The average UK student can expect to spend around £283 on Freshers’ Week activities, although this amount will vary depending on where you choose to study.
What is Freshers’ Week, and how much should you expect to budget for your first significant uni rite of passage?
What is Freshers’ Week?
At UK universities, Freshers’ Week is a week-long orientation for first-year students, or freshmen, which takes place before the official academic year starts. This gives new students the chance to make friends and find their feet in a strange new city, before getting down to work. It’s all about embracing your new-found independence as you begin the next phase of your life.
Uni parties, concerts and town tours are all part of the Freshers’ Week line-up, with students in fancy dress exploring all the local hotspots. Another long-standing tradition is the Freshers’ Fair, which encourages first-years to join a range of clubs and societies.
When Does Freshers’ Week Start?
For most unis, Freshers’ Week takes place in mid to late September, which the exception of Scotland where the event usually runs for a full two weeks, and so begins a little earlier in the month.
Note that the 2020 Freshers’ Week dates may differ, due to the current concerns around COVID-19.
Freshers’ Week Spending around the UK
The cost of Freshers’ Week will vary depending on where you go to university. For example, a recent survey by the money app Yolt revealed the following stats about 2019 Freshers’ Week spending in different cities around the country
|City||Avg. Amount per Student|
Smart Spending Tips for Freshers’ Week
If you’re still getting used to budgeting for yourself, it can be hard to keep track of your expenses during Freshers’ Week – there are so many exciting things to experience, after all. But on top of all that partying, you’ll also need to start paying for your own groceries, toiletries and textbooks, taking a major toll on your bank balance.
Here are a few tips for surviving Freshers’ Week without going broke:
- First, work out your income. How much money do you have available for the month? This includes savings, loans, bursaries and scholarships.
- Estimate how much you’ll need to spend on essential costs – rent, food, utilities, insurance etc. – and put aside the money you need for those expenses, rather than spending it on Freshers’ Week events.
- Freshers’ Week has so much to offer, and it can be tempting to try and do it all, but that means pushing yourself – and your budget – too far too fast. Don’t let FOMO get the best of you!
- Many unis provide a freshers’ pass or wrist-band, a once-off cost of between £15 and £150 that will get you into the main Freshers’ Week events. This will help you to decide between “essential” events and “extra” events.
- Make a list of the top 5 – 10 events you want to attend and work out how much they will cost you. If you go over budget, remove your least favourite activity from the list. If you still have a bit to spare, you can add a couple more “bonus” activities.
- Look at your variable costs to decide where you can cut back. Spending less on food and fashion in the first month means you’ll have more money available to join in those “unmissable” activities.
- Look for bargains, student discounts, and loyalty cards to help you save on expenses in the long run. Many uni towns have a wide variety of special offers for local students.
With a little planning and some common sense, Freshers’ Week can be a truly unforgettable start to your uni experience, in all the best ways!