Calling all Freshers. Behold; your definitive guide to saving money in Oxford! Here is the Thrifty Thirty; thirty things to do, see, eat, drink and buy on a student budget. Happy saving!
G&D’s, Oxford’s famous Ice Cream Cafes, are open 8am to 12am and cater for anything from hangover headaches to midnight munchies. With cafes on Little Clarendon Street, St Aldates and Cowley Road, you’re never far from an ice cream sundae, a pizza bagel or a good coffee. Look out for daily offers on the specials boards outside. Very generous loyalty cards tend to make an appearance during Fresher’s Week – definitely worth getting your hands on!
Giraffe’s Burger Tuesdays
At £6.95 for burger and fries, Tuesdays (after 5pm) at Giraffe on George Street are a great way to banish those mid-week blues. Get some protein down your neck and recharge ready for the next essay crisis. 25% student discount is also available Monday to Friday and Sundays after 6pm; all you have to remember is your student card!
Noodle Nation Offer of the Month
Noodle Nation love students, and we love Noodle Nation. Not only does Noodle Nation offer 20% student discount all day, every day, they also offer very generous Offers of the Month. The current Offer of the Month is buy one main, get one for £2 (Sunday – Thursday only). If you and a mate get a main each that works out at about £4/£5, which is extremely reasonable.
Pizza at The White Rabbit
Serving up free live music and cheap pizza, The White Rabbit seems to have hit the nail on the head for us students. Past events include open mic nights, after parties, live music and their weekly Sunday night pub quiz. The establishment has also been known to dish out free pizza, so be sure to keep up-to-date with their generosity at: www.facebook.com/whiterabbitoxford
Mission Burrito Loyalty Card
Mission Burrito, on Cornmarket and High Street, offers good value Mexican food – vegetarian and meat options start at just £5.45 – with very generous portion sizes. Fill out all the stamps on the Mission Burrito loyalty card and you’ll get your hands on a free burrito/fajita/taco. As a tried and tested hangover cure, it’d be silly not to accept a loyalty card – believe me, you will fill up those stamps.
The Botanic Gardens
Here’s a little known fact for you, entrance to the Botanic Gardens is completely free for students at the University of Oxford! Although it’s not really on the radar of things for students to do in the city, the Gardens offer a nice change of scene for those needing to escape the library. A quiet stroll through the Gardens and Glasshouses has been known to get those creative juices flowing. Look out for upcoming events, workshops and exhibitions on their website:
Crew Dates at The Big Bang
Wednesdays at The Big Bang are BYOB, and with enough room to seat 13 football teams (no subs), this makes it a perfect destination for Crew Dates. With two sausages, cream mash and gravy costing just £11, and a corkage charge of £3 on your booze, at just under £15 The Big Bang is one of the best value Crew Date venues in Oxford. For more information on this bangin’ restaurant, visit: www.thebigbangrestaurants.co.uk
Student Plays at The BT
The Burton Taylor Studio is an offshoot of the Oxford Playhouse, Oxford’s premier performance venue. The BT, as it’s known, offers a varied programme of plays and student performances throughout the year. With tickets starting at a just £5 for student plays, the BT is an obvious choice for those wanting to see a good performance on a budget. For more information on student plays, visit: www.ouds.org/whats-on
Modern Art Oxford
As Oxford’s leading contemporary art space, Modern Art Oxford has played host to exhibitions and talks by big names such Jenny Saville and Mark Haddon. Entry is free, as are the Sunday afternoon tours around the exhibitions (every Sunday at 3pm), and the Modern Art Oxford Café and Bar sells a delicious array of teas, coffees and cakes.
Oxford Audio Consultants Film Club
This is a monthly event at Oxford Audio Consultants on Park End Street, which sees a classic film screened on a £20,000 home cinema system. The event is completely free and only requires that you book in advance via the website (www.oxfordaudio.co.uk/FilmClub). Look out for the latest screenings on the 26th October and 23rd November – a luxury cinematic experience for absolutely nothing!
Eagle and Child Pub Quiz
Once a hangout for J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, now a popular haunt for pub-quiz fans, The Eagle and Child offers intellectual stimulation and a plate of nachos (to share) for just £1 per person. Get quizzical every Tuesday from 8.30pm.
Volunteer for TEDxOxford
Become a volunteer for TEDxOxford 2014 and you’ll be able to watch as many talks as you can for free! With tickets setting you back at least £12.50, plus a £4 transaction fee and £1.90 booking fee, you can save a considerable amount of money by volunteering. For more information visit www.texoxford.co.uk
Audreys by The Oxford Revue
The Oxford Revue is an Oxford institution that is well worth going to see. Audrey is their fortnightly variety show, hosted at the Wheatsheaf Pub on High Street, which features some of the best comedy in the University. Audreys are shorter and cheaper than the feature-length Revue Shows, and at just £2 for entry, you’d be really silly to miss out.
The Oxford Imps at the Wheatsheaf
The Oxford Imps are an improvised comedy troupe that has been making audiences laugh since 2004. Shows take place at the Wheatsheaf every Monday of term at 8pm. As it’s all improvised comedy, part of the fun is not knowing what you’re going to see, but you do know that tickets cost about £3.50, which for an evenings entertainment is pretty good going!
