Ready for University? Make the most of your student life without breaking the bank

Ready for University? Make the most of your student life without breaking the bank

It’s that time again, time to pack up your stuff and set off for a new beginning - student life. 


Freshers is well and truly here and for many that means going out with your mates, hitting the bars in your new surroundings and making the most out of your student loans. If you’re just about to start your university journey, or perhaps this is now a familiar routine for you, the last thing on your mind now will be packing, and with that means there is no doubt you’ll miss something so make sure you’re totally prepared with this essential list. 

Whether you’re someone who likes to plan way in advance, or perhaps you’re one to just ‘wing it’. Whatever your motto may be, don’t forget these crucial items!

There are plenty of student essential lists out there to help you, but this is like no other, this is the real talk. Student tips that I've learnt through my own practical experience. 



First things first, the important stuff:

  • A valid passport / driving license (to use as ID in fresher’s week!) 
  • University acceptance letter
  • Accommodation contract 
  • Student finance documents and any scholarship letters you may have
  • Insurance documents (check out our student insurance deals from Compare the Market, and you may qualify for Free Meals and Free Cinema tickets for the whole year!) 
  • Prescription copies 
  • Bank cards
  • Student discount cards 


Only bring things that you really couldn’t live without, the less you bring the easier it’ll be to keep track of. Often, you will not have much room at university so choose wisely. 

  • Mobile phone 
  • Laptop or tablet (and I would recommend a case) 
  • USB memory stick 
  • Extension lead
  • Headphones 
  • Portable speakers (Portable speakers travel much easier)
  • Games console and extra controller for multiplayer use 
  • Chargers 
  • Batteries 
  • OPTIONAL: Camera (if needed for your course)
  • OPTIONAL: Printer, and if you’re going to do it don’t forget the INK! (don’t forget every educational facility or local library will have a printer you can use) 

Don’t forget to check out the Voucher Shares gadget deals. Upgrade your mobile phone or laptop for less with Currys PC World voucher codes, find money saving printer and ink bundle deals from Cartridge People, and camera deals with Cannon voucher codes, treat yourself and replace that pair of headphones you haven’t seen for months, and much, much, more.


If you’re living it up in shared accommodation, then the likely hood is someone will have the essential cooking equipment you’re looking for (toasters, kettles, toastie makers) and more likely than not they will be happy to share. But from one student to another, I am giving you fair warning now that sharing is not always as you’d hope it’d be so choose wisely what you purchase for your University years as the truth is you will need to replace or throw it all away by Christmas. So, forget that matching set of pastel coloured knives or your fancy copper cooking equipment, really do try and stick to basics – you’d be surprised how much you can make do.

If you want to be that guy…

  • Toaster
  • Kettle
  • Toastie maker (not essential but will definitely give you brownie points)

And the rest of it…

  • Small cutlery set (4 lots of everything will do nicely) 
  • Plate
  • Bowl 
  • Mug (prepare for damage so don’t bring your favourites)
  • Glass 
  • Sharp knife (medium size) 
  • Tupperware (this stuff is like gold dust so stick to the cheap stuff and keep away from prying eyes)
  • Bottle opener 
  • Chopping board 
  • Kitchen Tongs (Rubber)
  • Spatula (Also rubber, your pans will thank me)
  • A Wok (If you don’t know, get to know)
  • Medium size Saucepan WITH LID 
  • Small frying pan 
  • Sieve (can double up as a colander) 
  • Peeler 
  • Can opener
  • Cheese grater 
  • Whisk 
  • 2 baking trays 
  • Oven glove 
  • Tea towel 
  • Tin foil and cling film

This is a great place to start and if you feel like taking your cooking seriously throughout the year you can always top up your list but keeping it simple to start will make it easier to keep track of and pack up again for summer. Find all of your kitchen essentials for less with Voucher Shares Nisbets voucher codes.


Your room at University will be a space that you can really make feel like home. Whilst communal areas are great to socialise in, your room will end up your home from home. Basic furniture should all be provided for you which will include at least a bed, desk, lamp, chair, wardrobe and a mirror but this is all worth checking prior to move in (be sure you know your bed size!).

  • Duvet with cover (make sure the TOG ((again, get to know)) is for all seasons) 
  • Pillows with cases
  • Bed sheets 
  • MATTRESS PROTECTOR (consider this as important as your mobile phone)
  • Coat hangers 
  • Laundry basket 
  • Small mirror for desk 
  • Clothes horse
  • Desk fan (especially if living in student halls)
  • Earplugs 
  • Photos of friends and family
  • OPTIONAL: Mattress topper (can be pricey but student mattresses are not known for their comfort).

