Top 5 shopping tips for students on a budget

Black Friday is traditionally the day which follows Thanksgiving in America and is now thought of as the beginning of the Christmas shopping season across the world. Each year, big retailers use Black Friday to give massive price reductions to shoppers just before the festive season.

Black Friday shopping students

However, being shopping-savvy on a student budget isn’t just for Christmas time! Check out our top 5 tips for grabbing the best bargains all year round:

1. Food

According to Save the Students! yearly National Student Money Survey, students spend on average £108 a month on food alone – that’s more cash than you will spend on anything else apart from accommodation… so take a look at their ways to save money on food. Our favourite tips are freezing foods in portions, planning your meals and investing in a slow cooker.

Meal plan student shopping

2. Student discount

If you haven’t already, sign up for an NUS card and a UNIDAYS account which will give you access to amazing student discounts across loads of high street shops and food chains. Possibly the simplest way to save you money, ever!

3. Online shopping

Which? has listed 14 tricks to use to make sure you get what you need at the best price when shopping online, from getting voucher code alerts, signing up for newsletters and checking for cashback, all from the comfort of your student accommodation!

4. Charity shops

If you don’t mind sparing a bit of time, charity shops can be a trove for all sorts of treasures that won’t break your student budget. From high street and designer clothing, books and home wear for your accommodation, if you want a bargain and don’t mind hunting for it, get yourself to your local charity shop.

Charity shop student shopping

5. Upcycle

All it takes is a little imagination and you can create useful storage and decorative items for your student accommodation. Do your bit for the environment and take a look at these ingenious upcycling ideas. Using everyday household items or stuff you were going to throw away, they cost pennies to make and save you from having to shop.



Never shared a kitchen or student accommodation before?

Check out our top 5 cheap and easy curry recipes, guaranteed to impress your new flat mates!

So you’ve just moved into your student accommodation. All the kitchen essentials are unpacked and you’ve done your first food shop to stock up the fridge. But now you’re left thinking “what can I eat”?

Well, what better way to get to know your new flat mates in your accommodation by inviting them to your kitchen for a cooked-from-scratch curry this National Curry Week 22nd – 28th October?

Curries are filling, tasty, and perfect for cooking on a university student budget. You can pack them full of vegetables and protein, making them a healthy and delicious dinner.

Check out our best recipe ideas below, with price per meal, guaranteed to earn you the title of Student Master Chef at your accommodation!

1. Thai green curry.

This classic dish is so cheap and easy to make it will revolutionize your university cooking. Approximate cost (to feed four students) £8.50 = £2.12 per student

2. Prawn curry with mango chutney.

Sizzle in the kitchen this semester and enjoy this yummy curry with your flat mates. Approximate cost (to feed four students) £8.20 = £2.05 per student

Easy student accommodation recipe

3. Roasted aubergine & tomato vegan curry.

Cater for everyone in your student accommodation and serve-up this vegan treat which is super cheap and super tasty. Approximate cost (to feed four students) £5.00 = £1.25 per student

4. Korean rice curry.

This curry is the hearty comfort food that every university student needs. Approximate cost (to feed four students) £8.00 = £2.00 per student

Easy student accommodation recipe

5. Satay sweet potato vegan curry.

This delicious vegan recipe boasts two of your five-a-day and is under 400 calories! Approximate cost (to feed four students) £8.20 = £2.05 per student

And if there happens to be any left-overs after your flat mates have feasted, why not freeze them for a cheap, quick meal another day?

Being a university student has never tasted so good…



It’s time for a bake-off! Your student accommodation has never smelled so delicious…

This National Baking Week 15th – 21st October why not rustle up some scrummy treats for your flat mates in your student accommodation?

