Everyone knows the importance of being sensible with your student loan. After all, the less you spend on non-essentials like food and clothes, the more you’ll have to spend on essentials like books and alcohol!
Vintage clothes, cut prices – Thrift Shop
Inspired by America’s version of second-hand stores, Thrift Shop offers a huge selection of vintage clothes, with many items 3 for £10. Located right next to the bus stops on Piccadilly Gardens, it makes grabbing a load of bargains and getting them home a piece of pie.
Piccadilly Plaza, Manchester M1 4AJ
Dress like a Manc – Blue Rinse
Manchester is known for its fashion inspiration over the years. Think retro Adidas jumpers, bucket hats, baggy sweaters and band tees. Blue Rinse is close to the Piccadilly end of Oldham Street and is a vintage wholesaler which prides itself on well-restored and reworked items which will help you capture some of the past fashions of Manchester. This place makes them timeless.
21-23 Oldham Street Manchester, M1 1JG
An emporium of the weird and wonderful – Afflecks
When the building has mosaics on the side, commemorating some of the icons of Manchester music and culture, you know it’s going to be good! Formerly known as Afflecks Palace, this is four glorious floors of independent shops inside a Northern Quarter 1860s former department store. It calls itself a ‘totem of indie commerce’ and it’s here you can expect to get all your alternative wear, accessories and much more – everything from top hats to tattoos and perhaps even some quirky homeware for your student digs. Expect great indie tunes echoing through the stair wells and a cosy café on the top floor with a ceiling styled like Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel Mural with some Manc music icons thrown in!
2 Church St, Manchester M4 1PW
All your groceries, right in the city centre – Aldi, Market Street
Do your weekly shop in the Arndale Centre – it really is possible thanks to the Aldi here with a front also facing Market Street. It’s bigger on the inside than you may first think and thanks to their ’super 6’ continuous fruit and vegetable offers, as well as relatively low prices and a whole range of biscuits for under 30p, you can get that food shop sorted. All your weekly shopping under one roof for less than a fiver. Almost.
Arndale Shopping Centre, Market St
Pick up a bargain – Oxfam, Northern Quarter
This is no ordinary Oxfam. It’s an ‘Oxfam Emporium’ – the ultimate charity shop packed with homeware and clothing, some great vintage pieces, and a range of books which must number the thousands! You may well pick up a second-hand copy of something you need for your university course and why not check out their music section as there’s vinyl, CD’s, DVD’s and even cassettes!
8-10 Oldham Street, Manchester M1 1JQ
Bring on the music – Piccadilly Records
One of the most famous record shops in the country selling rock, pop, indie and alternative music. Customers over the years have included music icons such as Tim Burgess and Johnny Marr. It’s a place with good taste but don’t just take our word for it. In recent years they’ve received national newspaper coverage and been named Best Independent Record Store at the Music Week Awards.
53 Oldham St, Manchester M1 1JR
Board games, models and more – Travelling Man
This bright orange store in the Northern Quarter is ready to bring out the gamer in everyone whether you want a taste of childhood fun or are a keen collector. This is the place for all your tabletop games, magazines, comics and anime! Known for its positive vibes, Travelling Man also runs regular gaming nights where everybody can get involved.
4 Dale St, Manchester M1 1JW
Gifts, keepsakes and creative ideas – Oklahoma
Manchester’s biggest independent gift shop is the perfect place if you are looking for a unique present or something a little different. Oklahoma describes itself as a ‘treasure trove of fun’ with 2000 sq ft of shop space in the Northern Quarter packed with famously colourful homeware, homemade jewellery, books, sweets and a cafe too. Its feelgood vibes hit you as soon as you walk through the door.
74-76 High St, Manchester M4 1ES
For when you are feeling crafty – Fred Aldous
Over its 128-year history this Manchester institution has expanded to include what is now a range of more than 25,000 products with people coming from far and wide to get their hands on their colourful arts and crafts supplies. There are some lovely gift ideas as well as specialist equipment – including a basement crammed with easels, brushes, paints and much more. There are also regular creative workshops.
37 Lever St, Manchester M1 1LW