The costs of attending university in the UK appear to be spiralling out of control. Expensive tuition fees, text books, travel and daily living expenses are just going through to the roof and don't even consider evenings out unless you've got plenty of cash behind you.
These days being an intelligent young person has to start before you reach higher education and just as saving up for a deposit on a mortgage requires will-power and self-control, so does preparing for a 3 or 4 year course at university.
Below are some great ideas how you can save money in preparation for your educational years ahead and from frugal living to working abroad, this is the first step on the road to a happy and debt-free degree.
Get a job in the UK
It may sound obvious but many young people won't consider taking a year out of education in order to work in the UK. There are plenty of seasonal and year-round employers who are crying out for fresh and vibrant staff members to swell their ranks and saving your wages instead of spending them is exactly how you should be preparing for uni. Nightclubs, bars, live music venues and late night pubs all offer work and as you'll be working at night you'll have less time to spend your hard-earned cash.
Live with your parents
As soon as most of us are old enough then we feel the need to move out of our parents' home and live on our own or with our mates. This is pretty much half the reason that most kids go to university and from halls to student digs, living away from home for the first time is just an amazing experience. The savvy saver will not only relish living with their parents for an extra year but they'll positively thrive on it and if you can help out by doing jobs like ironing, cleaning or cooking then you'll be paying your way whilst saving money on rent.
If you're contemplating gap year travel then it doesn't necessitate that you have to come home saddled with debt even before you've started your degree course. Getting a TEFL teaching qualification or applying for a job in an overseas activities camp are both excellent ideas if you're looking to see the world and make some money at the same time. There are literally hundreds of vacancies for 18 - 25 year olds and from beach resorts in the south of France to the bustling bicycle lanes of Beijing, this is exactly what you should be considering before heading to campus.
Adopt a frugal lifestyle
It's often very tricky to have the will-power and the focus to say no to friends if they're planning on going on a summer holiday or even if they're going away for a long weekend however, these sorts of trips all add up and eat into your student finances. Cars are also nothing but money gobblers and if you can adopt a more frugal lifestyle by limiting the amount you spend on: clothes, socialising and travel expenses then you'll be much better off than if you didn't. Charity shops, car boot bargains and penny jars are all great ideas for the savvy student prior, during and after uni life.
Give something up for a year
Give up your car, stop smoking or give up booze for a year and you will instantly see the pounds start to add up and increase your stockpile before you go into higher education. By not doing something for a year you'll not only appreciate it if and when you start again but you'll also grown in confidence and strength as you realise that you had more will-power then you ever thought possible. You've got nothing to lose and everything to gain so bite the bullet today and start saving for your future.
Chris, the author of this article, fondly remembers his uni days and spent far too much and did far too little - learn from his mistakes students of the future!