Whether you’re a budding Paul Hollywood in the kitchen, or you’re more instant noodles than choux buns, check out our top 5 cheap and easy recipes for university students with price per bake below*

Recipes:

  1. Bake fresh bread in 4 easy steps

All you need is four ingredients to bake this student-friendly scrumptious bread. Cost per slice (8 in total) = 0.62p

  1. Easy peasy apple turnovers

You know what they say; an apple turnover a day keeps the doctor away… ok maybe that’s not quite right, but this recipe is guaranteed to impress your flatmates! Cost per turnover (4 in total) = £1.90

Easy peasy apple turnover. Cheap student accommodation recipe.
Easy peasy apple turnover

 

  1. Vegan blueberry muffins

Everyone in your university student accommodation can enjoy these delicious muffins and at under 160 kcal per serving, they’re super healthy too. Cost per muffin (12 in total) = 0.64p

  1. Coconut ring cookies

Not all students are into clean-eating, but these cookies tick all the university student baking boxes; cheap, easy, healthy and tasty! Cost per cookie (13 in total) = 0.92p

  1. Tomato and olive mozzarella savoury cake

Don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it; this savory cake is a taste sensation! Wow your flat mates and serve up something a bit different to normal student grub. Cost per slice (8 in total) = £1.12

Tomato and olive mozzarella savoury cake. Easy student accommodation recipe.
Tomato and olive mozzarella savoury cake

 

If you try out any of these recipes, we’d love to see your student kitchen creations. Share your photos and recipe hacks on our social media pages.

Prue Leith better watch out; students can be Star Bakers too…

 

*Price per bake is for all ingredients, meaning you should have enough to make an extra batch!



Hidden Newcastle

Our accommodation in Newcastle, Roman House, is so good that you could be forgiven for opting to spend most of your time in the awesome common room playing some pool, working up a sweat in the on-site gym or chilling with your flatmates in the movie room rather than getting out and about to see the sights of The Toon. We’ll be venturing outside in the Easter break here’s what we’ve got on the to-do list…

Boiler Shop Steamer
Described as “industrial, urban & chic”, this unique space is just a few hundred yards from Roman House and regularly has music nights, exhibitions and one-offs. Boiler Shop claims to be different to other venues and it certainly is; expect this place to quickly become your go-to for things to do and a hub of cultural buzz.

Cat Cafés
Statistically, the average person’s three favourite C’s are coffee, cake and cats…combine all three and we’re happier than we ever could’ve imagined. The fantastically named CatPawCino and the fabulous Mog On The Tyne is where we’re planning to go on those days where you just miss your pets.

Victoria Tunnel
There’s nothing like a bit of sun to make you want to descend underground and enjoy a bit of darkness. We’re suckers for a spook and often find ourselves hankering after some history, and the Victoria Tunnel can provide both. Tours of the tunnel give an insight into wartime Newcastle, with recreations of air raid sirens and planes flying overhead. Worth noting that you also might pick-up the trivia that’s going to win the next pub quiz.

If you’re already a student in Newcastle or hoping to become one, take a look at our fantastic Roman House accommodation here.

 

Newcastle blog pic



Bout ye, Belfast!

Botanic Studios, our brand-new student accommodation in Belfast for 2017/18, is coming along very nicely – check out the latest photos of the show flat here. In the meantime, we’ve been putting together a checklist of what we’ve been recommended to do and see around the city…

Titanic Belfastthe first stop!
This impressive extravaganza of media and memorabilia occupies the space in which the Titanic was built, over one hundred years ago. We can’t wait to explore the replicas of the passenger accommodation and ride through the recreation of the city’s shipyard (apparently, it even smells authentic!). Will the “was there enough room for two on the raft” debate be solved? Probably not, but you never know.

Crumlin Road Gaoljust to lighten things up…
We’re a bit of a sucker for the supernatural, so we’ll surely be trying to get spooked by visiting one of Belfast’s grizzlier historic sites. The cramped cells of C-Wing and the chilling execution chamber make for a chastening experience; ‘The Crum’ is high on our to-do list.

St. George’s Marketvariety is the spice of life.
Built in 1896, this is Ireland’s oldest operating market, but the live music and amazing food stalls on a Saturday make it sound like more of a party than you might first expect! We’re looking forward to flowers, fish, food, homely things and second hand thriftiness whilst enjoying the furore of this Belfast bonanza.

