‘It can’t be that expensive can it?’: The expectations vs reality of a Newcastle Uni student

Did someone say overdraft?

From the extremities of bankruptcy to pro-budgeting, we all have certain expectations when it comes to the financial aspects of being a university student. So, from one certified cheapskate and aspiring M&S shopper to another, let’s debunk some silly fresher expectations of the financial blow of university life in the toon.

Bank breaking bevvys?

It’s no secret that the tasteful combination of Tesco’s own brand vodka and any 50p squash rinsed down with some tap water is the go-to budget pres drink of choice to get you reliably smashed for a night out in the toon. However, Newcastle ranks as the third cheapest night out in the country on UniHomes – and the drinks are no exception.

Lethal £2.50 trebs in Sinners will guarantee an embarrassingly long dance in the cage – you will feel like the main character (until you really really don’t).

The three trebs for £9 deal in Market Shaker, a necessary reversal of the sobering up that happened in the queue. And we have £2 Tuesdays, the ultimate pub night for Jesmond rahs, where you can enjoy a pint for around £2 in several pubs on Osborne Road.

So, while Squadka pre-drinks are a necessary evil, there are plenty of budget-friendly options to keep you going long enough to justify skipping your 9am.

Side hustles

I’m no stranger to the crippling pressure of getting a part-time job to fund my incurable shopping addiction and combat the cozzy livs, but quickly was humbled by Tesco rejections and the reality of uni workloads. It can be tricky to balance finding and keeping a job with your social life, extracurriculars, staying alive, uni work and lectures (unless you have practically no contact hours – jealous side eye). While turning to feet pics may be tempting, there are lots of options out there that may be slightly more legitimate:

  • Sign up to be notified of job vacancies from [email protected].
  • Working at a bar/club or as an online tutor to avoid clashing with uni hours
  • Stop going to Urban Outfitters (self reminder)

NUSU daylight robbery

Whether or not this was due to my silly fresher naivety is definitely up for debate, but I was shocked by how expensive it was to join societies, especially sports clubs. The absolute assault NUSU inflicts on my bank at the start of every year is gut-wrenching, not to mention the expensive uni gym membership to top it all off – maybe they missed the memo that it’s a student gym?


In preparation for the inevitable day trips and nights out in uni, I was expecting to spend a small fortune on transport. The reality I was met with was reasonably priced Ubers at all hours, being within walking distance of most places, and the affordable Metro to get you all over the city.

Hopping on the Metro to the coast makes for the perfect day trip for as little as £2 with a pop card, so you can reconnect with nature on a budget after an alcohol-fuelled hanxiety-inducing Wednesday night. On that note, I have to mention the iconic Wednesday night West Jesmond Metros where you are almost guaranteed to find rugby boys in dresses (and which should be avoided like the plague if you are not on a night out).