Starting College – Guide to Saving Money & Integrating into Third Level Education

The cost of attending college in Ireland is rising by the year. Parents contribute an average of €428 per month towards cover college expenses, and this is supplemented by 51% of students also working throughout the academic year to cover costs.  According to D.I.T.’s Student Cost of Living Guide, the annual cost of living for a student living away from home is €10,976. On average, 40% of students receive higher education grants to help with materials and living expenses.

Most colleges charge an annual student contribution, previously called the student services charge. The student contribution rose by €250 in this year to €2,750 for 2014-2015. This is only the beginning of the expenditure.

In Ireland, 44% of third level students are now living away from home. Rental prices across Ireland are rising significantly, especially in the last twelve months due to a significant shortage of affordable housing. Consequently students can potentially be charged rent at extortionate prices as landlords look to capitalise on desperation. With third level education at such a premium, it is important to make the very most of opportunities presented.

While living at home is the cheapest option, campus accommodation is the ideal scenario for students starting college where this is not suitable. Although campus accommodation can potentially be pricey there are big savings to be made on transport as the likelihood is that the student accommodation will be within walking distance of college. This is also a great way for new students to settle in and make new friends quickly. Students moving into student accommodation together will not find it hard to bond, as they will be going through similar experiences. Settling quickly will help to avoid potential homesickness and stress, although this is not a problem for many as students are glad of the freedom third level education offers them.

If you are not lucky enough to get student accommodation do not fear. Staying in digs with a family can be a much cheaper alternative, and some digs include meals. Although this can present itself as quite a lonely option it is often not the case as it encourages students to stay with friends after nights out resulting in comradery and also can provide the safety net of living with a family. Students moving into houses or apartments with friends must be wary of high rental prices. Rents nationwide have increased by an average of 9% over the past year with Dublin experiencing the highest rise with a 14% increase in price. There are potential risks if a house descends into chaos or is not properly maintained such as losing the security deposit. Independent housing does not have the same supervision or boundaries as digs or student accommodation. Therefore, it is important to move in with the right people to keep a correct balance, so if possible, try meeting potential house mates prior to agreeing to move in.

Students are most likely going to be moving into a strange environment with lots of people, so it is important that they make themselves comfortable with their surroundings. This can be as simple as unpacking for some but more difficult for others. There are some general guidelines for getting along with new housemates. You must respect other people’s possessions, try not to borrow without asking and always be conscious that you are living with other people. Do not have groups of friends or study groups over too often if it interferes with another housemate’s routine or makes them feel uncomfortable. It is also important to establish boundaries by making sure small things are nipped in the bud before they become huge problems (which they inevitably will!). This can be achieved through open communication, which in the long run helps towards a happy living situation.

Now we come to the actual beginning and registration phase of college. The importance of orientation week cannot be overstated. This is where students can do the most bonding activities and meet other students in their class and in similar situations to themselves. Students can do the simple things like register for a college email, get a student card and take a tour of the library. These things may not seem particularly important initially but will save a lot of hassle later in the semester when the pressure is on and exams are looming. Orientation week is also the time when students should join groups, sports and societies. This is a great opportunity to step outside a comfort zone to make new friends and try new experiences. To make friends in your class and do well, it is important to attend lectures. This is absolutely vital as you will have the notes you need come exam time and friends to share the stress and exam tips with. Friends in your class is also the best way to create study groups and timetables, and makes the whole experience a lot more convenient.

Remember you go to college for education. Pick subjects that appeal to your interests and make sure to engage fully in those subjects even if you are not particularly fond of one subject (often these are the ones that require more time and effort). This is a good way to pinpoint your academic strengths and weaknesses which will lead you to easily picking your major. A good idea is to shake things up with a random elective. This keeps it interesting and allows you to study outside of your perspective field. Exam time is obviously stressful for students but there are certain things you can do minimise stress. First of all make a study timetable in manageable hour blocks to make the task seem less daunting. Then have pre prepared frozen dinners at the ready so you will not have to waste time on cooking. Prepare these a few weeks in advance, simple things like lasagne or curry. Then make sure to leave adequate time for each subject to avoid stressful cramming. Having the main topics in a module summarised throughout the year can save days of note making when it gets to those crucial few weeks before exams. But be wary of people asking to copy notes that have taken you weeks to write out!