Cathedral Quarter bar scene? Now we’re talking…
The place to see and be seen, Cathedral Quarter is home to some of the greatest establishments in the city; from traditional Irish pubs with live music to the quirkiest candle lit bars around. Special mention must be given to the Black Box venue, which always has something going on, from music to theatre to comedy to art. Basically, a guarantee of a good time!

Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridgeis there a reward for crossing it or…?
Everybody knows that Ireland isn’t all about city living, so it’s time to head North and visit the Antrim Coast. Scenic coastlines and gorgeous driving routes make the journey alone worthwhile, let alone conquering the Carrick-a-Rede. It’ll be a definite movie moment when we Indiana Jones it across to the other side. There’s another way back, right?

Are you studying in Belfast this year? Take a look at our brand new, city-centre student accommodation here.



Volunteering at Uni – is it worth it?

It is permanently drummed in to us that volunteering while at Uni is a great way to ‘boost your CV’ but does it really work or is it just a way to fill space on your CV to look more interesting to the person reading it? Well from personal experience, it has 100% helped me land the job as a graduate in the field I wanted. That said, you can’t just do any old volunteering and expect it do the trick – you need to carefully pick something that helps you demonstrate a quality you might not get to shout about though studying or part time work. So how do you find the right experience for you?

At Uni

Part time Sabbatical Officer

Ok so these are a lot less glamorous than the full time equivalents, but they can do wonders for the CV however some universities might have restrictions on who can apply for some of the posts. They range from LGBT and disabilities officers to things like Community Engagement and departmental specific positions.

Great if you are looking to shout about – management, executive work, policy or business experience

Charity Societies/RAG

Being part of a larger group can make it easier to do some volunteering, most universities have a RAG (Raise and Give) week where lots of society get involved doing all kinds of things for charity. Alternatively there are often societies for causes already established who spend the year fundraising for there cause.

Great if you are looking to shout about – humanitarian issues, fundraising, your fun side

Sports Exec

If you play a sport can level up your involvement by becoming part of the executive team that help keep the team/sport going thought the year, from being in charge of the transport for matches, organising the finances to washing the team kits there are loads of positions available and people to supply you doing it.

Great if you are looking to shout about – teamwork, leadership, time management, fitness

Media Maker

Writing for your student paper can be a great way to get in to some cool places (I once got free tickets to a launch even that give me a free 3 piece tailored suit!) and meeting cool people, it can also be a great place to express views and creativity. Lots of universities also have Radio Stations and TV stations that are great to get involved with and loads of fun, its also a great way to show how confident (and charming) you are.

Great if you are looking to shout about – writing skills, copy writing, creativity, journalism, confidence

Academic Rep/ Course Rep

Always a staple in universities these reps can help shape your course and degree. They may not be taken very seriously by students but for the right subjects they can give a good indication about your dedication to the subject you study and the industry as a whole.

Great if you are looking to shout about – dedication to your subject, team work

Not in Uni

Travel the world

If you don’t think you can spend some time every week volunteering then maybe this is the answer for you. The down side is it often costs money to get the flights and visas sorted. There are some amazing opportunities from teach children to working with fluffy (and not so fluffy) animals! Check out https://www.gap360.com/ for more info!

Great if you are looking to shout about – traveling, humanitarian issues, environmental issues, adventure

Work with the elderly/young

Mentoring is always super rewarding, be that working with children in a school to help them realise their potential or helping the older generation with anything from their weekly shopping to getting online. There maybe some red tape to get thought before you can do this – but companies, schools and charities are always looking for students to get involved.

Great if you are looking to shout about – Your kindness, humanitarian issues, teaching/mentoring, heath care

Get busy with your Hands

Help redecorate a community hall, assist in teaching a free class, get involved in local art projects. If you want to show you can do something really different from your degree – maybe you have a skill or hobby you can share with people. Check out for literally thousands of different opportunities all over the country https://do-it.org/

Great if you are looking to shout about – your great attitude, humanitarian issues, pretty much anything

Festival Volentering

Another one that doesn’t take much time, but has some pretty sweet benefits is festival volunteering. Work two days as a carpark attendant and get free entry in to the rest of the music festival. Perfect if you want to do something awesome with your time but can’t afford the £££ for a ticket to a kick ass event.

