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How to make your student loan stretch: Christmas shopping at uni


Faculty: Health, Medicine and Social Care
School: School of Allied Health and Social Care
Course: BSc (Hons) Operating Department Practice
Category: Allied and public health

30 November 2021

One of the great things about being at university in Chelmsford is that you’re close to so many fab shops... and many offer student discounts which is really great when you're Christmas shopping.

Not only does the city centre have a good range of shops but you’re also really close to Braintree Village which is a big discount outlet, housing brands like adidas, Nike, Calvin Klein, Hollister, Jack Wills, Levi's, Cadbury and good old M&S to name but a few.

Entrance to Braintree Village shopping centre
Christmas decorations at a shopping village
Christmas tree with lights

I love going there Christmas shopping as it has over 75 outlets, with most shops offering 50-60% off of RRP, so it’s a great place to get your Christmas presents and the discounts make your student loan go further. Even better is that lots of the brands give additional NHS discounts, so if you're a healthcare student you just need to show your NHS ID from placement. So as far as I’m concerned it’s a win, win!

The other reason I like going there is that it feels really Christmassy with all the lights and the smells from the outside food vans, bars and restaurants. So even if you don’t fancy doing any shopping, it’s just a nice place to go for a wander, get something to eat and to soak up some Christmassy atmosphere.

Having said that, I’ve not managed to come away without buying anything, usually more sportswear or new trainers because the discounts were just too good to miss and, well, it would be rude not to.

It’s also quick and easy to get there as trains run every hour direct from Chelmsford to Braintree Freeport station and only take about 23 minutes. The station is actually in the shopping village, so you can’t get lost. If you feel like driving, again it’s only about 15-20 minutes from Chelmsford, parking is free and the car parks are huge, so really easy to park. Although around Christmas it does get busy during peak times, so I often go late afternoon or early evening to avoid the crowds.

And for students, it's also a good place to get a part-time job as many of the shops recruit extra staff at Christmas. So if you like a bargain or you just want to make some extra cash – Braintree Village is well worth a visit.

Jackie is studying Operating Department Practice at ARU in Chelmsford. To find out more about our degree courses and student life at ARU, book your place at an Open Day.


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