Don’t be afraid to decorate your new room and make it your own but check out any restrictions on wall fixtures first (some accommodation does not allow blue tack but there’s plenty of ways to get around this). Put up some fairy lights, add some cushions or a blanket, maybe even a cheeky wall hanging. You can shop on budget for most of the above with B & Q voucher codes.


Top tip when packing bathroom items: think about your daily bathroom routine, any items you touch in the morning and evening should be packed. 

This means:

  • Big bath towel
  • Small hand towel (no this is not the same as a tea towel)
  • Dressing gown (personally, this is a top 5 must have. Great for those 3am fire alarms)
  • Shower mat
  • Hand soap 
  • Toothbrush 
  • Toothpaste 
  • Shampoo and/or conditioner 
  • Shower gel 
  • Toilet roll (and lot’s of it)
  • Hairbrush or comb 
  • Hair dryer and other hair gadgets 
  • Make up and remover 
  • Nail cutters
  • Tweezers
  • Plasters 
  • Razors and shaving cream 
  • Sanitary products for the ladies 
  • Pain killers 
  • Flushable anti-bacterial wipes (to keep things fresh)
  • Air freshener

Don’t forget contraceptives (yes, even you boys) and if wear contact lenses/ glasses or have any other daily medication don’t forget to pack that too. Get your Bathrrom list covered and save money with Boots discount codes.


Let’s get down to business – the stationary. It’s just like those Septembers when you were a kid, you go to your local WHSmith’s with your mum and find the coolest stationary you can which you know will be all lost by the end of the year but still you fall into the trap of vibrant colours and quirky pencil cases. Starting university, you are no different. A new stationary set really helps you feel as though you have your life together and you really, truly, believe that it’ll make you a better student – start as you mean to go on right? 

  • Black Pens. Excessive amounts of pens.
  • A Pencil 
  • Pencil case (it’s a nice idea anyway) 
  • Scissors 
  • A4 writing pads (several)
  • Folders 
  • Printer paper 
  • Post-It nots 
  • Calculator 
  • Sellotape
  • Paper clips and pins
  • Course textbooks that you cannot find in the library (you DO NOT need to purchase every single textbook in you reading list)

We’ve got plenty of deals on stationary to help you feel prepared, and if you want to choose an easy option - Amazon will get you covered.


In terms of clothing, pack realistically as it will need to travel easily - you do not need your whole wardrobe.

  • Every day clothes
  • Formal clothes (for those evenings with a dress code)
  • Smart clothes (think interviews)
  • Raincoat 
  • Winter coat 
  • Underwear 
  • Pyjamas 
  • Socks 
  • Gloves 
  • Hats
  • Shoes/ Trainers
  • Watch 
  • Handbag
  • Sports clothes/ Gym wear
  • Swimming gear 
  • Flip flops/ Sliders 
  • Fancy dress outfit

If you are looking to refresh your wardrobe in time for University then it’s not too late, Voucher Shares has plenty of discounts available on some of the top retailers. Get shopping now and express yourself. Check out our Fashion & Style voucher codes and dont forget about your Student Discount for many other brands. 

Miscellaneous items that you may come to need:

  • Rucksack/ Weekend bag
  • Multivitamins (dissolvable vitamin C tablets are a great hangover cure)
  • Umbrella 
  • Padlock 
  • Cash
  • Water bottle
  • Thermo Flask (for those cold morning 9am starts)
  • Hot water bottle 
  • Bicycle (check out great deals on bikes and biking equipment at Chain Reaction Cycles​ or Ribble Cycles)
  • Iron and ironing board 
  • Musical instrument (only bring if it’s something you use regularly)
  • Pack of cards (great to drinking games) 
  • Religious texts 
  • Keys for home 
  • Torch 
  • Hot water bottle 
  • OPTIONAL: Handheld hoover (you’ll either use it all the time, or never)

NOTE: DO NOT bring candles, incense or plug in fair lights or air fresheners as they are often banned in student accommodation due to posing a fire risk, a great alternative can be a diffuser (no one likes a smelly corridor). 

Amazon and have a massive choice of all the "extras".

And that’s it, your complete University list, from one student to another. Good luck with whatever you may be embarking on - these will be the best years of your life. 


Anna Taylor

AT - Resident Student Blogger 


More student tips from Anna:

New student? Here's 5 money saving survival tips.

Your student guide to saving money.


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