Student life in Manchester on a budget

A friend posted this article on FB. 10 tips for your room at university – from the Telegraph

What planet are they on? 
Who has a trunk? and who shops at John Lewis for Egyptian Cotton sheets? Well it is the Telegraph so go figure…

It made me think, if a friend of mine was coming to Uni in Manchester what would I tell them?

If your folks aren’t going to give you a lift with all your stuff, invest in a giant rucksack.
While not being as stylish as a pink leopard print wheelie case they do have a few advantages:

  •  Both of your hands are free to carry more stuff / text your mates / check what’s happening on FB while waiting for the bus.
  • Easier to get on and off buses – many Manchester buses do not have luggage space so cases are a pain.
  • You are going to have to walk either from the coach or train station to the bus station and at the other end – curbs, potholes and puddles play havoc with your wheelie case!

About public transport – Manchester has one of the best networks. If you are a student living in Fallowfield you are on the busiest bus route in Europe.

  •  Bus travel is cheap – it’s even cheaper if you get a weekly or termly pass.
  • In South Manchester there are 2 main bus companies. Finglands and Stagecoach (Magic bus is a subsidiary of stagecoach – the fares are a bit cheaper, but you can get a student weekly pass (Smart rider) that will get you travel on both.)
  • Finglands prices are similar to Magic bus. Magic bus are more numerous and often more packed!

Finding your way about

  • Buy an A-Z – they are cheap and easier to use than the teeny map on your phone
  • Pick up a campus map to see the quick routes around campus and to the train station.
  • If you live in Rusholme it’s probably as quick to walk in to uni as get a bus in rush hour.
  • Don’t rely on bus drivers, taxi drivers or people on the street to know where somewhere is, they are just as likely to be new to the area as you!

Cycling – a healthy option, but not so good for you if you get squished by a bus! (yes it happens regularly!)

  • Wear a helmet, use the cycle lanes, obey the traffic signals and don’t undertake buses.
  • Oxford road is mental in rush hour if you feel it is safe to do so use the back roads.
  • If you are parking your bike on campus get 2 locks, for the front and back wheels. Bike thieves are numerous and speedy so don’t leave anything on your bike that you ever want to see again!

Eating out

  • Fancy a curry in the famous curry mile – (Rusholme)? If you want good food, be nice to the staff and avoid Friday and Saturday nights when large rowdy parties take over and generally annoy the staff.
  • Look out for 2- 4 -1 offers, diners clubs, and voucher codes to get you money off your favourite places to eat and drink.
  • Don’t do the 3 am post club curry. You can’t afford it, won’t eat most of it , and probably won’t remember you had it in the morning.

 Being healthy

  • If you are not a sports team type, join one of the gyms on campus. Armitage, Sugden or Aquatics Centre  – there are plenty to choose from and they often do some really cheap deals. (About £13/ month at the moment, for swimming, classes and gym) No need to join one of the posh gyms unless you absolutely have to have a non fat latte after your yoga class!
  • If you don’t go to the gym 2 – 3 times a week don’t buy a membership – get your induction and pay as you go.
  • Water is free it comes out of a tap and keeps you hydrated – who could ask for a better drink? Many campus buildings have watercoolers so fill up your bottle for free.
  • Learn to cook –  it’s cheaper and healthier than takeout.

 Shopping  Manchester has plenty to tempt you – from designer boutiques to alternative gear at Afflecks.

  • Check out the charity shops – second hand designer handbags, nearly new clothes and household goods, many still have the original sales tags on them.
  • Check out the designer outlet stores there are some at The Lowry Outlet in Salford and Lots at Cheshire Oaks (you will need a car for that one though)
  • Sign up for voucher codes to find out about sales and discounts at your favourite retailers.
  • Organise a fashion swap party with your mates  – get rid of all that stuff that was “so last season” or doesn’t fit and see if you can get a new look.
  • You’ll need a new hairdo to go with all your new gear – watch out for student discounts and free or cheap cuts with trainee stylists or at academies.
  • If you like all your new goodies – LOCK UP and put the alarm on.

Making money

  • Get a part-time job – check what we have to offer log into Careerslink and select part-time jobs.
  • Look around when you are out shopping, many stores will put adverts for staff in the window.
  • Don’t just look near the university venture out into the suburbs – you will find less competition.
  • Use your vacations wisely – never mind bungee jumping on your gap year (Telegraph article) do a placement or internship. They can pay well but will be competitive, so you will need to show a track record of skills and achievements on your CV.
  • If you are going to try to get an internship then study hard. DO NOT BELIEVE those people who say you only need to get 40% in your first year exams.  That may be all you need to pass, but companies who offer paid internships look at your first year grades and 40%  is not good enough!

Make friends and influence people

  • Join a student society – there are loads of free or cheap events and if you get involved and help organise them it will look great on your CV.
  • Join the international society – it’s open to everyone. For UK and international students alike socialising is a great way to learn or improve a language for free.
  • Volunteer – get involved in community events and make a difference, it may help you find paid work in the future.

and finally …The weather

Yes it rains and it’s certainly not the Costa del Sol here! But it’s really not that bad.

  • Invest in some fab funky wellies, save your designer shoes for dry days!
  • Umbrellas  – the wind will break it first time out or you will leave it on a bus, so just get a cheap one.
  • Waterproof coats – well I’m sure your mum would approve,  but lets face it how many of us have one?  Stick a hoodie on and run for it!

One Response to Student life in Manchester on a budget

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