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Five start-of-term expenses you weren't expecting

So you’ve sat down and meticulously drawn up a budget on which you’ll just about survive your first term. But then a sudden, large expense rears its head and throws a spanner in the works!

It’s annoying to see a chunk of your money disappear, especially before you’ve even left for university! But C’est la vie, some things just can’t be avoided…or can they? 

Below are a few last minute expenses which many students don’t plan for, and some tips to avoid or reduce them:

Moving van

Renting a moving van can be really expensive. Quotes will vary depending on how much you’re taking and the distance you’re travelling (we’re guessing that you’ll be taking a fair bit while you could be moving to the other end of the country).

Try to work out as early as possible whether you’ll be able to fit everything you’re taking in your/your parents’ car. 

If you do need to rent a van, try to book this as early as possible. Or you can ask parents, friends, siblings, family friends, neighbours, anyone who owes you a favour...etc.  to see if they can help.

Laptop and printer

You’ll definitely need a working laptop and even a printer to complete your assignments and print them off. This will save you running around campus on the morning of a deadline looking for a printer.

While most universities do have computer rooms and libraries, booking these can be inconvenient. It’s just easier to have your own, both for work and to socialise/procrastinate. If your current laptop has seen better days, buy a new one rather than wait for the dreaded “Blue Screen of Death” to strike. Most good laptops have a lifespan of around three years; so a new one now should last you the duration of your undergraduate course. 


While you can wait until your student loan goes in to buy the majority of books for your course, there may be a few which you’ll be told to read beforehand in time for the first week of lectures. Books can be really expensive, especially more academic titles which can’t be found in your local Waterstones. You can buy these second-hand online through Amazon, Alibris and Abe Books.

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    Extra furniture & utensils

    When choosing your accommodation, read carefully what facilities and utensils will be provided. This way you can take your time researching the cheapest options for anything extra need to buy. You'll also avoid wasting cash on things you don't need.

    Try to find some pictures of your accommodation online, or think back to when you visited during your open day. Things like kettles and microwaves will be provided but you’ll need to bring your own cutlery and dishes. When it comes to your room, will you have enough storage space and lighting, or will you need to buy anything extra?

    Paying by credit card gives you more protection: find out your rights if something goes wrong

    Fresher’s Week

    Your student loan will go in at some point during freshers' week. Until then you’ll need some extra cash for all the activities taking place – you don’t want to be sat in a bank trying to arrange an overdraft when you could be out having fun!

    You might have to buy tickets to some events. And if you head into the local town, you’ll need to pay for drinks, club entry fees and transport. Plus it’s going to be tempting to eat out at your new local haunts or order takeaways as you sit around getting to know your housemates; both of these can add up.

    Expensive accidents can happen during Fresher’s Week antics too, whether cracking your phone screen or spending too much on a cab because you don’t know where you’re going. It happens! Put some extra money aside for freshers' week.

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