Students will also have to cope with the simple things that might not seem so simple to them. If you have any issues or problems settling in, support services are available in most colleges. Things like laundry and cooking can seem daunting initially, and will undoubtedly result in some clothes being shrunk along with an abundance of spaghetti bolognese. This is all a learning curve as students learn about their abilities and how to manage a budget. Remember help guides, videos and recipes for cheap dishes can be found quickly online.

The cost associated with starting college apart from the obvious student contribution and rent can be scary. Students should look to pick up second-hand books wherever they can as some of the new books are very expensive. Often the professor or lecturer will offer advice on where to pick up older copies of the textbook for cheaper prices. If buying new text books, remember to cover with laminate and keep in good condition for resale at the end of the year. A trick learned throughout my college career is that a copy borrowed from the library can often be photocopied and then professionally bound for a cheaper price.

Any student budget will have to incorporate costs such electricity, phone bills, internet bills and food. Eat healthy as there is the urge to live off pasta and chicken fillet rolls five times a week. Convenience is not always the best option, especially if it affects your health in the long-term. When grocery shopping, watch out for weekly deals in all supermarkets. Savings can be made on shopping with discounts for top brands and local services such as hairdressers by using coupons or voucher codes for online shopping. The largest selection of discounts can be found on www.voucherpages.ie.

For mobile phones, make sure that you are on the right mobile plan by getting the different mobile operators to recommend a plan for you based on your calls, data and SMS text messaging patterns. Remember Wi-Fi is freely available in most student venues and on campus, so maybe you do not need any data on your plan. If you are a heavy user of your phone, maybe a pre-pay mobile plan would be the best option to limit your activity so that you do not get into trouble.

It is of course vital that students relax, enjoy and socialise throughout university life but also be aware of the potential risks. It is important to go out and socialise with others, so that you gain life experiences. Organisation and common sense is needed to know when a night out can be had and when to say no, whether it be for academic or financial reasons.

Many will encounter drink and even illegal drugs over the course of third level education years. Beware of the dangers and risks associated with binge drinking or drug taking. If you are drinking, it is important to drink in moderation.

College is a time when many young adults come into contact with the opposite or same sex and engage in sexual activity. There has been a rise in sexually transmitted diseases and many do not have any symptoms but can cause serious long-term complications. It is important to always practice safe sex. If you are sexually activity, STI testing, advice and health checks are available at a reduced rate in many universities.

Many students will use one of their summers to travel abroad with many opting to go stateside with a J1 visa. Any student in third level education is eligible for a J1 working visa to the USA. These can be very pricey so a student loan may have to be considered. Ensure that you have the means to pay this back or that you have been working steadily throughout the college year to finance yourself. These trips abroad or J1s usually have to be booked around February to avail of the cheapest rates and book embassy meetings. These experiences come highly recommended as you may not get the chance to travel again for a long time and it is a shame not to avail of the opportunity.

It is important not to pick a career on fads. Do not choose a career path because you think it will earn you a lot of money in future. What is in demand today may not be by the time you finish third level education. Look at anyone who was looking to pursue a career in architecture ten years ago. This would have been a job with huge financial reward but over the past few years, many with an architecture degree had to leave the country to find work. Pick your future career on your interests and your strengths. An internship can be a great way to get practical work experience and give you a leg up on competition. Although this may involve giving up one of your summers it can be an invaluable experience and looks great on the CV. This in turn will lead to better career opportunities. After college, the Jobbridge national internship scheme provide work placement with a €50 per week on top of existing social welfare entitlement.

Social media practices and posting is never forgotten. Make sure to post nothing incriminating to social media or anything that may jeopardise a future career. Social media is readily available to anybody. Between Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn it is not hard to find out a great deal about somebody, so do not put anything up that you would not wish to explain or be embarrassed about in the future. Be careful about security and privacy settings, as it may come back to haunt you in years to come or you may share personal items such as photographs. However, Facebook can be a very useful tool during college. Facebook allows people to keep in regular contact whether it is in groups for college where documents can be easily uploaded or to organise social outings.

