by your student loan. This includes things like course books, food and drink, nights out, toiletries, transport, and any number of other costs like photocopying or printing work.

It can be a daunting prospect facing all these costs for the first time so Which? University asked current students what they wish they’d known before going to university, and has set out five top tips to help you plan your budget:

1. Do your homework on costs and budget early:

"I wish I knew just how costly being a student actually was, and that student finance was never going to be sufficient to support me. After paying for accommodation, there was not enough money left for grocery shopping let alone going out."

London South Bank University, first year, Biological sciences

"Wish I had known about all of the extra costs that are not advertised like the general cost of Freshers’ Week and that joining ANYTHING costs money."

Loughborough, second year, Physics

"I wish I’d budgeted earlier. When you do your first food shop you'll inevitably buy too much food, but after a couple of weeks you get used to it. What I find useful is loosely planning my meals for the week so I don't end up buying food I won't eat (like junk food)."

University of Brighton, second year, History

2. Ask your university about course costs upfront:

"I wish I'd have known about additional course costs beforehand so I could have saved a bit more money. Doing a creative course, I needed to purchase software as well as various materials and stationery which added up to a few hundred pounds."

University of Huddersfield, 1st year, Graphic design

"I wish we were given more information about what books to have in order to have purchased them at a cheaper price beforehand, i.e. from previous students."

King's College London, first year Biological sciences

3. Consider getting a part time job:

"It's not as easy as you might think, managing your money. I wish I'd got a part-time job straight away instead of waiting until third year. The relief would have been immense! It's worth pooling resources with house/flat mates and cooking together to keep costs down, and limiting yourself to a maximum of one takeaway a week. It's a slippery slope!"

University of Lincoln, third year, English literature

"I would definitely say get a part time job if you can, you'll live a lot more comfortably."

University of Huddersfield, first year, Graphic design

"There are lots of jobs available via the 'Jobshop' website, including one-off work such as being an open day guide and taking part in research in the various departments. Jobs offered on campus are typically very well paid and I wish I had known about these sooner."

University of Reading, second year, Pharmacy

4. Plan ahead for your second year:

"I wish I had known about the cost of sorting accommodation for the second year - this was the biggest cost. I wish that there was an online money managing application that clearly shows how much should be allocated per week as many students aren't aware of what food and other essentials, for example laundry, cost."

University of Kent, first year, Accounting

5. Look around for discounts and bursaries:

"I wish I'd known about the 16-25 railcard! Huge difference to my budget."

University of Strathclyde, first year, English literature

"Wish I knew more about bursaries provided and been given more information on the area to maintain a cheaper lifestyle, especially when living within London."

Goldsmiths, first year, History

"I wish I had taken more advantage of the markets that Leeds has to offer. I'll admit that I was a little snobby about shopping at a market but the food I've had from there (fruit and veg, fish and meat) has been cheaper and more delicious than any of the store bought I've had."

University of Leeds, first year, Law

"The Students' Union does some really good drinks deals and the food is good value."

University of Huddersfield, first year, Graphic design

You can visit Which? University for more information on student finance. Follow them on Twitter for tips, news and uni advice: @WhichUniUK

Have you taken the term "student budgeting" too far?