Studying in the UK Tips (For New Malaysian Students)

The following are the list of tips that I wish I knew sooner when I was a student at The University of Manchester.
Disclaimer: Although I wrote this from a Malaysian student's perspective, this page could be useful to anyone. Some links featured here are affiliate links.

Last updated on 4th September 2020.

Improve Credit Score Good credit score may help you financially and widen your options for renting:
  • Check your Equifax score at ClearScore
  • Check your Experian score at Experian
  • Register to vote to futher improve your score.
  • Rental Exchange Initiative via CreditLadder. Useful if your rent is paid regularly.
  • Get a credit card and use it responsibly, pay on-time so no interest charged (do your own research!). Personally I use Capital One Classic (via ClearScore) and Amazon Classic.
Groceries Shopping Tesco and Sainsbury's could be expensive sometimes. Budget-friendly alternatives are:
Cashback and Points Save some money while shopping online/offline:
Study Supplies Save money by buying secondhand items or compare prices online. Personally, I bought: my desktop with monitors (eBay), table (Facebook Marketplace), chair (Freecycle), usb microscope for soldering use (AliExpress), energy meter (Banggood) and stationery (Amazon). Heck, I even buy bar soaps online (carbolic soap) because I feel cleaner using it.
Savings Account/Investment Earn some interest/profit in the UK by saving money on a savings account or an Individual Savings Account (ISA). It is not a lot, but it is free money. Feel free to shop around for the best ISA interest rate. Maybe your bank already has one!
  • Trade212 (do your research first!)
  • Al-Rayan (For Shari'ah Compliant profit)
  • Try StashAway if you prefer investing in Malaysia (do your research first!)
Transferring Money I use the following services when sending money from the UK to Malaysia (very low-fee):
Lowering Utility Bills Personally I use Bulb because of its green energy at a good price with a good web interface. You will have to update the meter readings monthly to gauge your energy usage. Feel free to shop around for a better deal.

I also use a feet warmer and "huggle hoodie" (eBay) to survive winter months when the thermostat is set on low. A pressure cooker also could be helpful especially on lazy days.
Transport I highly recommend an eletric bicycle or a pushbike for daily commute. I used to pay £200-ish for a yearly bus-pass (Google: Stagecoach Unirider). It was great for making new friends, but, as your study progresses, waiting for a bus arrival may feel like forever. 😁

I save cost by building one myself. You can buy a new premade ebike (eBay) for around £500 or around £300 for a preowned ebike (Facebook Marketplace). My first pushbike was £50 (Gumtree).

For longer commutes, you might want to consider a Railcard.
Food Safety Supermarkets occasionally sell a bad batch of certain foods. Check Food Standards Agency daily just in case.
Don't forget to Register with a GP while you are at it.
VPN Provider If you decided that you need a VPN, checkout WeVPN (with 1-month free) and Warp (DNS). As usual, feel free to shop around and look for reviews.

Clothing I recommend buying preowned clothing as it is more sustainable (eco-friendly) and cost-effective. Find them on charity shops (aka thrift shop), and online (eBay, Facebook Marketplace, etc.).
Holidays National public holiday are called Bank Holidays in the UK (As a Malaysian, I used to be confused by this 😁).

Feel free to contribute in the comment section! 😀 Alternatively, you can buy me a coffee. 😎

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