Hopefully these guidelines and tips will help you in beginning life in third level education and remember to enjoy every minute of it as college years are often the best years of an individual’s life.

Download our free money saving guide, Spend Time Spending Less, at http://www.voucherpages.ie/save-money-online.

Posted in Money Saving Tips | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Win Electric Picnic Tickets, Win €150 Ticketmaster Voucher

The biggest Summer festival of the year is almost here. Win tickets!

Marks & Spencer Online Store

€10 off M&S voucher + 50% sale

Get Voucher>


Win Electric Picnic Tickets

Enter our partner’s competition to win 2 tickets to Electric Picnic festival. We love saving you money whether it is by giving away gift vouchers or through free coupons.
Competition CLOSED
eBookers12% off voucher for hotel booking

Get Vouchers>


Win €150 Ticketmaster Voucher

Enter our partner’s competition to win €150 ticketmaster voucher to spend on any event.
Competition CLOSED


Rathmines & Churchtown Medical Centres

€200 off botox or €81 off doctor

Get Vouchers>


Yoga Therapy & Training Centre

€30 for unlimited yoga classes

Get Vouchers>


Geoghegan Conservatory Conversions 

€450 off conservatories

Get Voucher>

Posted in Competitions | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Back to School Tips for Money Conscious Parents

Back-to-school time in September can be a costly affair for any family. In the current economic climate we realise families are extremely budget conscious when purchasing back-to-school items such as books and uniforms. With this in mind we have some money saving tips for parents to cut down on annual expenses.

Wary consumers will undoubtedly look for discounts anywhere they can find them. Using voucher codes allows for discounted access to a whole range of school products. Check VoucherPages.ie for the largest choice of discounts.

One of the biggest expenses will certainly be the school uniform. Mums and dads must provide their children with full school uniforms, everything from jumpers, trousers, shirts, coats, ties and shoes for boys to cardigans, skirts, blouses and blazers for girls. In certain schools a second-hand uniform sale is held during the summer, which is an excellent way to pick up low price uniforms. This can be a great way to save money even if you can only pick up certain items of clothing. Shopping around for generic items like grey skirts or trousers is an efficient way to get parts of the kids’ uniform and get value for money. If the official school jumpers have crests then this can be a budget way to complete the uniform. Uniforms over the course of the school year will inevitably suffer some wear and tear but hand-me-downs can be worth a look for. Ask relatives or neighbours if they have any second hand uniforms that may be useful. If parents must buy new uniforms then know that a perfect fit is not always the perfect fit. Buy uniforms and shoes one size too big so that the kids can grow into them as opposed to buying a completely new uniform. The same ideas can be applied to P.E tracksuits. Ensure to label all of the children’s clothing so that they don’t simply lose them in the first week and require a costly replacement.

Similarly you can reduce expenses by buying second hand books. Pick up whatever you can second hand and ensure with all new school books that they are kept in good condition by adding protective covering and not writing on them, so they can be sold at the end of the year. This can be a great way to generate a little bit of bonus revenue. Some book stores will be offering early discounts on back-to-school books so it is important to try and get the books as early as possible. Watch out for back-to-school promotions and sales.

For generic stationary and art supplies it is important to buy in bulk and avail of discounts. These items will always be used so do not be afraid to purchase a good deal instead of one-by-one.

Keep the children healthy with fresh packed lunches. This is not hard to achieve through a little bit of organisation. A big shop at the start of the week can sort all the sandwiches, juice boxes and treats that the children will need for the whole week. This also enables you to control the kids’ diets and not give them too many sweets.

In terms of travel expenses it completely depends on individual situations. Avail of free bus service if it is available or walk if the distance is short enough. Alternatively you can organise with fellow parents to carpool in order to save on time and fuel expenses. Buy bus, train or DART child tickets. Monthly and annual tickets can be the cheapest option. Cycling is another great option and it will keep the children fit and healthy. Remember to wear a helmet and bring lights in the Winter time.

