Ask advice and have a great time

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When I went up to study in Newcastle in 1963 the maximum maintenance grant was £320. Somehow I survived. I even managed to spend some nights at the Agogo nightclub dancing to groups such as The Animals. I also played rugby with internationals such as Ken Goodall, Ray McCloughlin and Brian Keen. Sad, isn't it, that I can still remember such details?

When I went up to study in Newcastle in 1963 the maximum maintenance grant was £320. Somehow I survived. I even managed to spend some nights at the Agogo nightclub dancing to groups such as The Animals. I also played rugby with internationals such as Ken Goodall, Ray McCloughlin and Brian Keen. Sad, isn't it, that I can still remember such details?

But life at university is for enjoying; not only talking to and listening to experts in their fields but also for engaging in all manner of extramural activities which promise real fulfilment.

I am always surprised, even thinking back to my own experience, how first-time house buyers manage to rake up the necessary cash for the deposit and get their first mortgage. Perhaps 25 years on, when they see their own sons and daughters going off to university or college, they wonder how they managed it at the time too. And it can be done. You can survive as a student even on the relatively reduced financial support which students these days experience.

Remembering always to keep an eye on the future and how a graduate job will pay well and enable you to provide for your family, think of the simple things of economic life such as budgeting. Look at the money that you have and then decide how much you will allocate to rent, books, socialising, food and so on. If you want to spend X pounds on beer each week, and then find that by Wednesday you have already spent your allocation, be disciplined and stop spending on beer.

Learn techniques on buying food and how to cook it. Swallow your pride and ask mum or dad on how to buy food cheaply. Ask how to cook economically. Remember, for example, that supermarket own brands are always manufactured by those who sell under their own brands at a more expensive rate. Find out where the cheap gigs are, and where you might be let in free of charge before a certain time.

Get hold of a copy of Student Money Matters, published by Trotman, which is quite the best book I know on how students should manage their finances. Just be careful. Don't go mad and you'll have a great time.

Tony Higgins is Chief Executive at UCAS

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