Student Moves: Budget-Friendly Tips for Heading to Uni

Congratulations, you’ve earned a place at university! This is an exciting time filled with opportunities and challenges.

One hurdle that often causes stress for students is managing the financial aspects of heading off to uni, particularly when it comes to the move.

This blog aims to provide cost-effective tips that will make your transition to university living as seamless as possible, without putting a strain on your wallet.

The focus here will not just be on the move itself, but also on ongoing essentials you’ll need as you settle into your new life.

Whether it’s advice on what to bring with you or how to navigate public transport like a seasoned Londoner, Norman Ferns has got you covered.

Preparing for the Move

Creating a Budget

Before you embark on this adventure, it’s crucial to have a financial plan in place. Start by setting up a straightforward budget that includes anticipated income from loans or part-time work, along with expected outgoings like rent, bills, and food.

This will give you a good framework for your finances and help you avoid nasty surprises down the line.

Budgeting apps are a wonderful tool for keeping your finances in check. You can input your income and expenditures, and the app can help you see where your money is going.

Use this to find areas where you can potentially save so that you’re not short of a bob or two when you most need it.

What to Bring

Moving to uni often comes with the realisation that you have more stuff than you thought. But do you really need all of it? Create a checklist of essentials—kitchenware, bedding, academic supplies, etc.—to ensure you have what’s most important.

Once you’ve covered the basics, see if there’s room for additional items.

The key here is prioritisation. It’s easy to think you need all the comforts of home, but space is usually limited, and moving lots of items can become costly.

Stick to the essentials and keep in mind that you can always pick up additional items later, especially if you find that you genuinely need them.

The Move Itself

DIY vs. Professional Movers

If your university is just down the road, then borrowing a mate’s van for the day might suffice. However, for longer distances, consider the value of your time and the potential stress involved in a DIY move.

While hiring a professional moving service does cost more upfront, the convenience and peace of mind may make it worthwhile.

It’s worth getting quotes from multiple moving companies to find the most competitive prices. And remember, the cheapest option isn’t always the best; you’ll want to look at customer reviews to ensure you’re getting a good balance between cost and quality.

Packing and Loading

When it comes to packing, a bit of strategy can go a long way. Make sure you have strong boxes, bubble wrap for fragile items, and plenty of packing tape. Labelling boxes by room or category will also make the unpacking process much smoother.

Don’t shy away from asking friends or family to lend a hand on a moving day. Not only will this speed things up, but it’s also a good opportunity to spend time with loved ones before you head off. Just make sure to offer them a cuppa and some biscuits as a thank-you.

Travel Costs

Depending on your location, you’ll need to decide whether it’s more cost-effective to drive or take public transport. Factor in fuel costs if you’re driving, or train/bus tickets if you’re using public services. Some train companies offer discounted fares for students, so it’s worth looking into that as well.

For those who are fortunate enough to live close to their university, cycling or walking could be viable options, not just for the move but also for your daily commute. This will not only save you money but also provide a good bit of exercise. It’s a win-win!

Settling In

Food Shopping

Once you’ve moved in, you’ll need to think about your grocery shopping. Buying in bulk can be a great way to save money, but only for items that you’ll definitely use before they expire. Consider things like pasta, rice, and canned goods as bulk-buy candidates.

For fresh produce, local markets can sometimes offer cheaper prices than supermarkets. You’ll likely find a broader selection of local products too, which is a bonus for those interested in reducing their carbon footprint.

Student Discounts

Every little helps when you’re on a student budget, and many retailers offer student discounts on a variety of products, from clothing to electronics. Often, all you need is a valid student ID to qualify for these discounts.

Transport providers often offer discounted travel cards for students, which can save you a substantial amount over the course of the academic year. You may also find discounts on entertainment venues like cinemas or theatres. So, be sure to always carry your student ID and don’t be shy to ask if student discounts are available.

Public Transport

Getting around your new town or city efficiently and economically is crucial. Many cities offer student passes for local transport, including buses, trams, and metros. These can offer significant savings compared to buying individual tickets.

If you’re in a location that’s bike-friendly, consider getting a second-hand bicycle for daily commuting. Not only is it cost-effective, but it’s also great for the environment and your health. Just make sure to invest in a robust lock to keep your new mode of transport safe and secure.


Moving to university is a big step, and while it may seem overwhelming at first, effective budgeting can make the whole process much easier. From what to pack and how to move, to how you’ll get your weekly shop done, planning ahead is the key to a smooth transition.

Being smart with your finances from the outset will allow you to enjoy your uni years without the constant worry of running out of money.

So, whether you’re navigating the Tube or considering a second-hand bicycle, these tips should set you on the path to making budget-friendly choices as you embark on this exciting chapter of your life. Good luck!

Get in touch with us today for more information.

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