It is crucial to reward children for good behaviour in school whether for doing their homework, proper conduct in class or even good grades. A very effective method is devising a points system where children earn points for good behaviour. This encourages good behaviour and inspires the kids to do well but also allows the opportunity for points to be taken away when they are bold. When the child reaches so many predetermined points they receive a treat. You can reward your kid with anything from a colouring book to a computer game so long as good behaviour is reinforced.

After-school activities are also important for a child’s development, health and making friends. Encourage your kids to engage in sports. Get them involved in soccer, GAA, camogie, dancing and rugby. Unfortunately there will also be certain expenses associated with these sporting activities but they are nothing when compared with the long term effects of an unhealthy lifestyle! Whether they need sports gear, boots, balls or jerseys find them at discount prices on VoucherPages.ie

A little bit of organisation goes a long way. Be aware of your budget all the time and realise that there will be once-off expenses like school trips that are inevitable. Having organisation and sense is the only way to prepare for these kinds of things if you are not given an official calendar.

Get the free money saving guide, Spend Time Spending Less, at http://www.voucherpages.ie/save-money-online.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Competition Win €100 One4all Gift Voucher

Win

Thanks for reading the VoucherPages.ie newsletter for local coupons. Save money with a choice of  thousands of free vouchers, deals and coupons for shopping, beauty salons, hairdressers, hotels, restaurants, takeaways, fashion, motoring and more. Add info@voucherpages.ie to your email address list. Enter our competition today.


Win €100 One4all Gift Voucher

Enter VoucherPages.ie competition to win €100 One4all gift voucher. We love saving you money whether it is by giving away gift vouchers or  giving you access to exclusive coupons and vouchers for shopping nationwide or using local services
Prize is €100 One4all gift voucher.
Competition closes 31st July 2014.
Open to Republic of Ireland residents with an address in Republic of Ireland only.
Only one entry per person.
Winner will be notified by telephone.
Contact details are used for purposes of sending prize to winner.
By entering competition, you agree to subscribe for VoucherPages.ie voucher email alerts.
Competition Promoter is Voucher Pages Limited.
Prize is not transferable.
By accepting prize, winner agrees to have name used for publicity purposes.
Prizes will be forfeited if contact cannot be made with the winner within 3 working days of the competition end date.
Entrants must be 18 years or older. Winners of any prize draw must be 18 years of age or older to claim prizes.
The judges’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.
Once the winner has been confirmed the prize will be delivered to them via post.
This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook or its partners or application developers. You are providing your information to the owner or operator of this Facebook page and not to Facebook or any of its partners or application developers.


Coupons on your Smartphone

Download Free Android App

Posted in Competitions | Leave a comment

Vouchers for Boohoo, Nike, Beauty, Day Spa, Hair


Nike Store

10% off Voucher + 30% Sale

Facebook    Twitter    


Boohoo

10% off Voucher + 70% Sale

Facebook    Twitter    


Yoga Passion Dublin

€20 – 3 Yoga Classes (€22 off)

Facebook    Twitter    


Pilates Peformance Ireland

€79 – 10 Pilates Classes (€46 off)

Facebook    Twitter    


Visona Beauty Salon

€20 off Beauty Salon

Facebook    Twitter    


Harvest Moon Centre

Half Price Float + Massage

Facebook    Twitter    


Rum Toffee Creative Hair

€19 Wash, Cut & Dry (60% off)

Facebook    Twitter    


Emi Physical Therapy

€39 Physical Therapy (€66 off)

Facebook    Twitter    

Posted in Coupons | Leave a comment

Discount Codes for eBookers, Expedia, Hotels.com, Hill Top Treks

Save money on travel and entertainment with exclusive discount vouchers.


