Student Rip-offs | The Student Pocket Guide
by Sara Jacobo

Students spend a lot of money on transport, drinks and even gifts for themselves and their families. But, what are the biggest student rip-offs? What should students avoid spending money on?

Public Transport

If I’m coming home drunk after a night out, charging me £10 for a five minute taxi drive is surely taking advantage of an intoxicated person who wishes to get home safely? I also think it’s a joke that I have to pay £37 for a last-minute train ticket home in the event of a family emergency. I tell my friends that I don’t see the point in getting a car because public transport is probably cheaper in the long run, but I have a feeling that soon this will no longer be the case.

TV Licence

I’m not saying that you should avoid paying your TV licence if you have a TV – that’s illegal. I’m asking you to consider if it’s worth it to even have a TV in the first place. So many television programs and films are available to stream online (legally, for a very small monthly fee, and iPlayer is free) so why even bother forking out some well-earned money on something unnecessary? Then again, I also understand it is frustrating waiting for your shows to load when you have to rely on dodgy broadband.


This is really painful for me to admit, but it has to be said. Books are such a rip-off! Even the really cheap second-hand copies that you buy online for a penny still add up when you include the costs of postage and packaging. I am grateful for tutors who upload extracts of the textbooks onto a PDF or Word format because it saves me so much money on books. Downloading these files onto my laptop also saves me money on printer ink.

However, books are my favourite things in the whole world; for anyone who feels the same way I would heartily recommend buying books on Kindle or searching the internet for any websites that will let you download them to your laptop or tablet for free.

Brand Caffeine Drinks

The majority of students (if not all of them) will consume at least one caffeinated drink a day in order to function as a human being. An average cup at a branded coffee house will set a student back by about £3 – that adds up to £21 per week, which adds up to £1,092 per year! Also, anyone who thinks they’re saving money by investing in a coffee machine should think again. First you have the expense of a coffee machine, then the ingredients. Taking this into consideration, if you are drinking 4 drip-coffee or espressos a day at home, it could cost you between £27-£109 per month (trust me – I’ve done the maths). Why do I think this is a rip-off? Because, beans aside, the ingredients for coffee should not be that expensive; they’re water, milk and sugar!

As for the other caffeine drinks that get us through the day, they may be slightly cheaper but not by much. Let’s say you drink one can of energy drink per day and you buy enough to last a month. The total cost of your energy drink consumption would be over £300 per year. The cost of staying awake makes it all the more tempting to curl up in bed all day!

So those are the things I would avoid spending money on if I had the choice. Can anyone think of any other items that were not worth the money spent on them? Tell us on facebook or tweet us @TheSPG.