Frugal Freshers’: How Much Money do you need for the UK and Ireland’s Cheapest Freshers’ Weeks?

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Freshers’ Week is a long-held tradition and a rite of passage for uni students all over the UK and Ireland. Attending the many university-organised Freshers’ Week events is the perfect way to get to know your new home and make a few friends before the hard work starts! But how much money do you need for Freshers’ Week? The average student can expect to spend around £20 to £40 (€23 to €47) per night on Freshers’ Week activities, although this amount will vary depending on where you choose to study. To help you budget for your first significant uni rite of passage, we researched 13 university towns and cities renowned for their affordability and rank them in order of Freshers’ Week costs. Read on to discover what Freshers’ Week is about and where the cheapest Freshers’ Weeks are.


What is Freshers’ Week?

At university, Freshers’ Week is a week-long orientation for first-year students, known as Freshers, 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 newfound 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, often 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 is Freshers’ Week?

For most unis, Freshers’ Week starts mid to late September, which the exception of Scotland where it usually runs for a full two weeks and so begins a little earlier in the month.  


Freshers’ Week Costs around the UK and Ireland: Where has the cheapest Freshers’ Week events?

We researched the prices of different Freshers night out essentials for different university towns and cities known for their affordability. If you’re looking to enjoy a couple of drinks and scrumptious doner kebab at a nightspot in your new city before taking a cab back to campus, here’s how much a Freshers’ Week night out costs in the UK and Ireland’s cheapest university towns:


Affordable Accommodation for Uni Students

Nights out and events aren’t the full picture. As a student, you’ve got to budget for accommodation costs too. The towns and cities above have a variety of self-catering private and shared accommodation available to help students settle in and feel at home during their uni years. Here’s a look at student rent costs in the UK and Ireland’s most affordable university towns and cities:


The Cheapest Freshers’ Weeks in the UK and Ireland Ranked

Adding it all together, the cheapest Freshers’ Weeks for nights out and accommodation are as follows:

Click to enlarge

Map and table of the UK and Ireland's cheapest Freshers' Weeks


Tips for Freshers’ Week 2021


Smart student budgeting 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, textbooks and other essentials, 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 student budget – too far too fast. Don’t let FOMO get the best of you! • Many unis provide a freshers’ pass or wristband at a one-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 university towns have a wide variety of special offers for local students.  


Staying safe from COVID-19

Many Freshers’ Week events were cancelled last year and replaced with online alternatives due to lockdown regulations. While the country is opening up and Freshers’ Week 2021 looks set to include in-person gatherings, it’s important to keep making smart choices and taking precautions to protect your health. Here are a few tips to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 during Freshers’ Week gatherings. • Look up the venue online beforehand to see if they have put safety measures in place. • Look for outdoor events you can enjoy, like market days and concerts. • Avoid very crowded events in smaller venues, especially those that go over the recommended capacity. • Avoid venues with bad ventilation. • Wear a cloth mask and keep a safe distance from others. • Don’t share cups or bottles with friends; bring your own reusable water bottle. • Avoid sharing meals or drinks from the same plates or glasses. • Take a travel-sized bottle of hand sanitiser everywhere in case you’re stuck without a place to wash your hands. • Don’t touch your mouth, nose or eyes with unwashed hands. • If you think you may have COVID-19, stay home and follow NHS guidance.


Now you’re ready for Freshers’, find budget student accommodation in university towns across the UK and Ireland

Visit our website to find the best student accommodation options in your city. Fresh wishes all of you a safe, fun and unforgettable Freshers’ Week!   Method Data on prices of items in different locations was sourced from Uber, Uber Eats, Expatistan and Numbeo.

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