Great if you are looking to shout about – er… not sure. But its still cool!

Internship

This has become a bit of a dirty work in recent years as students (rightly so!) push back against companies who basically want free work from someone. But if you find the right one they can be great, just make sure you are getting a fair deal and the experience is worth the time. University career services can help you find the perfect internship/placement.

Great if you are looking to shout about – your knowledge, experience in the workplace, dedication

Get down with your Nerd self

Library and Museums may not sound very glamours but they can provide some of the most interesting and rewarding opportunities. From doing tours, teaching kids to read, or even learning more about local history there are some really cool things hidden in museum storage. This is guarantied to make people look twice at your CV as it fools people in to thinking you are a proper grown up! (seriously from experience this one is gold)

Great if you are looking to shout about – wider interests, local issues, humanitarian issues, how well read you are

Politics

Do you have strong political views, maybe you just feel strongly about one issue. Either way volunteering within a political party can be really rewarding and help shape the future of the country!  You don’t even have to volunteer with one party, you could help out at your local council offices.

Great if you are looking to shout about – politics, humanitarian issues, business

business people in a meeting at office

For all the infomation you could ever want on volunteering while at Uni check out 



Things EVERYONE says you need to bring to uni – that you don’t!

There are hundreds of lists out there (including ours!) telling you what you DO need to bring to uni, but what about the stuff you don’t? We asked some of our students to tell us the things they arrived to uni with that they never needed!

Pens are given out by every company and stall at freshers fair, I haven’t brought a pen in 4 years and never ran out or didn’t have one. Same applies to key-rings, lanyards and tote bags!

A dressing gown is nice at home but really you are not going to use it while at uni, PJ bottoms are great and you will team that up with a free t-shirt – if you are cold you will add a hoodie on top. Even the most glamorous girls in class rock the baggy pyjamas and hoodie look in their own rooms.

Corkscrew bottle opener combo. It’s unlikely you will buy wine that has a cork in it- and most can openers have a bottle opener.

An ironing board takes up space and if you are anything like the students I know it will still be wrapped in the cellophane when you move out after graduation! Learn to avoid Ironing by hanging clothes wet, and if you really have a compulsion to iron get a table top board to just use a table with a clean towel over it.

TBH you dont need the iron either, unless you are a super neat freak (I lived with one in first year, he even ironed his socks every Sunday afternoon in the kitchen – weird!) hang clothes up or just embrace the wrinkles.

Still on the washing theme you dont need a Laundry Basket/Bin either – they take up valuable space, and a reusable bag (think Ikea or sports direct) does the same job and is MUCH easier to walk to the laundrette with!

Full 4/5 people sets of crockery sound like a good idea- but it’s not often then you will be feeding more than 1 extra person and if you are just ask people to bring a plate!  Also it’s really easy to cope with 2 bowls and 2 large plates – it means you wash up more and have more space in the cupboard for food!

Glasses are like fragile mugs with no handles… Think about that. They take up space and break way to easy, they also get borrowed more than anything else in the kitchen. Save some cash and ‘borrow’ some from the local SU after a night out- they expect student to do this- I haven’t brought a glass since moving in but still have 4 pint glasses!

Egg cup, seriously you are never going to use this unless you really REALLY love boiled eggs and if you do a shot glass works just as well.

Printers are always a big debate, but we really don’t think you need one that much, all notes from class are online, you submit all work online so no need to print. For the amount you are actually going to need it its easier to get it printed at the uni library.

Everyone loves pizza, its a fact. But a pizza slicer? Difficult to clean, and will be borrowed by everyone in the flat. Just use a knife or scissors!

Have you been told to bring something to Uni that was utterly useless? Let us know!



My experience as Romanian student in the UK

We had a chat with one of our international students and asked her what she thought of moving and living in the UK. 

Many people think that being an international student is cool: that everyone is automatically interested in your culture, cuisine and wants to be friends with you. But what happens when you come from a poor (and not very liked) country?

axstj-international-1013-3320

My name is Anna and I am from Romania. I am currently going into my third year, studying International Relations and Security Studies at University. Coming to the UK was not planned, my parents didn`t really have the means to support me here, so as most future students in Romania, my main choice of university was the medical school. Preparations, tutoring classes and exams were my main thoughts during my last year of high school. Until one day when I was presented with the option of studying abroad, in a country where I wouldn`t have to pay university fees.

