So, it’s a new year here at the University of St Andrews and already your calendar is filling up with activities. Some are bound to cost more than others. By the time we make the journey to university, many of us already know the basic tips: bring cash on nights out, make your own meals when possible, and take advantage of the cheaper pre-drinks. Yet what about books, groceries, food takeaway and travel? Where are some good places to scout out early this year? This guide aims to help.
You are starting a new course and are looking for affordable, used books before trying the Blackwell’s at the Student Union. Some of the best places to look are charity shops such Bernardo’s, the British Heart Foundation, and Oxfam, which often have textbooks donated by previous students. “Free and For Sale” pages on Facebook are also where you can find bargain book offers. Also, it’s worth using both the University and local library’s resources to your full advantage, along with various online archives of digitised texts. If possible, ask older students and your tutors to see what textbooks they recommend as the most useful as this will allow you to prioritize your reading list.
As a St Andrews student, you will quickly learn that the shops in the town center are relatively more expensive to elsewhere in the UK. The Sainsbury’s Local and Tesco Metro are somewhat products of price discrimination due to the town’s expensive real estate value and wealthy clientele. However, if you do frequent these shops, it’s definitely worth getting reward cards including Sainsbury Nectar, Tesco Clubcard and even a Boots savings card.
If you are willing to make the trek further from the town center, shops like Aldi, Morrisons, or the Costcutter (off Sandyhill Rd. and Tom Morris Dr.) make for comparatively cheaper groceries and sometimes provide a wider variety of choices.
It’s the weekend and you want to eat out. Perhaps it’s an outing with friends, or maybe it’s simply been a long week and you don’t feel like cooking. There are also lazy days where we all just want to order in with the popular service Deliveroo. This an inevitability and it shouldn’t have to break your bank.
However, on sites such as Save the Student, StudentBeans, UniDays and Voucher Codes, you can not only get discounts on restaurant chains, but also discounts on your Deliveroo price. If you’re craving pizza, Domino’s, Pizza Express, Prezzo, and Zizzi’s are among the many which offer discounts of about 30 percent.
Local restaurants also offer valuable student deals. Some noteworthy ones to explore might be the student take-away menus of Tulsi and Maisha. At Tulsi, for only £6.50, you get the choice of a starter, main, and naan bread. You can also get the famously large-portions of Maisha, with your choice of one starter and one main course, served with papadum, rice and any naan bread for £7.95. Furthermore, on Sundays after 6 pm at Blackhorn, you can get a burger, chunky fries and soft drink for only £6. Also, the Student Union’s Main Bar offers cooked meals for under £5 until 8 pm.
The most basic form of commuting around town is the local bus. It’s an excellent way to move not only around St Andrews, but also its neighboring areas. The St Andrews bus station (across from Martyrs Church) offers frequent buses to Dundee on the Stagecoach East Scotland 99 bus line for a reasonable price of about £5.
The bus company Moffat & Williamson also offers transport from Leuchars train station to the bus station for £3 and a 9B bus route to the St Andrews hospital.
Furthermore, if you are out in town past 10 pm, students are free to use the night bus which includes stops at the library, Union, some halls, and up past Morrisons.
If you can’t afford to wait for a bus’ timetable, there are also numerous taxi and shuttle services throughout the St Andrews area. When calling a car, it’s wise to consider the advertised market for each company. Given St Andrews’ location, several companies rely heavily on the clientele of incoming golfers.
To accommodate, many of these cars seat six or more (which can, unfortunately, show in the price tag). As such, it’s important to look at fleets with more modest-sized cars, like Club Cars which offers slightly lower, more competitive rates for short-distance travel. Furthermore, companies like the popular St. Andrews Shuttle offer deals for students who might be commuting from Edinburgh airport with £19 transfers.
If you are considering booking a cheap flight, either for university holiday or a quick revision-week jaunt, it might be worth considering budget airlines and student travel sites. If you can reconcile bringing only carry-on luggage for your brief European excursions, companies such as WOW air, Ryanair, or EasyJet might be your ticket. One compromise being that in exchange for your larger luggage, they can keep prices lower than competitors.
Additionally, student travel websites like StudentUniverse occasionally offer promotional deals on long-distance flights and tour packages. Especially if you are an international student, STA Travel offers both affordable flight plans and travel insurance for non-UK citizens flying from the UK.
Attending university is expensive enough, even without the additional expenses. By using these tips, we can all improve upon our questionable finances, and foster a smoother transition into adulthood.