Not twice as much. Not even three times as much. But a huge FOUR times as much of your student maintenance loan will be spent on beer, wine and shots than bread, milk and noodles during your first year at university.

Alcohol is the most popular purchase amongst freshers. Image by TrafficJan82
Alcohol is the most popular purchase amongst freshers. Image by TrafficJan82

With the total cost of attending university getting more and more expensive, a team of researchers at a licensed UK lottery site ( decided to investigate the most common ways of spending student loan instalments.

Considering the title of this article, you won’t be surprised by the answer to what we really spend our money on during first year.

After accommodation/ rent, the majority of the 2,000 Fresher students surveyed by the team of researchers said they prioritised drinking and nights out over food and healthy nutritious meals. Below is an estimated weekly spending habit of a first-year student:

Accommodation/ rent (inc. bills) = £90

Alcohol/ Club entry = £60

Food = £15

Clothes = £30

Transport = £25

From this estimate, you can see just how quickly your student loan will dry up each semester – on average, 6 weeks – so that means only another 4 weeks left before many of you will have to find a part-time job or ask your parents for money.

Whilst this amount of spending on alcohol looks alarming and, if you’re honest, unsurprising, don’t fear because your spending habits will change in 2nd and 3rd year (well, usually) as you put more of an emphasis on completing your degree.

For now then, enjoy first year because never again will you be able to spend FOUR times more on alcohol than food!

If you are struggling to manage your budget or have any other money issues, the UWE Money Advice and Funds Service is always available here

By Gurjeet Landa