Useful Tips for When Going Away to University

As a mum of 3 in her 40’s currently studying for Masters in Law via distance learning, my undergraduate university days are in the distant past. With Freshers Week coming up in the next couple of months (around the end of September), I thought it would be useful if I put together a checklist of items you may need for going away to university, as for most people it will be the first time living away from home and having to kit out your room by yourself.

For a lot of people, moving away from home and all the comforts that go with it can be very daunting, so here are a few things that you may need to take with you:

  • Bath and hand towels
  • Bedding – sheets, duvet, pillows, duvet cover, throw etc.
  • Tea towels
  • Crockery
  • Pans
  • Cooking utensils
  • Baking trays
  • Cutlery
  • Glassware
  • Table mats & coasters
  • Microwave
  • Washing powder, stain remover & fabric softener
  • Washing up liquid, cloths and scourers
  • Toiletries – toothpaste, dental tape, mouthwash, shampoo, conditioner, sanitary products, shaving foam, moisturiser, make up remover, cosmetics, razors/hair removal cream etc.
  • Clothes, shoes and fashion accessories
  • Safe
  • Mobile phone & charger
  • Laptop & charge lead, multifunction printer and lead
  • Mobile internet dongle – if there is no WIFI where you will be living
  • Liquid soap
  • Freezer/fridge – in places with a communal fridge you can find that there is not much space available to store your frozen or chilled food. If space in your room allows, a small fridge or freezer can be godsend.
  • Pencil case/pot, pens, pencils, highlighters, sticky notes, pen eraser fluid, ruler, rubber, pencil sharpener, calculator etc.
  • Academic diary
  • A4 lined ruled pad
  • Printer paper
  • TV – don’t forget to buy a TV licence

Note – it can be worth checking in advance what will be provided at your student accommodation.

Tips on keeping costs low:

  • Using retailers such as Poundland, Farm Food and ALDI can keep the cost of food and household products down.
  • Look out for the marked down items on supermarket shelves. You can get to know the times of day to visit and maximise availability of such items.
  • Look out for special offers at supermarkets such as 2 for 1 or a discount when you buy so many of a certain item.
  • Consider buying own brand items. They can work out cheaper than branded ones. A lot of supermarkets offer a budget range of basic products too such as baked beans or tomatoes.
  • Consider teaming up with other students and prepare meals together. This can mean less wastage and you can split the cost of the food bill.
  • Find ingenious ways to make meat spread across several meals. E.g. A chicken could be used for a Sunday roast but then a chicken curry or casserole the following day.
  • If you need to travel via public transport to campus, a monthly pass can work out cheaper than buying ad hoc tickets or a weekly pass.
  • Look out for stores which give a student discount – every penny counts. is a great website to see which stores offer a student discount.

I hope that this post makes your life easier. If there are other essentials we may have missed, then please let us know by leaving a comment below.

While it may be daunting moving away from home for the first time, it will be an enjoyable experience. All the best with your studies.

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