After discussing this option with my parents, we decided to ask for the help of a consultant company. My dad called them, and after the first meeting, I knew everything it was to know about studying in the UK! I was accepted in all five universities I applied for, I made my choice and was on my way to University!

arivals

Soon after my summer holiday ended, I was on my flight to the UK (both my parents found jobs here in healthcare in order to support me in uni). The first day here was not particularly exciting, I got lost on the train from London, I had to change five times just to get here and when finally at the destination, I couldnt find the building I was going to live in. But despite my slow and unlucky start in this country, I found the people to be extremely polite, friendly and calm.

welcome-to-england

Of course, what baffled me at fist was the cultural difference between my country and UK, which  is huge. Not only the people here are nicer, more polite, but they are also less ‘judgy’, more respectful and  willing to help you when you need it. I remember that when I first came here, everyone was so friendly to me that I almost found it suspicious. Soon enough I also found their ‘weird’ side. The thing that confused me most was the fact that everyone calls everyone ‘love’. The first time I had an appointment with the bank to open an account, the adviser there called me ‘love’. All I could think was ‘ What is wrong with this guy?’ . They also tend to have a weird and different definition for the meals of the day. Some people say ‘tea’ instead of ‘dinner’ and ‘dinner’ instead of ‘lunch’. They also have words like ‘lad’ and ‘lass’ or they pronounce phrases like ‘me broley’ instead of ‘my umbrella’ .

lunch,-dinner,-tea

To be honest, this is mostly a nice country with nice people, but there were of course times when, because I am Romanian, people automatically thought I was a gypsy or that I came here to claim benefits. And some of them look even more surprised when they find out that both my parents are living and working here as well. But, I guess that every basket has its rotten apples.

Overall, being an international student is excellent, you get to see the world from a different angle, you become more open- minded and you meet a lot of great people. It is an amazing experience, and despite the fact that I sometimes regret not becoming a life saver(doctor), I will never regret coming here.

int-rock



The Bradford Guide for Prospective Students 

Being a prospective student can be both exciting and stressful, especially when you are about to move to a different city or even country.  Not only do you not know much about the area, but it can also be quite difficult to find information about it, thats relevant to students. But help is at hand! We have created  a Bradford guide for prospective students, which will tell you everything you need to know about the city.

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Transport: 

  • In Bradford the most used and affordable means of transportation is the Free City Bus. And as the name says, it is free- for everyone. There are bus stations for it all around Bradford city centre, where it stops every ten minutes. The University of Bradford is one of the stations, for those who live far from it.

Free city bus map

  • Also, the students from School of Management don`t have to worry about their transport there because the university provides a bus, leaving every 30 minutes from the University gym, which is at the top of the main campus.
  • If you want to take a trip to the surrounding areas, you have two choices: the train or the bus. In Bradford there are two train stations: Forster Square and Interchange and the tickets can be purchased on the National Rail website.
  • Buses that go to the surrounding areas of Bradford, you can look them up here: Metro Bus
  • For long distance travels, you can either go by train or use one of the cheap coach services. These are National Express and Megabus.
  • For short-distance travelling, you can use one of the local taxi companies. The fares usually start at £2.50 a mile and the most you will pay to get across the city centre is £5.  Its always best to call a cab rather than flag one down as they are normally cheaper!

Shopping: 

  • Bradford might not be a huge shopping city, but there are a few options you can choose from. If you want to go shopping for food, the places you might consider are ASDA , Tesco, Sainsburys , Morrisons  Lidl and Aldi. All of which are on the free city bus route.
  • Boots and Superdrug  are for health, beauty, skincare and hair products, pharmacy and prescriptions they are situated in the main shopping centre of the city.
  • For clothing, Bradford has all the main staples (like a primark and newlook) in the Kirgate Shopping Centre, but a new shopping mall is being built in Bradford, with plans for completion in December 2015 with even more options.
  • There is also a brand new development called Sunbridgewells Tunnels which is planned underground market right in the heart of Bradford’s historic trading quarter.
  • If all else fails hop on a train and head to Leeds for more shops than you could ever need!

