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How to make your Student Loan stretch

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‘My student loan all goes towards paying my accommodation rent’

‘I’ve spent most of my money on going out and buying drinks. I don’t have much left!’

‘Food is my major problem. How am I supposed to eat properly and not spend much?’

‘I want to travel more in my time off from uni, but it’s so expensive!’

‘My Student Loan isn’t enough – should I get a part time job?’

‘I’m rubbish at finances and need to make my student loan stretch.’

 

No money? We know how you feel, so here’s our top tips about how to make your student loan stretch.

 

  1. Don’t spend it before you have it! You’ll need it throughout the semester, so don’t blow it all at once.
     
  2. Budgeting - plan your money to make sure you have the right amount each week, this will make sure you don’t end up with nothing left.
     
  3. Cash only nights out - There’s always a lot of social activities and the student life includes going out a few nights a week and have fun with friends – that’s okay! A great tip for this, is to only spend cash on your night out and keep your debit card safe for emergencies. That will allow you to keep control of what you spend.
     
  4. Buy an NUS Card – it’s a must-have for every student. You can get one for a year for £12 or pay £32 for 3 years. You will get a lot of discounts in transport, food, events, etc and it’s well worth using. You can buy it with your Books Plus card if you come to the SU office.
     
  5. Cut travel costs – walk where you can or if you use the trains, get yourself a Student Rail Card or other types of transport discount cards. National Rail, National Express and Transport for London all have discount cards for students – great for those that commute to uni.
     
  6. Food shopping – Plan your meals. Don’t buy expensive branded products – they’re not always better. If you own a reward card for your supermarket that’s great, because points mean prizes! Check the offers at your supermarket and online vouchers and codes too.
     
  7. Resist the takeaway temptation – buying takeaway and ready meals will eat up your budget, and fast. Check out our top easy meals article here.
     
  8. Always look online for good deals before buying – whether it’s books, software, student bank account, insurance, gas, electricity – or if there isn’t a chance of a deal then try and haggle one.
     
  9. If you’re able to, taking a part-time job can cover some expenses and keep the balance. Check the Employment Bureau website for local jobs. But remember to keep your studies as a priority over your part-time job, flexibility is important in both ways. Be sure to check that you’re not overpaying on tax either – you’ll need the correct tax code to ensure you’re being charged the correct amount (if any).
     
  10. If you’re struggling with finances, speak to the student Money Advice Service – they’ll be able to help you out. You can speak to the Accommodation Office if you struggle with payments too - there’s many different ways to split your payments and deposits so don’t suffer in silence.

    There’s loads of ways to save your bank account from going into your overdraft. You just have to look for the deals. There’s more tips here.

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