Hilltop Treks Coupon

Two for the Price of One

Facebook    Twitter    


XE Marketplace

€5 off Movies & Games

Facebook    Twitter    


Expedia Dublin Hotel

10% off Voucher + 40% Sale

Facebook    Twitter    


Hotels.com

10% Voucher + 40% Sale

Facebook    Twitter    


eBookers

12% off Voucher + 50% Sale

Facebook    Twitter    


Hot Stone Massage Spa

Half Price Treatment

Facebook    Twitter    


Bonagrew Stables

€20 Horse Riding Lessons

Facebook    Twitter    


Marks & Spencer Online Store

20% off Schoolwear

Facebook    Twitter    


Bar 52 Deal

€22 for Two Steak Dinners

Facebook    Twitter    


National Maritime Museum of Ireland

20% off Entrance Fee

Facebook    Twitter    

Posted in Coupons | Leave a comment

72% off Leisure Centres, Gyms, Exercise Classes, Yoga, Football

Money savings with health and fitness deals for a healthy body and a healthy wallet.


Puma Online Store

50% Sale + €10 Puma Coupon

Facebook    Twitter    


DLR Leisure Services

72% off DLR Leisure

Facebook    Twitter    


Aura Leisure Centres

62% off Leisure Centres

Facebook    Twitter    


Integral Fitness & Leisure

€40 Any 10 Exercise Classes

Facebook    Twitter    


Yoga Therapy & Training Centre

€30 Unlimited Yoga Classes

Facebook    Twitter    


Total Laser Health

€40 Laser Therapy

Facebook    Twitter    


Verve Gyms Swords, Dunboyne, Ratoath

60% off Gyms

Facebook    Twitter    


AA Vitality Room

€20 Orthopaedic Sport Massage

Facebook    Twitter    


The D4 Clinic

€74 off Weight Loss

Facebook    Twitter    


Chiropractic First Terenure or Malahide

75% off Chiropractor

Facebook    Twitter    

Posted in Coupons | Tagged | Leave a comment

Exclusive Half Price Hotel, eBookers, Hotels.com

Save on hotels and holidays in Ireland and worldwide with exclusive vouchers and deals.


Hotels.com

Extra 10% Voucher + 40% Sale

Facebook    Twitter    


Low Cost Holidays

€20 Holiday Voucher

Facebook    Twitter    


eBookers Exclusive

12% off Hotels Voucher + Sale

Facebook    Twitter    


Annebrook House Hotel 

20% off Hotel Room

Facebook    Twitter    


Woodenbridge Hotel

Half Price Hotel Room

Facebook    Twitter    


The Morgan Hotel

Free Room Upgrade or Breakfast

Facebook    Twitter    

Posted in Hotels | Tagged | Leave a comment

25% off Unlocked iPhones, Flights, Hotels, Ferries

Save money on smartphones, movies, games, flights, ferries, holidays, hotels and travel.


eBookers Exclusive

12% off Voucher + Sale

Facebook    Twitter    


iPhone 4, 4S, 5S Deal

25% off Unlocked iPhones (€299)

Facebook    Twitter    


XE Marketplace Exclusive

€5 off Movies & Games Voucher

Facebook    Twitter    


Low Cost Holidays

€20 Holiday Voucher

Facebook    Twitter    


Aer Lingus

20% off Air Fares

Facebook    Twitter    


Stena Line

Kids Go Free

Facebook    Twitter    


Irish Ferries

€38 Ferry to Britain

Facebook    Twitter    


Marks & Spencer Online Store

60% off Sale + €5 off

Facebook    Twitter    

Posted in deals | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Save Money with Beauty Salon Vouchers, Coupons and Deals

Get up to 70% Discount and Save Money with Beauty Salon Vouchers, Coupons and Deals.


Hot Stone Massage Spa

Half Price Treatment

Facebook    Twitter    


Radiance Hair & Beauty Salon

€16 off Dermalogica Facial

Facebook    Twitter    


Mandika Hair Studio

€35 Wash, Cut, Dry + Treatment

Facebook    Twitter    


Saphora Hair & Beauty

€28 Hair Cut & Blow Dry

Facebook    Twitter    


AA Vitality Room

€20 Treatment or Massage

Facebook    Twitter    


Revas Spa

€200 off Weight Loss

Facebook    Twitter    


Free Coupons on your Smartphone

Download Free Android App

Facebook    Twitter    


Miami Sun – Dublin, Carlow, Maynooth

€9 Spray Tanning (Save 70%)

Facebook    Twitter    

Posted in Coupons | Tagged , , | Leave a comment