Exhibitions at The Ashmolean
The Ashmolean is the pride and joy of Oxford’s museum collection. Admission into the museum is free, and access to current exhibitions such as Flesh and Bone, the Francis Bacon and Henry Moore exhibition, is free for University Students, if you show your bod card at the ticket desk (exhibition open 12th September 2013 – 19th January 2014).
Pitt Rivers Museum
The Pitt Rivers Museum is famous for its eclectic collection of objects from around the world. The museum is free to wander through, and with dinosaur skeletons and shrunken heads included in the collections; it makes for a rather interesting visit.
Interesting Talks in Oxford
This Facebook page is a great way to keep track of all the talks going on in Oxford. As there are so many talks, lectures, debates and seminars going on at once, having them listed in one place is surprisingly less overwhelming. Many talks are free or cost very little, so you’re very likely to find the kind of talk you’re looking for less than a fiver! See: www.facebook.com/groups/interestingtalksoxford
The Duke of Cambridge Happy Hour
Happy Hours are from 5pm to 9pm (Sunday to Thursday) and 5pm to 7.30pm (Friday and Saturday). Cocktails from £3.95, house beer and wine at £2.95 and all on Little Clarendon Street, just a stones-throw away from the kebab vans for your hungry stumble back to college.
PT, as it is fondly referred to, offers some of the cheapest drinks in Oxford. Happy Hours run from 8pm – 10pm every night, and Squeeze Mondays offer 80p shots and £1.50 Fosters. Even better, most nights are free entry, and Oxford Union members get free entry every night.
The cheapest places to buy drinks in Oxford are the College Bars. Look out for the stronger ‘cocktails’ – St. Peters’ Cross Keys and Keble’s Blue Brick – for best value for money, if you get my drift…
Highly illegal, but entirely worth it, ‘BOP Hopping’ refers to the practise of visiting (or crashing) as many BOPs as possible on a given night. Much like a solar eclipse, BOPs tend to align on certain weekends, with more than one college BOP occurring on the same night. Generic fancy dress is a must to avoid being detected by some colleges’ security staff. It’s a risky business, but makes for a very cheap and entertaining night out.
The Wave Card
The Wave Card is discount card exclusive to the Oxford area. At a reasonable £15, the card is valid for a year and will get you discount in hundreds of shops, restaurants and bars in and around the Oxford area. Definitely worth a look at: http://thewavecard.com
www.myunidays.com is a great little website that gets you discount almost everywhere. Participating retailers include Topshop/Topman, Spotify, H&M, Apple and ASOS, to name a few. All you have to do is sign up for free and you can enjoy money off purchases in store and online. Easy!
Booking the Oxford Tube via Megabus
The Oxford Tube is an Oxonian’s gateway to the real world. With regular services linking Oxford to the capital, you’re never really that far away from Ol’ London Town. A little-known, insider tip for you is that it’s cheaper to book the journey via Megabus as you end up getting exactly the same coach. You’re welcome.
Use Colour Catchers
An excellent investment for those planning to wash their clothes during term time. Save money, and time, on multiple colour washes by sticking everything in the same wash. You’ll have clean clothes and enough money left over for a pint; everyone’s a winner.
Magdalen Film Society
Anyone can go along to a film screening by the Society for just £3 a night, which also includes a free glass of wine or juice. Better still, becoming a member works out even cheaper with termly membership costing £10 and yearly membership just £20. The Committee chose a variety of films each term to suit every taste. Screenings take place in the Magdalen auditorium, entrance on Longwall Street. For more information, visit: www.magdalenfilmsociety.com
Oxford Vintage Fair
The Oxford Vintage Fair visits Oxford Town Hall 4 times a year, and brings with it an exceptional selection of vintage items. As with all vintage sales, some things can be slightly over-priced, but with entry at just £2, the Vintage Fair makes for a great day out and a chance to really hunt for those bargains. For more information, visit: www.thevintagefair.com
Arts weeks are put on by a number of different colleges throughout the year and showcase some of the best free or affordable arts events in Oxford. Look out for Brasenose, St Peter’s and St Anne’s College Arts Weeks in Trinity Term, and Wadham’s very own music festival, Wadstock. During Hilary Term, head to the Turl Street and Keble College Arts Festivals.
As there are so many chapels, churches and cathedrals scattered around Oxford, you’re never too far from an Evensong service. Some of these services, especially those in the larger chapels and Christ Church Cathedral, are particularly breath taking. As a student at the University you should be able to get into most of these services for free, and if you really fancied you could even make a tour out of it. Why not?
Staying on for Interviews
Interview season is a great opportunity for you to stay in Oxford that bit longer, and on the cheap. Most colleges need current students to stay for a couple of weeks over interviews to look after and provide entertainment for the interviewees. Some colleges pay their students to stay on and help, and many will fund the cost of certain meals and accommodation. It’s definitely a good way of topping up that sad-looking student loan before Christmas!