How to do Edinburgh Freshers’ on a budget

Your overdraft is not your friend

Ah, Freshers’ Week – a truly unforgettable time waking up and not remembering what happened last night, or even anyone’s name in your accommodation. Unfortunately, however hazy your memory might be of the night before, your bank account always remembers. So, what’s the best way to do Freshers’ Week on a budget, without being a hermit in your room all week?

Get your priorities straight.

If you’re spending any money that isn’t on food, drink or going out you’re not going to get very far. Seriously, the Edinburgh Castle can wait, your accommodation probably has enough historically old, damp walls for you to stare at in the meantime.

Easy on the eyes, not so easy on the wallet

Don’t eat out

Restaurants are expensive, pot noodle isn’t. The microwave and kettle are your friends, resist the temptation to spend £3 on a disappointing meal deal – now that Taste the Difference sandwiches are off the menu, is there really any point? Also, don’t even think about takeaways, Dominoes especially – who thinks £17 is an acceptable amount to spend on a pizza? Is the dough made with gold leaf or maybe the stale tears of angels? The temptation to stop off at Pizza Paradise or Che’s for some cheesy chips may sometimes be too great, but just keep your cupboard filled with better (cheaper) munch so you won’t be stuffing your face on the street at 3am, you can hide your shame in your room instead – much better!

This is probably about £35 of food right here – disgraceful


Lidl is love,

Lidl is life,

I worship it more than Jesus Christ.

Amen. If you’re not already shopping at Lidl, convert. They have the lowest prices around and the quality isn’t bad at all.  However, even if you don’t like the food, you can’t argue with the price of the booze, they’ve got some seriously nice unbranded beer, wine and spirits that’s way cheaper than any other outlet. If you’re seriously scraping, the Lidl box wine is only a fiver, making it probably the most cost effective way to drink. Bottles are for wimps, saving money isn’t.

Tesco / Sainsbury’s basics

Most of the time these two big chains can take students for a ride, but the Basics range is a game changer. You can literally do a whole weekly shop on these bad boys in the larger supermarkets, with prices that give Lidl a run for its money. It’s literally the same as all their other stuff but it’s got a funny label on it, a badge of pride amongst cheapskates.

Going out

Now that you’ve sunk a whole box of wine in pres, you’re more than ready to go out, probably because you’re sick of small talk and need to get away from the mechanical engineer who’s been chewing your ear off about his future prospects and life ambitions. As long as you actually end up making it to the club, you’ve got to be vigilant to make sure you don’t blow through your student loan on something you might not remember. It’s all too easy to buy someone a shot of tequila for nodding in your general direction; calm down, you’re not Jordan Belfort – you’re in Hive.

seven quid jaeger bombs… you’re having a laugh

If you’re likely to ignore all of this at the slightest whiff of alcohol then you might not want to even bother bringing your card out. Or, alternatively, you could just ‘borrow’ some of the drinks people have thoughtfully left out for you, unattended, desperate to be drunk. Really you’re doing the world a public service, letting nothing going to waste – it’s as close as I get to caring about recycling. But apart from anything else, it’s free booze, and if you’re broke, you can’t argue with that.