How to buy university essentials on a budget

Summer before you go to university and you have a million and a one things to buy.  Books, stationery, cooking equipment.  And then when you see the mounting cost of all of these things, you’re worried you’ll be bankrupt before you’ve even become a student.

Do not worry young one, here are some tips that can help you buy university essentials on a budget.  And best of all, you can use these tips throughout your degree.

1. Books

Whether you’re studying the liberal arts or natural sciences, chances are you’re going to have to buy books.  These might be literary classics or textbooks and you’re worried they could be expensive.  Books in Waterstones can be £7 or or £8, and if you have to buy 10 or 15 of them then that’s £80 or even £120 gone.

It doesn’t need to be like this.  Try charity or second-hand book shops, where you can pick up the same books for a £1 or even cheaper.  Of course, it’s always potluck what you might find in a charity shop, but 10 books for £10 is better than 10 books for £80. 

Don’t rule out buying them online either.  Ebay, Amazon and Gumtree are always options, but consider student-selling sites like Sellstudentstuff.  Buying books on here could save you £10, £26 or even £50 on certain books.  Best of all, these second-hand books may already be annotated with ideas that you can use in your own work.

2. Stationery

This may say sound silly.  How much is a pen going to cost? Under a £1? I’m never going to need more than one, right? You’d be surprised at how many pens you can go through.

Think back to school where you began the year with a whole pencil case and ended it with one pen.  Everything else was either stolen, lost or borrowed and never returned.

The same is true for university.  This is why God invented pencil cases to keel all of your euipment in one place.  It might sound blindingly obvious, but keeping your pens in your pocket increases their likelihood of becoming lost.  There is also every chance that they could explode, staining your jeans and whatever else you might have in your pockets.

Furthermore, most lecturers prefer you use to blue or black ballpoint pens, as fountain pens have a tendency to leak.  This means you don’t have to spend a bomb buying a fancy Parker Pen.

Instead, go to Wilkinson’s (Wilko is a calm island in a turbulent storm of overpriced student essentials) and buy everything in one shop.  Cheaper than stationers like Ryeman’s and just as good quality.

3. Cooking Equipment

But I don’t need cooking equipment, I’m living in catered accommodation.  Hate it to break it you, but you do.  Depending what university you’re attending, your catered accommodation might not provide meals on the weekend or at lunchtimes.  This is where your own equipment would be helpful.

And you don’t need to buy your best china too.  If you’re only cooking for yourself, then there’s nothing wrong with plastic plates.  Do yourself a favour and buy some Sporks too,  They combine these spoons and forks.  But where can I buy these things? Again discount stores like Wilko are great, but you should also bring stuff from home.  Your family will have cutlery plates and pots and pans to spare.  Bring them with you.

And while we’re at, bring as much food with you as possible too.  Always bring food. There are three seemingly obvious, but useful tips to help you in buying the essentials for university.  And these tips will help you beyond your first weeks.  Charity shops and budget stores will be your biggest friend as a student.

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