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Night life & Takeaways:

  • Bradford doesn’t have a huge range of nightclubs, but they are friendly and the relaxed atmosphere definitely compensates for it. The most popular nightclubs for students in Bradford are: Tokyo, Flares & Reflex, Love Apple and Tequila. Nor forgetting the Student Union Bar and nightclub. Wednesdays are fridays are the main student nights to go out, with drink offers tailored just for you!
  • If that isn’t enough for you there is the clubbing mecca that is Leeds, where there are literally 100’s of bars and clubs. A train to leeds is cheap enough and the first train back is about 5am in the morning (but if you can’t hack clubbing all night long a taxi costs about £25, which is pretty cheap when split between 4 people)
  • Chinese, Indian, Italian, Pakistani and even Greek- there is a takeaway for every taste (and every night of the week). Most of them have a delivery option, and the best place to find them is Just-Eat. However, a quick Google Search will show every takeaway in your area.

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Leisure& Travel :

  • If you want to relax, there are plenty of things to do in Bradford; Cineworld Cinema, the Hollywood Bowl, the Ice Arena and the National Media Museum are just a few places you can go.
  • Bradford also has an IMAX cinema located at the National Media Museum  they do a lot of midnight showings and all the latest IMAX blockbusters.
  • Bradford has a thriving Independent quarter (around North parade at the top end of the city shopping area) with many quirky shops, bars and restaurants its a great place to meet people and hang out.

  • Still, being in Bradford for three or more years requires more than the aforementioned, so if you feel adventurous, feel free to visit the most popular surrounding areas. Some of these are: Saltaire, Ilkley,  Airedale, Keighley, Bingley which are only few minutes away by train.  If these are not enough, you might want to visit some of the bigger cities such as Leeds, Manchester, York or Sheffield. All of which are only an hour or so away via train or bus!



6 Events we look forward to every year at Uni!

  1. R.A.G (raise and give)

Normally highlighted by a week long event, RAG is designed to raise money for charities locally and national. Some University’s have dedicated societies that run RAG campaigns all year, while others have it run by a committee from within the Student Union. Either way its great to get involved in; from silly fancy dress, posh dances and sponsored activities to scavenger hunts, skydiving and jailbreaks. RAG is always great fun and you are doing something for other people, so you get to enjoy that warm fuzzy feeling.

  1. Halloween

October the 31st or whatever weekend falls the closest is a great time to be a student! Who doesn’t love dressing up? There are always house/ flat parties as well as some of the best club nights of the year! It also falls at a great time in the University calender, its close to the start of the year so you are not broke and you can still get away with turning up to lectures with a hangover- also if you are a fresher then its a good chance to test out the new friendships or forge new ones with that guy dressed as a Zombie gorilla in the kebab shop at 3am!

Halloween is an event not to be missed!

  1. Varsity

Even if you are not in to sports, you will be during Varsity! As a University student your honour is at stake as you play sports games against another local(ish) universities over the course of a few days/week. It is different at every university, but traditionally around 12 sports are played at one of the the hosting university’s sports facilities. The wining team takes the Varsity Cup and gets to spend the next 12 months lording it over the rival university.

varsity

  1. Elections

Running in them or just watching them play out, they can be a lot of fun! It also gives you a chance to practice being an ‘informed voter’ watching all the Hustings, speeches and campaigning on campus before you eventually pick the person with the best slogan/ costume. Its also a great time to play ‘election bingo’.

  1. Freshers

Freshers is great! There is nothing like it, and the good news is it gets better in your second year! You know the venues, you have friends and you know how to handle your drink! Nothing will be like your first year freshers it will always be a hazy glittery memory that can never be topped, but that doesn’t mean that you cant enjoy it every year!

freshers clip

  1. Bank Holidays

What is there not to love about them?! It’s a second Sunday! An extra day to be hungover, cramming for an exam, writing an assignment, surfing the net or sleeping!