Congratulations! Whether you’ve been accepted at Aberdeen or Robert Gordon University, you are one step closer to student life in the Granite City; the educational powerhouse of the North East. You’ll soon experience everything this city has to offer; from vibrant culture to world class teaching facilities.
Now, whilst being a student is an incredibly fun and exciting part of your life, a harsh reality is that most of us have to do it on a budget. Whilst it can be tempting to go out and replace your wardrobe once that first student loan installment comes in, being careful with your money is a necessity of student life and Aberdeen is no different. Here are a few tips for helping you budget accordingly.
Whether you are living on Kings Street or by the campus, in halls or in a private rented house, you are going to have to pay rent. It is the most important and usually the largest expenditure every month should be the first thing you pay. Falling into arrears is a dangerous game and landlords can and do evict students who can’t keep up. Keep on top of your rent and ensure it is paid off in a timely manner.
Aberdeen has a range of student hotspots, meaning there is something to suit every budget. Google ‘student accommodation Aberdeen ’ and you’ll find a number of options in and around each campus, the city and slightly further afield. For those on a budget, Tillydrone is just 15 minutes walk from Aberdeen University campus and is full of cheaper accommodation options.
The next thing you need to remember is utility bills. Whilst there is no council tax for most students, you will need to stay on top of water, gas, electricity and internet; quite a task for someone who has never lived away from home before. Many student landlords will actually throw in an all inclusive bills package along with the rent, which is definitely worth doing if just to save you the hassle. Landlords are also often able to negotiate cheaper rates with utility companies.
If you find you are struggling to keep up with utility bills it is important to get in touch with the relevant company. They are often very understanding and are prepared to figure out the best way for you to pay back what you owe.
Being a vibrant student city, Aberdeen has plenty in the way of nightlife and both Aberdeen and RGU have student unions in the city. Both offer cheap drinks and promotions throughout the week and on weekends, making them great places to start or end your night. There are student promotions across the city, meaning going out can easily be done on the cheap. Deals vary year on year but there is no doubt you’ll be plied with fliers trying to get you into bars throughout your fresher’s week and beyond.
Sadly, debt is now as much a part of student life as lectures or sport on Wednesday afternoons. The first thing to realise is that, managed sensibly, some debt is ok. During your time at Aberdeen it is highly likely that you’ll take out an overdraft or credit card in order to get through those final few weeks of term.
Most high street banks offer interest free overdrafts to students, which is a great way of accessing some emergency funds. Credit cards are also available although these will typically charge interest of anything up to 25% APR.
Try not to worry about the maintenance and tuition loans you are taking out. There is plenty of time to worry about paying these back once you have graduated!
Should You Get into Difficulty
No matter what your situation, if you find yourself really struggling to meet ends meet it is important you speak to your university’s advisory team. Both Aberdeen and RGU have dedicated support teams to who will be able to offer advice and guidance on managing your money. Moreover, both universities have a hardship fund that can be used to help you out if you are concerned you might not be able to carry on your studies. Don’t suffer in silence; there is plenty the university can do to help.